huge tree root in sewer line

Are tree roots causing your sewer line back up?

Question: Why is my lower level toilet backing up?

Answer: There are two reasons that can cause a toilet to be backed up.

One reason a lower level toilet will back up is obvious: the toilet is blocked with either organic waste and too much tissue and someone flushed it one too many before it had a time to clear. The other most common reason for a lower level toilet to back up is the sewer line is blocked further down the line, often because of a break in the sewer line.

Toilets back up because people have been flushing things down the toilet like feminine hygiene products, too much tissue down the toilet, or flushing a toy down the toilet.

Sewer lines typically back up because the sewer line has a crack and a tree root is growing into the sewer line, blocking the movement of waste.

What You Can Do

If your lower level toilet is clogged and backing up, first check to see if it is a local problem caused by flushing the wrong things or too much of the right things down the toilet. Poke carefully with a plumbing snake and use hot water and degreasing dishsoap (Dawn) to see if you can loosen a local clog and get the sewage moving in the right direction again.

If the problem is not obviously local, you probably have a deeper issue. Call a plumber to run a sewer line camera down the sewer line to see where the blockage is and what is causing the blockage. The plumber will remove the blockage and fix the pipe if the pipe has been compromised.

Learn More

Learn about sewer line cameras.

Learn about trenchless technology, used to repair significant sewer line damage.

Learn about hydrojetting.

Check out our Do Not Flush list.

Learn how to use a plumbing snake.