How to Prevent a Sewer Backup

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Among the many problems that homeowners have to deal with, sewer backups are among those that can cause severe damage to property, not to mention posing health risks to the members of the household. It’s also an expensive problem, and one that needs immediate attention.

Sewer backups are caused by several reasons. One of the most common causes is a tree root intrusion. When large trees close to the sewer pipes penetrate the pipes through the joints, these roots get all sorts of trash tangled up inside them and cause a blockage.

Another cause of sewer backup is grease buildup. Grease that you dispose down the drain will solidify and trap other food particles and bits of trash until it accumulates so much deposit and eventually cause a blocked pipe.

Having a blocked sewer often results in flooded basements, stinky odor permeating your house, and clogged drains and pipes.

How can we prevent sewer backups from happening?

  • First of all, dispose of waste items properly. Used cooking oil should never be poured down the sink. Keep food particles from going down the drain, too. Even these small items can accumulate and cause big problems with the passage of time.
  • Never flush any man-made object down the toilet. Tissue paper, wet wipes, shampoo sachets, diapers – all of these should never be flushed down the toilet.
  • Hair is another common cause of blocked pipes. Long hair that gets tangled into your bathroom’s drainage can accumulate with other dirt and trash and cause blockage. Don’t flush them down the drain; instead throw them in the trash.
  • Also, prevent tree root intrusion by avoiding planting large trees or shrubs near your service line. Watch out if there are already trees near them. Trim the roots, or have the pipes repaired or removed if there is a danger of getting roots stuck in them or breaking and damaging them.
  • Although it is the city’s responsibility to clear blockages in the main sewer lines, you are responsible for maintaining the line running from the main sewers to your home. If your home is prone to having these backups, you may consider having check valves or backflow preventer installed on your service line. This will prevent backup coming from the main line.
  • Floor drain plugs are also an effective way to prevent water from backing up from the sewage to your drain. A one-way plug will seal your drain once the water underneath rises up to its level, and will deactivate when the water subsides. These are easy to install and are relatively inexpensive.

Other measures to prevent basement flooding in case of a backflow are installing backflow valves, an overhead sewer, or standpipes. To keep your sewer pipes clear and draining properly, you could also have them cleaned with high pressure water jetting or using chemical treatments for root intrusions. Have professional sewer and drain cleaners to check on your sewers to check which method will work best for you.

Maintenance and proper waste disposal are the key to preventing sewer backups. In case you notice gurgling sounds from drains or pipes, or obnoxious smells and constant clogging in your drains, immediately call professionals to take care of the problem immediately. Don’t wait for your sewage problems to cause massive damage before taking action.



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