Here are the signs that you should schedule a sewer line inspection

Let’s be honest: you probably don’t spend much time thinking about your home’s sewer line. You don’t want to spend much time thinking about it. As important as it is, the sewer line is, well, kind of gross. However, as a homeowner, you should know the warning signs of potential sewer line trouble so that you can act quickly in the event that something goes wrong. In this article, we’ll review these warning signs, how a sewer line inspection works, and why you should call our team at the first sign of problems.

What are common sewer line issues?

Here are three of the most common issues that Buffalo homeowners encounter with their sewer lines:

Putting down roots

We tend to think of trees and plants as passive, still things. While they do move slowly, trees and their roots do move—especially to seek out water and nutrients. The wastewater in your sewer line has both of these things in spades. When a leak occurs anywhere along the line that runs under your yard, it has the potential to attract thirsty roots to the line. Once the roots reach the line, they either expand into the crack and grow into the line, or wrap themselves around the line, cracking it further.

Your warning sign

A sewer line inspection can check to see if tree roots have broken into the sewer line.

If you have trees or plants in your front yard within ten feet of your sewer line, you may want to schedule a sewer line inspection to ensure that tree roots haven’t broken into the line.

First, if you have a tree, bush, or shrub within ten feet of the sewer line, your line is in the danger zone. You should call our team for a sewer line inspection to ensure that there isn’t already root incursion into the line. However, in instances where plants are farther away from the line, you need to be on the lookout for a line leak, which could attract roots to it over time. We’ll review the signs of this in the next section.

Leaky line

Whether caused by the aging material the sewer line is made of or the shifting of the ground due to moisture and frost, your sewer line undergoes stress underground. This stress can eventually lead to the line cracking or fracturing. Most modern sewer lines are made of strong PVC piping, which is good at handling age and stress but can crack. This allows sewage to escape from the contained system and leech into the surrounding ground.

Your warning sign

A leaky sewer line might be something you smell before you see. The potent waft of sewage in your front yard is enough to wake up any homeowner to the signs of a potential problem. In other cases, you may notice a perpetual damp spot in your otherwise dry yard. If this is directly over where the line runs underground, that’s a good sign that it has a crack or leak.

Clogs and blockages

Everything you put down your bathroom toilet or kitchen sink travels through the sewer line. However, some materials tend to adhere to the inside walls of the line, starting potential clogs. Grease, oils, and fats are especially bad in this regard: you should never put these down your sink. The same thing goes for coffee grounds, eggshells, or “flushable” wipes (which are only flushable in name, not in practice). As the trapped material collects, it starts to form a tough clog.

Your warning sign

Most clogs start by partially blocking the downward flow of wastewater. You’ll notice that all of your home’s sinks, toilets, showers, and tubs are slower to drain. Simultaneous drain clogging throughout the home is as sure a sign as any that there’s trouble deep in the sewer line.

When in doubt, schedule a sewer line inspection

So, you’ve noticed one of the warning signs above. What’s next? Well, you’ll want to call our team of experienced plumbers out for a sewer line inspection. Here’s how it works.

Our plumbers have a specialized snake tool (sometimes referred to as an “endoscope”) that has a tiny camera attached to the end. This flexible snake is fed down a drain and into the sewer line. As the plumber pushes the snake further into the drain, they and the homeowner watch the camera screen to see what the end of the tool sees.

  • If there’s a tree root in the line, this is something that will be spotted easily, as the snake tool will run straight into it.
  • If there’s a grease blockage in the line, the snake tool will also be able to spot it and determine what exactly the blockage is made of. This will help determine how to best clear the clog.
  • If there’s a leak in the line, the snake tool will help the plumber find the crack in the pipe.

In all cases, the plumber can pinpoint where the issue is. In the event that the line needs to be dug up and a section needs to be replaced (most common with a tree root incursion or a leak), this allows our plumber to disrupt your yard and the line as little as possible.

Call Reimer to schedule your inspection today

A professional sewer line inspection can be an effective tool for diagnosing suspected sewer line issues or performing preventative maintenance. In fact, we recommend that homebuyers schedule an inspection with us to check out the sewer line of a house they are interested in closing on, especially if there are old-growth trees near the line.

To schedule sewer line services here in Buffalo and Western New York, contact us today.

