A leak in a drain line is usually a serious matter since wastewater or sewage can leak into your yard or your house depending on where the leak occurs. To further complicate things, drain lines are usually under the floor or underground so they are out of sight and difficult to access. Here are some signs that indicate you have a drain line leak and the ways a plumber might make repairs.
Signs A Drain Line Is Leaking In Your Home
Unlike a leak in a water supply pipe, a leak in a drain line doesn't run up your water bill since the leak only happens when water is going down the drain. Instead, there will be clues like wet spots on the foundation as wastewater seeps up through the concrete or areas of lush growth in an isolated area of your lawn due to the extra water from the leak. If the leak is under your basement slab, you might notice a musty odor in the basement or mold due to the extra humidity and moisture. If sewage is involved, there might be a foul odor or sewage in your yard.
How Your Plumber Finds A Drain Line Leak
The drain lines in your home run from every sink and toilet in the house to the main sewer drain line that's buried in the yard. The sewer drain then runs to a septic tank or the city sewer. A pipe can burst, crack, or collapse at any point due to earth movement or old age and corrosion. One way to find the damaged area is for a plumber to send a camera down the drain that looks for cracks and collapsed areas. A pipe camera has a signaling device on it that lets the plumber know exactly where the camera is at all times so when a damaged area is spotted, the location can be marked on the ground or floor.
Your plumber might also visually inspect the drain lines that are above the ground and feel them for wet areas after running water through the line. A dye test might be done to help narrow down which sink or toilet is causing the leak and then the line can be further inspected until the damaged area is found.
Ways To Repair A Drain Line
If your plumbing is old and corroded, the plumber may recommend replacing an entire length of pipe. If most of the pipe is still in good shape, then the damaged area can often be cut out and replaced. The tricky part is getting to pipes that are under the slab or under the ground. This requires busting up the concrete or digging up the dirt to access the drain line. In the case of a sewer drain line repair, it might be possible to repair the line by pulling a liner through instead of digging up the pipe. Your contractor has different options for repairs, and they'll help you choose the right one for your circumstances and budget.