24/7 Support!
Banner image of an Absolute Heating Electrical & Air technician in front of a company branded van Banner image of an Absolute Heating Electrical & Air technician in front of a company branded van

back to blog

10 Common Signs of a Collapsed Drain

ABP-Signs of a Collapsed Drain

Any home can suffer from common plumbing problems like a blocked drain. Trying to determine the cause of the problem can be challenging at times. Yet, if you leave it alone, this can lead to a full-blown plumbing disaster, which will often mean expensive repairs.

A collapsed drain is perhaps among the most serious types of drain damage you could encounter. It should immediately be resolved if you want to avoid dealing with often expensive collapsed drain repair costs.

What Is a Collapsed Drain?

A collapsed drain is precisely what it is – a drainage system subjected to excessive pressure or wear and tear that has either broken down or fallen apart.

It could be dangerous to buildings and homes because water cannot travel through the pipes and flush away from the property. Instead, the water settles within the premises, causing water damage to the foundation and possibly compromising your home or business’ structural integrity.

Furthermore, water will find a way out as pressure increases, often causing the pipes to leak or burst, which could mean flooding and more costly water damage.

A collapsed drain is often the result of years of neglect in terms of maintaining drainage and sewer systems. It is also the most difficult drainage issue to address because it can involve extensive and expensive repair work.

What Does a Collapsed Drain Look Like?

A collapsed drain can be dangerous because you don’t know what caused it or even what it actually looks like. For this, you will have to ask your plumber to allow you to see the problem drain through a sewer inspection camera. The equipment is the only way to find out what the damaged drain looks like and why it collapsed.

Signs of a Collapsed Drain

Determining if your drain has collapsed is not easy, but below are the signs that should help out:

1. Sewage Backup

Sewer backups or regular blockages are not necessarily signs of a collapsed drain. However, if these frequently happen, you should call a professional to inspect the drains.

A collapsed drain will be most noticeable in the basement plumbing as this is closest to the main sewer line. Water from all other drains ultimately converges on this line, but if your sewer pipe has collapsed, the water will have no place to go and will return to its source, naturally following the path of least resistance.

2. Sinking Ground

A collapsed drain can lead the ground surrounding it to sink eventually. If this happens, it indicates that the pipe may have been damaged long ago, and water has seeped deep into the soil and ground.

3. Strong Sewage Smell

A strong, foul-smelling sewage odor in your home, especially near the bathroom and kitchen, could be an indication of a damaged or collapsed drain. It’s still possible to unblock the drains so the smell will go away. However, if the drain has totally collapsed, the smelly problem will likely reappear.

4. Damp Flooring

A collapsed drain can cause water to stop flowing and redirect it in different directions, including your floor and walls. This can lead to mold growth, exposing you to serious health risks. Plus, if not addressed immediately, this can lead to property damage.

5. Poor Drainage

If drains are slowing down and performing poorly, it could also be among the signs of a collapsed drain, although this can also indicate a blockage further down the line. A CCTV camera or other related equipment can be considered to determine if your slow-moving drain is due to a clog or a collapse, as this is often used by plumbers when inspecting problematic drains.

6. Cracked Walls

Collapsed drain pipe signs in your home can also show up in the form of cracks in the walls. These can appear in cases where the drainage pipe is located beneath the structural points of the property. They could also be seen along the floor if the drain has been in disrepair for a long time.

7. Sewer Rat Infestation

Most rats live in sewers, and a collapsed drain can become their entry point. Once they discover this, they might start to live in your pipes and eventually venture further into your home. It would be best if you dealt with the infestation before addressing your drainage problem.

8. Old Drain Pipes

As with everything else, drain pipes age. When they do, they become vulnerable to damage and could either burst or collapse. It is a common problem in many old buildings but is not always addressed because of the pricy collapsed drain repair costs involved. Still, the best thing to do is to have an old drain pipe completely replaced before it collapses and causes more severe problems.

9. Tree Root Intrusion

Tree roots usually grow in the direction of water sources. They can significantly threaten your drainage system if they grow in your garden or at the edges of your property. They can grow and extend into drains, causing the latter to crack or break over time. This is especially true if a sewer camera inspection shows that the intrusion has led to the collapse of your drainage. While rodding and drain jetting effectively remove tree roots from your drains, it is better to have the tree removed and a new drain line installed.

10. Groundwater Expansion

During winter, water beneath the ground often freezes and expands. This will then melt when the weather warms. The sudden temperature change can sometimes be harsh on your drains, causing them to collapse.

Key Takeaway

A collapsed drain is a serious plumbing problem, but this is not always readily seen. However, some signs will tell you that a collapse has taken place. It’s best that you keep these collapsed drain pipe signs in mind so you’ll know what to do when faced with this plumbing issue.

One of these is sewage backups that don’t happen once or twice but regularly. Another significant sign is a strong sewer-like smell that spreads across your home and never seems to go away. Then there’s that constant feeling that the ground under your feet is sinking and the flooring remains damp regardless of the season. All these indicate a collapsed drain that you should refer to a trusted plumbing company. They can do an inspection and would know how to fix a collapsed drain pipe.

Absolute Electrical Heating and Air is the expert when it comes to handling a collapsed drain at home.

A collapsed drain can bring serious structural damage to your home, but you may not be aware that the problem is real. Let Absolute Electrical Heating and Air help you determine this.

If you’re noticing changes in how your plumbing is performing, our Denver plumbing professionals can look at it and see what’s happening. Call us today so we can help you manage your plumbing issues before they get worse.


Request Service

Absolute Heating Electrical & Air technician completing HVAC repair Absolute Heating Electrical & Air technician completing HVAC repair

Save Every Year with an Absolute Advantage Membership

Expert Annual System Safety Inspections & More
  • Priority service
  • Waived dispatch fees
  • Yearly furnace, A/C, & electrical system inspections
  • 10% discount on repairs and additional diagnostic services
  • Up to $500 off HVAC & electrical panel replacements