How to Tell If Your Drains Have Collapsed and What to Do About It


Drain problems can disrupt your home and lead to unplanned repair costs. The good news is that there are common indicators of drain trouble and plumbing experts to help. 

Signs of Collapsed Drains

You may have a clogged or collapsed sewer line if you see the signs described below. 

  • A Damp Floor or Wall

When a drain collapses, waste water can flow around the pipe. This excess moisture appears on your walls, floor, or other surfaces surrounding the pipe. 

  • Damp Lawn

A broken pipe leaks wastewater into the ground, causing the dirt around it to saturate. This turns into wet lawn patches or puddles filled with standing water. 

  • Sewage Backups

The lowest open drains, like in your basement or ground floor bathroom, show the first signs of clogged or collapsed pipes. Wastewater backs up into these open drains because there’s nowhere else to flow. 

  • Mould Problems

A cracked sewer pipe can quickly increase humidity levels that encourage mould growth. Check the pipes for leaks if you clean the mould, and it returns in that same area. 

  • Sunken Areas in The Yard 

If the pipe had damage for a long time, the soil around it becomes weak and sinks. This indentation can appear in the lawn or under pavements above the sewer line. 

  • Slow Drains

If water drains slowly from your shower and sinks, this could indicate a blocked or damaged drain. Try to clear the drains with a plunger to diagnose the problem, and avoid chemical drain cleaners that damage the pipes. 

  • Foul Odour

Drain pipes are airtight by design, so the smell of raw sewage is a clear symptom of damage. The foul odours often accompany other signs such as mould or damp walls. 

  • Rapidly Growing Grass

You may notice that one patch of your lawn suddenly grows faster or looks greener than the rest. This often indicates excess water and nutrients in the soil as sewage leaks from cracked pipe underground. 

  • Rat Infestations

Rodents can squeeze through about ¾ of an inch of space, which means they can move through the main sewer lines and into the gaps in your property’s plumbing. A persistent rat problem can indicate entry points in your drainage system. 

  • Insect Infestations

Cockroaches, sewer and fruit flies, and mites thrive in dark and humid spaces, including drain pipes. You may have a persistent insect problem if you have a cracked or broken drainage system. 

  • Cracks and Structural Damage

The most extreme sign of damaged drain pipes is cracking along concrete slabs or sinkholes. Foundation problems indicate long-standing disrepair in your main sewer line. 

The Best Way to Avoid Drain Pipe Damage

Drainage problems can happen anytime, and the best way to avoid further damage is to stay vigilant. If you discover any of these signs of drain damage, seek professional help to diagnose and repair it. Call a licensed plumber to help fix your collapsed drains. An expert uses specialised tools to locate and repair cracks or blockages in the plumbing to save your home. 


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