Clogged Toilet or Clogged Sewer Line, How to Determine

Opinion & Expertise
January 1, 2015

by David Balkan

Clogged Sewer Line or Clogged Toilet

A sewer line removes waste from your home by flushing it through pipes that run from the inside of the house to an external main sewer line. When there is a clog somewhere along this line, waste water backs up into the home creating a hazardous situation. So how can you tell if it is your toilet that is clogged, or if it is a clogged sewer line? Here are a few tips before calling a sewer line contractor that will indicate if it is your toilet or not.

Clogged Sewer Line or Clogged Toilet

Try to Clear the Clog

The first thing you should do is attempt to free the clog by using a plunger. This is often the easiest way to solve the problem if it is just a clogged toilet. If the water goes down after plunging and flushes normally, then it was the toilet. If possible, flush the toilet a few times and observe what happens. Does the water drain quickly or slowly? Does the water make sounds after going down the drain? If you drain makes unusual noises, you may have a larger problem.

Check Your Shower Drain

When you have a clog in the line in one area, it will often affect other areas or drains as well. Meaning that if your toilet is not flushing properly, then other drains like your shower drain may also show signs of trouble. Water backing up into a sink or tub after flushing the toilet or draining a sink is an indication that something is blocking the flow of water through the pipes or the main sewer drain.

Run Water Down the Sink

Does your sink drain as it should? Does it fill up with water when your dishwasher drains? Wait until the cycle finishes completely because sometimes it is just an overflow issue and the sink will drain normally once the water pressure eases off. If the water stays in the sink or goes down but fills back up you may have a clogged line.

Does Your Toilet Require Frequent Plunging?

If your toilet needs frequent plunging, it is a sign that you need the help of a qualified sewer line contractor. Daily backups and fouling of your toilet is not typical. If you experience any of these toilet backup issues, you should have your drains and sewer line inspected by a sewer line contractor.

3 Signs of a Clogged Sewer Line:

  • Multiple drains are affected (sink, toilet, dishwasher, washing machine)
  • Foul-smelling or dirty water that backs up into other drains
  • Water from one area backs up into another

If you think you have a clogged sewer line, contact Joseph L. Balkan Inc. Sewer and Water Main Specialists. Our sewer line experts have been keeping New York City sewer lines running smooth for over 60 years.

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David Balkan

David Balkan is the CEO of Balkan Sewer And Water Main, the largest and most trusted service in New York City. David is extremely active in various NYC plumber organizations being the Chairman of the Subsurface Committee in the Master Plumbers Council, and Vice President of the Subsurface Plumbers Association. In addition David’s expertise is respected by officials of New York City agencies such as the NYC DEP, NYC DOB, and the NYC DOT. He frequently provides valuable input on a variety of industry related matters.

Dave Balkan

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