What is a sewer backup?
If the sewer lateral becomes clogged or damaged, raw sewage can back up through the floor drains. Sewer backups can cause damage that is undesirable, expensive to repair, and hazardous to one’s health. The good news is they are often preventable.
Most property owners may not know it but they are responsible for the maintenance and repairs on their sewer lateral – the pipeline that transports wastewater from the home to the sewer main.
If the kitchen or tub drains are draining slowly, toilets seem to clog easily, or foul odors emanating from the basement it is time to have the drains cleaned to prevent a potential sewer backup.
5 Common Causes of Sewer Backups
1. Blockages due to Tree Roots
Tree roots are the most common cause of sewer backups. Trees roots seeking moisture can penetrate the sewer lateral.
Just because there aren’t any trees near the sewer line, doesn’t mean they are not the cause of the sewer backup. Tree roots can grow over 200 feet!
With the use of a sewer camera inspection, we can look directly into the sewer line to find out if roots are the source of the problem.
2. Obstructions in the Sewer Line
Proper use of drains is imperative when it comes to preventing sewer backups. The following items should NEVER be flushed: Large quantities of toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, facial tissues, feminine products, baby wipes, and diapers. No matter what the packaging says there is no such thing as a ‘flushable’ wipe!
Flushable wipes are one of the most common obstructions found in sewer lines. Never flush products claiming to be flushable wipes as they do not break down and can cause a backup.
Garbage disposals do not replace trash cans! Improper use of the garbage disposal plays a large role in many of the clogged sewer lines that we see. Always run water before and after using the disposal to wash food waste down the drain.
3. Broken or Collapsed Sewer Line
Older homes were built using clay or cast-iron piping. After years of use, pipes can rust, crack, separate, and deteriorate which can cause blockages.
Many new homes are built using PVC piping which is far more durable than materials that have been used in the past. PVC piping can be damaged during construction when heavy equipment is being used or from being improperly backfilled.
Grease may be liquid when poured down the drain but just a few feet down, where the hot water cools, the grease begins to harden. Hardened grease continues to build up over time, catching debris which results in a sewer backup.
5. Improperly Installed Sewer Lines
Using more durable piping and following strict codes help ensure that sewer lines will last for 50-100 years after installation. We still find that improper installation techniques can lead to sewer backups.
Some of the common installation problems that we run into are poorly glued connections that have separated, improperly backfilled lines that have been crushed, inadequately sized pipes, improper sloping of the lines, and misaligned pipes.
What to do if you Experience a Sewer Backup
Flooding caused by the backups can cause damage to the walls, floor, and irreplaceable personal belongings. Repairing the damage can end up costing the home owner many thousands of dollars and create health hazards.
According to Mark Riebeling, President of Viking Restoration Services, the immediate step in the event of a sewer backup is to have The SewerPros out to clean the sewer lines and find the source of the blockage.
To prevent further damage and possible health risks, arrangements should be made with a professional for a cleanup of the property. This should include:
- Isolate traffic and contact with affected area
- Shut off any HVAC system to isolate air contaminants based on the extent of sewer intrusion
- Individuals with compromised immune systems should be evacuated from the structure based on the extent of intrusion (i.e. The very young, elderly, or those that have undergone recent surgery).
- Safely and with haste, remove any valuable porous items that the occupant wishes to save from contamination
- Contact a reputable restoration company, such as Viking Restoration Services, to assist with the water removal and sanitizing of contents and the structure.
Plumbing problems can occur no matter how careful you are and that means every property owner will need help from a plumber at some point in time. We’re driven to get your pipe and drain problems addressed quickly, and our punctual staff is always ready to help you with emergency services.
To prevent a sewer backup, contact The SewerPros today!>>