Sewer lines entering and leaving our homes are crucial. Freshwater enters and contaminated water leaves. Most of us don’t think about them until there’s a problem. Broken sewer lines can bring the whole system to a halt. You can prevent this kind of thing by preventing blockages and keeping the drains clean and flowing. It can be difficult to tell the difference between a clogged drain and a broken sewer pipe. Both exhibit a lot of the same symptoms: bad smells and backed up water. If water is backing up in more than one sink or toilet, it is probably a broken sewer pipe. A clog in a sewer line isn’t uncommon. Blockages can be caused by toilet paper, soap scum, hair, and kitchen grease. Even a larger clog can be cleared by a plumber’s snake. Most clogs can be cleared quickly. It’s best to call a professional if you can’t clear the clog. Using a snake or chemicals to unclog a drain improperly can damage the sewer pipe more. Finding the clogged pipe will go a long way toward fixing it. Depending on your home’s construction, this may not be easy. The pipe should be easy to find if you have a crawl space. If not, it’ll be tougher. Finding the pipe is the first step to fixing it. You may have a broken pipe if you have a soggy, bug-infested area in your yard. In that case, a plumber’s snake won’t help much. You’ll probably have to replace that section of pipe by a professional. They have tools like cameras that can actually go into the pipe and find the problem there. You can get a sense of exactly what happened to your pipes from a plumber. Clay, cast iron, and other materials can collapse over time. Over-aggressive plumbing augers or chemicals can damage them. Trees and bushes that are close to sewer lines can also cause problems. In some cases, a section of the pipe that’s broken just needs to be repaired, and it’s relatively simple. If the pipe needs to be dug up from under a driveway or sidewalk, it can be more expensive. Perhaps you should just replace all of your older pipes, and eliminate the risk of future problems. Most pipes can be repaired or replaced in a day.