Dealing with a broken sewer line can be a nightmare for any homeowner. Not only can it cause unpleasant odors and unsanitary conditions, but it can also lead to costly repairs if left untreated. Recognizing the symptoms of a broken sewer line early on can help you take immediate action and prevent further damage. In this article, we will discuss the five essential symptoms that indicate a broken sewer line, enabling you to address the issue promptly and effectively.

1. Frequent Drain Clogs

One of the primary indicators of a broken sewer line is the frequent occurrence of drain clogs. If you notice that multiple drains in your home, such as sinks, toilets, or showers, are consistently clogging, it could be a sign of a damaged sewer line. As the line deteriorates, it becomes more difficult for wastewater to flow freely, resulting in persistent clogs throughout your plumbing system.

2. Foul Odors

Another unmistakable symptom of a broken sewer line is the presence of foul odors. If you detect a persistent and unpleasant smell around your property, especially near drains or in the basement, it is likely caused by sewage leaking from a damaged sewer line. These odors can be extremely pungent and can make your living conditions unbearable. Addressing the issue promptly is crucial to maintain a healthy and odor-free home environment.

3. Slow Drainage

A broken sewer line can significantly impact the drainage speed of your plumbing fixtures. If you notice that water is slow to drain in your sinks, tubs, or toilets, it could be due to a damaged sewer line. As the line deteriorates, it restricts the flow of wastewater, causing backups and delays in drainage. Slow drainage is a clear indication that your sewer line requires immediate attention.

4. Soggy or Sunken Areas in the Yard

When a sewer line is damaged, it can cause water to seep into the surrounding soil. This can result in soggy or sunken areas in your yard, particularly near the location of the damaged line. If you notice an unusual dampness or sinking of the ground, it may be an indication of a broken sewer line. Keep an eye out for these signs, especially after heavy rainfall or when you haven’t watered your lawn recently.

5. Increased Pest Activity

Broken sewer lines can attract pests and rodents to your property. The presence of rats, insects, or other unwanted critters may indicate a sewage leak caused by a damaged sewer line. These pests are often attracted to the moisture and nutrients present in sewage. If you notice a sudden increase in pest activity around your home, it’s crucial to inspect your sewer line for any signs of damage.


Recognizing the symptoms of a broken sewer line is vital for homeowners to avoid costly repairs and maintain a healthy living environment. If you experience frequent drain clogs, foul odors, slow drainage, soggy or sunken areas in your yard, or increased pest activity, it’s essential to contact a professional plumber to assess and repair your sewer line promptly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can I repair a broken sewer line myself?

A: Repairing a broken sewer line is a complex task that requires professional expertise. It’s recommended to hire a licensed plumber experienced in sewer line repairs for the best results.

Q2: How much does it cost to repair a broken sewer line?

A: The cost of repairing a broken sewer line can vary depending on the extent of the damage, the location of the line, and other factors. It’s best to consult with a Los Angeles plumber who can provide an accurate estimate based on your specific situation.

Q3: Can a broken sewer line cause health issues?

A: Yes, a broken sewer line can pose health risks due to the presence of harmful bacteria and pathogens in sewage. It’s crucial to address the issue promptly to prevent contamination and protect your health.

Q4: How can I prevent sewer line damage?

A: To prevent sewer line damage, avoid flushing non-biodegradable items down the toilet, refrain from pouring grease or oil down drains, and schedule regular inspections and maintenance for your sewer system.

Q5: Are broken sewer lines covered by homeowners’ insurance?

A: In some cases, homeowners’ insurance policies may cover the cost of repairing or replacing a broken sewer line. It’s advisable to review your insurance policy or consult with your insurance provider for specific details.

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Our water heater began spewing water this morning.  John was the first plumber in the area to answer my call, and was able to get to my house within 10 minutes of the call.  He fixed the problem promptly and for what seemed to be a reasonable price.  He was friendly and informative.  I will definitely call John again and will recommend him to neighbors.  Thanks, John!
-Caitlin R


John has done numerous plumbing projects around my house and has always done excellent work.  He's quick to respond to my inquiry's and even replaced my water heater on a Sunday.  Most recently, I had him install a water purification system and new faucet.  His prices are reasonable and he will continue to be my go-to plumber.
-Rachel R.

Very helpful guy, thank you for the quick service and low service fee 🙂 Job well done.
-Sandra F.


These guys are the best! If you're looking for a legit plumber, call John's Plumbing & Drain Services in Atwater Village. Fairest price, honest and very knowledgeable!
-Ashley C.

Project: Install a Tankless Water Heater System

Comments: john and company were very efficient. they took their time and got the job done right. they replaced my standard water heater with a rinnai tankless water heater. while they were here, I also had them install a earthquake shut-off valve. great job at a reasonable price. I am keeping john as our regular plumber for the future.
Sergio S. in La Crescenta, CA

Project: Install, Repair or Replace Plumbing or Fixtures

Comments: My tenant is happy so I am happy. John was very patient with me and explained everything before he did the job. Very nice over the phone and I will use him again for future plumbing needs.

 Marilyn L. in Pasadena, CA

Project: Install, Repair or Replace Plumbing or Fixtures

Comments: I am very pleased. I've had John do the top priority job of repairing a leaking drainpipe and his work looks to be top notch. I'm definitely thinking of using him for the larger job of repiping the whole house (replacing the failing M-type copper with L-type). And again, John's bid is within my budget considerations. Highly recommended.

Homeowner in Glendale, CA

Project: Install or Replace a Water Heater

Comments: John was great. He gave me options and worked with me to find a solution that worked within my budget. Very professional. I will definitely use him again for any plumbing issues.

Laura W. in South Pasadena, CA

Project: Install or Replace a Water Heater

Comments: John was very responsive to my initial call, showed upon time and did excellent work at a fair price to replace my water heater. I highly recommend him and I plan to use him for future plumbing needs

Gary P. in Sherman Oaks, CA

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Comments: We had them run a snake from our sewer line out to the street, as we have lots of trees with roots that sometimes get into the line. They came as scheduled, did a great job and the price was as quoted.

Colleen L. in Pasadena, CA


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John's Plumbing & Drain Services

3847 Brunswick Avenue, LA, Ca, 90039

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