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Understanding a sewer line belly

One of nature’s most powerful tools for plumbers is simple gravity.  Properly installed pipes will remove water and waste by leveraging angles and slopes.  Issues that can impede on our water and sewer lines are commonly referred to as clogs.  These blockages come in all shapes and sizes.  Sometimes our sewer lines become clogged because items are flushed down the toilet that is not meant to go down the drain.  Other times relatively small items can build up over time, this includes hair, grease from cooking and soap scum.  These clogs can usually be cleared away by working with a local drain cleaning company.  There are larger issues that require professional attention as quickly as possible.  A belly in a sewer line, for example, can be a nightmare for home and business owners.  Let’s take a deeper look at what a belly in a sewer line is, and what causes these plumbing problems.

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How bellies can form in sewer lines


A belly is a term that most plumbing companies use when a pipe does not properly slope underground.  Technically a belly can form in any pipe, however, they are most likely to happen in PVC pipes because they are less rigid than copper pipes.  This bend in the pipe happens when the pipe is not properly supported and water and waste become trapped in the low areas.  If gone unnoticed these materials will collect and cause a full blockage in the pipe.  Apart from not letting your sewer line drain, bellies can cause cracked pipes, erosion and even damage to the foundation of a home.  Also called a sag, dip or a backpitch problem, bellies are usually caused by poor initial pipe installation.  The original plumber may have had poor planning and should have used crushed stone or sand underneath the pipe to protect it from settling.  Other factors that can cause a belly in a sewer line are tree roots, earthquakes, heat, rain and even cold weather eroding soil.

What can be done to fix a belly?

The most important step is to have a sewer line issue properly diagnosed by a professional plumber.  In many cases, a camera line inspection can be performed so that the underground problem can be visually seen and diagnosed.  There is not necessarily one plan of attack when it comes to repairing a sewer line.  The best plumbers will be able to explain the issue and what repair options can take place.  Depending on the severity and location of the belly open trench or trenchless options may be put into place.  If you live in or around Salt Lake City, UT we invite you to contact Plumbing Utah Heating & Air at (801) 601-1298 to speak with a professional and schedule an appointment today.


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