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Main Drain vs Secondary Drain

Clogged Drain

Main Drain

Your main drain is the biggest pipe leaving the house.

  • Most clogs in the main drain occur from stoppages outside the house.
  • Clogs in the main drain line will back up into the lowest point of the house (likely the basement) where there are plumbing openings. (floor drain, toilet, laundry tub, bathtub)
  • Main drain clogs will NOT allow any sewer/water to leave the house. If water is run from anywhere else in the home the backup gets worse.
Secondary Drain

These are the smaller interior pipes that connect fixtures such as your sink, toilet, and bathtub to the main drain line.

  • Secondary clogs are always caused by a stoppage inside the house.

How to identify if the clog is in the main drain or a secondary drain line

Secondary Drain - Clogs in kitchen or bathroom sink only
Secondary Drain - 2nd-floor clogs with plumbing fixtures below
Main Drain (almost always) - Multiple clogged drains in the basement
Main Drain (almost always)  - Running water from all other locations in the house makes the backup worse
Main Drain - The water backing up is smelly and not clear
Main Drain Likely - You have frequent backups

5 Signs You May Need more than a plunger

The following symptoms are red flags that you may have a clog in your main sewer line.

1.) Slow flowing drains
2.) Gurgling noises from your toilet bowl
3.) Water backing up out of a kitchen sink, shower, or tub
4.) Water backing up when the washer is used
5.) Water backing up from the drain in your basement (In this instance, the water usually smells unpleasant, and you can visibly see toilet paper.)

These issues may indicate that your sewer line is blocked by debris, tree roots, or a damaged pipe. Give us a call and we will send one of our expert drain technicians to determine the source of your clog.