Common Causes of Sewer Backups in Your Home
Sewage backups in your home are not only an ugly unsightly mess, they are a biohazard and could make you or your guest sick if not cleaned up properly. If you have a backup, on top of the cleanup you also must worry about the source of the mess and if it will happen again. Here are some common causes of sewage backup, which can help you find the potential source of a backup you have or to help plan to prevent a sewage backup from ever occurring in your home.
Common Causes of Sewer Backups
Clogs in your plumbing
Damaged Sewer Lines
Clogs in Your Plumbing
Just like a sink or a toilet can get clogged, so can your main sewer line. There are lots of reasons for clogs such as improper objects from being flushed to a system that gets overwhelmed and can’t handle the volume or types of material flushed. You will find older houses that have smaller pipes and can’t handle more modern items such as flushable wipes. Older homes with old plumbing would also be unable to handle debris from a garbage disposal. Another common thing for pipes to get clogged on would be grease from cooking being poured down the drain and sticks and binds objects like toilet paper or other debris.
Tree roots could cause damage to your pipes which could create a blockage or the roots themselves grow into a hole in your pipes and grow causing a blockage. This is tough to diagnosis as the tree roots may come from a tree far away and you wouldn’t be able to see obvious sign of damage from the surface. Tree roots grow to seek out nutrients and sewage contains nutrients as well as water which is why it’s common to find damaged pipes due to roots and plants.
Damaged Sewer Lines
If the pipes don’t allow the sewage through properly, the sewage can backup into your home. This could be due to damage due to the earth moving and collapsing pipes in weak areas or a small blockage increasing pressure and causing a break in weak areas. This also could be heavy rainfall putting weight and outside pressure.
When the cities or towns sewer system gets overwhelmed by rain, the water will make its way up your sewer line back into your home.
Ways to Prevent a Sewer Backup
If you have an older home the pipes may be made of clay or weren’t built to handle the flushable disposable products or garbage disposal that we use today and would benefit from newer piping technology to handle pressure, earthquakes, and are usually wider or made of material allowing better flow to prevent flushable disposables from getting stuck and creating a clog.
Sewer Check Valve or Backflow Valve
If the cities’ sewage system gets overwhelmed, clogged, or if there is so much rain that the water has nowhere to go but back towards homes you can have a sewage backup in your home. The way to prevent this would be a sewer check valve that will close when water or sewage is coming towards your home rather than away. If you have an older home you may not have one and even if you do, it may need to be cleaned to be effective.
Regular checkups and maintenance
Plumbers can do a visual inspection with cameras and inspect the conditions deep within your pipes. They can check for damage, clogs, or breaks as well as if there is build-up that should be flushed clear or cleaned. If you have a sewer check valve it should be cleaned to be sure it won’t fail or get stuck open in the case it is needed. Your sump pump should also be checked to see if it’s in working condition and be sure to check where the power outlet for the sump pump is in the case of older homes that installed the outlet to low and could be damaged in the case of a flood.