There's one sure-fire indication that you need to call a plumber for a professional sewer cleaning: sewage backing up into your home. Once black water appears, it's time to get an expert to help you deal with the problem. Raw sewage can be extremely hazardous, so always treating these situations as genuine emergencies is crucial. 

However, sewers rarely back up all at once. Instead, they often clog over time, creating minor and easy-to-miss issues that are usually far less dramatic. Unfortunately, ignoring these warning signs can (and often will!) lead to the scenario above. If you notice any of these three unusual signs of sewer trouble, you may want to bring in a professional sooner rather than later.

1. Drain Flies or Other Infestations

Like it or not, your sewer line isn't devoid of life. Most sewer laterals will contain a fairly rich ecosystem, including microfauna that feed on wastewater and larger life, such as sewer flies or other insects. In most cases, the plumbing traps in your home keep you well separated from these pests. Insects can't make their way past the water plugs in the traps, preventing them from entering your home.

Unfortunately, a sewer clog can interfere with these traps in numerous ways, and a severe clog may back up far enough that wastewater reaches the downstream end of the trap. This situation creates a potential breeding ground for pests or may temporarily allow them to enter your home. If you notice a lot of flies around one of your drains, that may be an indication of a developing clog.

2. Gurgling in Toilets

Using a drain in one part of your home should typically not affect drains elsewhere, but there are some exceptions. A sewer clog can force trapped air back through your plumbing for numerous reasons, potentially breaking the seal on your traps and creating a gurgling noise. You'll commonly hear this noise in toilets since they're typically water-filled.

If you flush one toilet and hear another toilet gurgle, or you notice gurgling sounds from a toilet while running the sink or an appliance, you should treat it as a flashing warning. These sounds almost indicate a clog somewhere in your home's drain system and are often the first indications of a sewer clog. Contacting a plumber may help you avoid a costly and messy sewer backup.

3. Repeated Clogs

Can a sewer blockage be to blame if your home suffers from repeated clogs? Unfortunately, the answer is "yes," even if you can clear those clogs each time they appear. Do-it-yourself methods are rarely sufficient to clear a sewer blockage, and on those occasions where they work, they typically will not clear the entire blockage.

If you find yourself constantly clearing clogged drains, you may be clearing only a small part of a larger obstruction. Since a blockage still exists in your pipe, it's easy for grease, hair, waste, and other debris to become trapped and create new clogs. The best way to resolve this problem permanently is to call in a plumber for a thorough sewer cleaning. 

Contact a sewer cleaning company near you to learn more.