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Clogged, Soggy, Stinky: Signs You Have a Broken Sewer Line

Clogged, Soggy, Stinky: Signs You Have a Broken Sewer Line

Summer is in full swing in Jacksonville. Between the heat, the increased risk of tropical storms and hurricanes, and the almost daily showers, the season can present tons of issues for your home’s main sewer line. Here are some signs to watch out for to prevent serious damage to your home.

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What’s that Smell?

A telltale sign that you might have a break or clog in your sewer line is a really bad smell. You might wander around your house or yard trying to figure out where the smell is coming from. Because your sewer main is buried underground, your first alert of a problem may be the scent of smelly sewer gas. In the case of a sewer line clog, the gas may come up the drains or toilets in your home. In the summer, the intensity of that smell can be breathtaking – not in a good way.

How Common Clogs Lead to Big Problems

It is not uncommon for most sink or tub drains to However, if the problem persists, the culprit could be a clogged sewer line. Some clogs are caused inside the home by:

  • Putting cooking grease down the drain
  • Flushing items other than toilet paper down the toilet
  • Overloading your garbage disposal

The outdoors can also wreak havoc on your home’s main sewer line. During heavy rains or flooding, debris—such as tree branches, grass, leaves or litter —can be washed down sewer grates. The debris can cause clogs at the street and cause your sewer line to back up into your home if you do not have a backwater valve installed.

A Major Threat to Your Sewer Main

Another outdoor threat to your sewer main is tree roots. If you have trees planted near your sewer main, their roots can impact it; especially if it is an older main made from clay or cast iron. Tree roots can cause a major clog or breaks in your line that leak.


You might not immediately notice that there is a leak or break in your sewer main. A telltale sign other than an unpleasant smelly may be soggy areas around your yard. Sometimes you might see an unexplained puddle, or the ground will feel spongy because the water is seeping up from below.

What’s that Gurgling Noise?

Are you suddenly hearing strange gurgling noises in your toilet, drains or walls? That’s the sound of water bubbling back from the main along with sewer gas. In some cases, you might even see bubbling coming up your toilet or your drains. When this happens, you will want to take immediate action because you could be one step away from a sewer backup into your home.


If you have any of these signs that your home’s sewer line is clogged or broken, you need to act fast to prevent additional damage to your home. Contact Fenwick Home Services to schedule immediate service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.