A damaged sewer line is a severe problem. Unfortunately, too many homeowners don’t realize that they have trouble with their plumbing until it’s too late. Learn everything you need to know about identifying sewer line damage and repairing your plumbing with the best plumbers in Chicago.

Signs of a Sewer Leak

Although not all sewer damage is apparent, there are some telltale signs of a sewer leak. If you notice any of the following issues, you might need sewer line repair.

Strange Sounds

Is your plumbing making unusual noises? If you hear running water when your faucets are off, there could be a break in your sewer line. Your walls or ceiling shouldn’t make a trickling sound unless there’s a leak in your pipes. 

Wet Floors

Wet floors are never a sign of anything good. One of the most obvious signs of a sewer leak is spongy or moist floors. Typically, this happens when water leaks at the connections between the main sewer line and your home’s pipes. As the water leaks, it will damage your flooring and cause discoloration, warping, or mold growth.

A Mildew Smell

When your home continually smells of mildew, there’s a problem. Mildew and mold only grow when there is excess moisture. If you have a leak in your sewer line, it will cause excess moisture and mildew growth. 

There are Cracks in Your Foundation

While there are many causes of cracks in a home’s foundation, one of the most common causes is shifting ground. The ground could shift if your sewer lines are leaking. As the leaks continue to drip, the soil becomes wet, and the foundation of your home moves and cracks. You might also notice cracks in your sidewalk or driveway.

The Landscape is Lush in Certain Areas

Some areas of your yard may appear more lush and green than others. However, this isn’t a good thing. It’s a sign that your sewer line is damaged and leaking water. The area with the greenest growth is likely to be near the damaged pipe.

Rats Have Appeared

If you’ve never had a rat problem, but they’ve suddenly taken over your yard, their presence could be attributed to a broken sewer line. They’re attracted to the foul smell of sewage, and they’re likely to notice the issue before you do. 

High Water Bills

When your water bills are higher than they should be, you need to assess the situation. There’s a leak somewhere, and the leak may be in your sewer line. To be sure the problem is caused by a leak in your plumbing, turn off all of your water and monitor the water meter. It shouldn’t show any water use unless there’s a leak.

How to Detect a Damaged Line

If you suspect a leak in your line, you should call the best plumbers in Chicago. When they arrive on the scene, they will run tests to determine whether or not you have a leak. They may use one of the following tests:

Hydrostatic Pressure Test

To run this test, a plumber places a special ball in the sewer line. They inflate the ball and block the pipe. Then, they add water to the sewer line by running the faucet. If the water in the pipe decreases, there may be a leak in your line. This test is slightly invasive in that it usually involves removing the toilet. 

CCTV Inspection

For a clear view of the leak, a plumber could do a CCTV video inspection. After running the hydrostatic pressure test, the plumber snakes a camera through the pipe. They make sure the ball is completely blocking the pipe. Then, they run the pressure test one more time and check for air pockets. If there are no air pockets and the water level still drops, there’s a leak. 

It’s important to realize that a CCTV inspection alone is not enough to identify a leak in your sewer line. To get to the root of the issue, you need an inspection coupled with hydrostatic testing. 

Static Leak Isolation Testing

The next step is to have static leak isolation testing. This involves doing hydrostatic pressure testing with a CCTV inspection on different sections of your sewer line. By testing different areas, the plumber can identify where the damage is. 

Fixing the Leak

Once your emergency plumber in Chicago identifies the leak, they will need to repair it. A leak is not something that should be taken lightly, and you should fix it as soon as possible.

Depending on the circumstances, a plumber might use one of the following methods to repair the damaged line:

1. Structural Pipe Lining

This technique is not very invasive, as it puts a new pipe inside the old one. First, the plumber takes a felt liner and soaks it in epoxy. They then place the felt inside the pipe and allow it to cure for several hours. When it’s ready, the plumber removes the felt, and the epoxy remains on the pipe.

2. Pipe Bursting

Pipe lining only works if there’s a specific amount of structure left in the original pipe. For extreme damage, you need something more invasive than pipe lining. A collapsed pipe requires pipe bursting, a technique that involves replacing the damaged pipe with a new pipe. Although this technique takes more time than pipe lining, it’s the only method that works well for severely-damaged pipes.

3. Spray lining

In some situations, the spray lining technique is effective. A plumber sprays a lining into the interior of your damaged pipe. Made of a polymer resin, the lining is flexible and strong enough to repair your pipe.

Getting Help from the Best Plumbers in Chicago

Do you suspect a leak in your sewer line? If so, it’s time to call an emergency plumber in Chicago. They can run tests to determine the source of your trouble and evaluate the best way to repair your damage.