If you're a homeowner whose home is connected to a city sewer system, you might think you're generally safe from the sorts of problems that people with septic tanks have -- no tank to clear out, no risk that the tank will leak since you have no tank, and so on. However, you still have to deal with pipes connecting your home to the city's sewer pipes outside your property, and it's possible for those pipes to create some real problems. Here are three signs that your sewer setup needs some serious care.
A strong sewage smell or a sulfurous smell like rotten eggs is a major indicator that a clog or backup in the pipes may need attention. There are two possible causes.
One is simple to fix; occasionally, especially in a sink that hasn't been turned on for a while, the water that rests at the bottom of the S- or P-trap under the sink starts to evaporate. If you open the cabinet under the sink and look at the pipe, you'll see a curve in the pipe that looks like a letter S or P. Inside that pipe is water that just sits at the bottom of the curve. This water acts as a plug, keeping sewer gases from creeping back up through the pipe and stinking up your home.
If the water level drops and lets gases through, you'll smell them quickly. Turn on the sink and let the water run for a bit; turn off the sink and see if the smell dissipates. If it does, the problem should be fixed, though you should keep your nose open for a recurring problem (which would warrant calling a plumber).
The other possible cause is a leak in the pipes leading away from fixtures like the toilet or sink. These leaks are obviously going to let smelly gases through. If you try running the sinks and the smell doesn't go away, you need to have the pipes leading from your fixtures to the sewer inspected.
A straightforward sign of a clog in the sewer system is water backing up into other fixtures. The pipes running from your individual fixtures eventually join up and form a shared pipe that heads toward the sewer. So, if you run your sink, water can back up in not only the sink drain, but also in, say, your bathtub if the clog is in the shared part of the pipe.
Change in Soil Drainage
If you have a leak in the pipe leading to the sewer outside your home, you'll see water either pooling on the surface, or you'll see that the soil in the area is a lot soggier than normal and not draining as well as it used to. The sogginess will be localized -- it won't be all over the yard consistently. The pipes under your yard could be old and deteriorating, or a tree root could have jammed itself into the pipe.
If you see or smell any of these signs, call a sewer repair company immediately. You must stop these leaks before they get worse. Visit http://www.forrestsewerpump.com for more information.