Here’s how to troubleshoot strange furnace sounds or noisy furnace ducts

All HVAC systems, to a degree, make noise while operating. However, how do you know if these noises are normal or an indicator that something is wrong? If you’re hearing strange furnace sounds or experiencing noisy furnace ducts, it could be either business as usual or a sign of trouble. In this article, we’ll review the wide variety of sounds that your furnace and air ducts can make, and which ones should lead to you giving us a call for furnace repair here in Buffalo and Western New York.

Start by ruling out potential furnace problems

Before you start thinking about what sounds are coming from your ducts, you’ll want to rule out that the sounds are coming from your furnace. There are several different furnace sounds that signal potential trouble. Here’s why you need to keep an ear out for popping, screeching, and rattling.

For help diagnosing noisy furnace ducts in your home, call the professionals at Reimer.

For help diagnosing noisy furnace ducts in your home, call the professionals at Reimer.

Popping Sounds

The sound of a loud “pop” coming from the furnace could be a sign that the furnace is igniting too much gas in the combustion chamber. In most cases, the root cause of this issue is a defective gas valve or dirty burners. Basically, what you’re hearing is a (small) explosion inside of the furnace.

This is something that you’ll want to get checked out by a gas furnace professional. Eventually, the furnace flame sensor—a safety mechanism that checks for the presence of a flame to ignite the gas—may kick in, shutting down your furnace.

Screeching Sounds

A loud screeching sound is not a natural part of a furnace’s cycle. It’s probably an issue with the blower fan’s belt. As these belts age and wear, they begin to fray and cause strange sounds. If you’re hearing a distinctive screech coming from your furnace, it’s probably not something you want to ignore for too long. Call our team and have us out to inspect the system.

Rattling Sounds

Chances are that you do not have a rattlesnake in your furnace, so the likely culprit of a rattle is something that is loose. The furnace produces a harmless low-frequency hum while in operation. Anything that’s loose—from screws and components to the heat exchanger itself—could start rattling from this natural vibration. Again, this is something you’ll want one of our technicians to help you diagnose. The rattling of a loose part is typically an early warning for an impending breakdown.

Diagnosing the sounds made by noisy furnace ducts

Now that you’ve eliminated the possibility that the noise could be generated by your furnace, it’s time to turn your attention to your ducts. Here are some of the most common sounds made by noisy furnace ducts while your heater is running.

Banging Sounds

Once you’ve ruled out the sound coming from the furnace itself, the next likely explanation of a loud popping or banging sound is the ducts. As hot air enters a cold duct, the metal expands and warps in response to the sudden temperature change. This leads to the metal “banging” as it shifts into place. This same phenomenon occurs when a duct, once filled with hot air, cools down after the furnace has been shut off. This sound is pretty harmless, and it’s natural to hear it whenever your furnace turns on or off.

Rattling Sounds

The rattling noise is most often caused by loose metal ducts that tend to knock against one another. This could be a sign that your ducts have leaks or gaps between them, which will ultimately have a negative impact on the performance and efficiency of your heating system. As ducts age, the connective sealing between them begins to deteriorate or loosen. This isn’t going to cause a breakdown or anything, but it’s still worth having a Reimer technician look into this winter.

Vibrating Sounds

A sound of vibrating or shacking of the duct walls normally occurs due to the blockage of the return side airflow. This usually happens due to a clogged filter that results in a drop in the air pressure that makes the duct walls vibrate and shake.

Booming Sounds

A loud booming noise coming from the ducts typically emanates from the plenum where all the ducts meet. This connecting point tends to endure the greatest swings in temperature. Inadequate expansion of joints or dampers contributes to the noise. What you’re hearing is a loud boom echoing through the supply ducts.

Whistling Sounds

In some cases, you can hear a whistling or rumbling noise emanating from the ductwork. The whistling noise is normally caused due to excessive airflow through the ducts. On the other hand, the rumbling noise could be due to pressure differences between the supply and the return ducts.

Call Reimer to have our team diagnose noisy furnace ducts

When it comes time to care for your furnace or your ducts, make sure that you hire an experienced and licensed furnace technician. An experienced technician will expertly identify and resolve all kinds of furnace problems due to which you can spend the entire winter months in total comfort and warmth.

At Reimer Home Services, our experienced techs are ready to assist you with diagnosing strange furnace noises and the source of noisy furnace ducts. Contact us today to schedule service here in Buffalo and Western New York.