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A sewer drain clog is a very serious problem that can be considered a plumbing emergency. Since the water has no place to go it will all come back up into the household plumbing in one way or another. When you have a sewer drain clog you should not use any of your plumbing fixtures or systems until the stoppage is cleared.

The first step in the process is to determine if your suspicions are correct. Here are the most common warning signs:

Multiple Fixtures Are Clogged – Your toilets are the most likely to back up, but they’re not alone. Other drains typically affected by a main line stoppage are those in the tub and shower. That’s because they sit lower than sink drains, as one example. Check whether the tub and shower drains are blocked if you suspect a sewer drain clog.

Strange Reactions When Using Fixtures – The next thing to look for when you suspect a sewer drain clog is any unexpected or unusual reactions when using plumbing fixtures.

  • Flush The Toilet – If flushing the toilet results in water backing up or coming up into the tub or shower, chances are you have a clogged sewer. The flushed water that can’t go down the r drain flows back up and comes out at the lowest point…again, usually the shower drain.
  • Turn on a Sink Faucet – A sewer clog and get the result in the trapped air inside your plumbing. You can check by in the sink closest to the toilet for a minute or so. If the toilet bubbles or you can see the water level in the toilet rising, then the clog is very likely in the main sewer line, not the toilet.
  • Washing Machine – If the water draining out of the washing machine causes the toilet to overflow or backs up into the tub or shower it could be the sewer main at fault.
    Note: This could just be a washing machine and shower problem and not a sewer drain clog.

Drainage At The Clean-Out – If you have a main line cleanout, then you have an additional way of verifying a sewer drain clog. Locate the clean out if you don’t already know where it is. Open it by either unscrewing or pulling on it to remove the cap. Check for any waste or water that may be backing up there. You should not be able to see the water coming up the cleanout pipe.

If water is flowing up and out of the cleanout or standing in the pipe, then you definitely have a main line sewer stoppage.