Common Sewer Backup Causes & Quick Fixes

Common Plumbing Problems, How-To,

Nothing is beautiful about a sewer backup. It can be the most disgusting thing to ever occur in your home. From damaging anything it touches to sticking to your home, a sewer backup is a serious plumbing problem. Not to mention that it poses serious health concerns for you and your family.

Consequently, you need to learn how to prevent a sewer backup problem and the steps to take if one ever occurs. Waterwork Plumbing Company has prepared this short yet comprehensive guide on sewer backups to help you understand the causes and treatment of this disastrous problem.

Signs of a Sewer Backup

Before you learn the causes of a sewer backup and how to fix them, you need to know what to look out for. If water starts to back up into your home through the drains, toilets, or sinks, this is usually a clear indication of a sewage backup.

This occurs when wastewater or sewage cannot move freely through the sewer lines due to a blockage or clog. Below are more signs of a sewage backup:

  • Nasty smell: Dirty wastewater or an awful smell from your home’s main sewer line is a sign of a sewage backup.
  • Water bubbling noises: Ever seen or heard your toilets create gurgling sounds? These gurgling sounds occur due to air bubbles attempting to pass through a blockage or clog.
  • Slow-moving drains: If your water drains move slowly, it could indicate that your sewer line is blocked.
  • Wet Floor Drains: Before appearing on your sinks, toilets, or showers, sewage will start to back up in your home’s garage, laundry, and basement areas. If you notice floor drains, it indicates sewage backup, and you should call for professional assistance immediately.
  • Water backup in your tube, shower, and sink: Unless there is a blockage in your drain line, it’s unlikely for water to back up in your bathtub or shower.
  • Common yard changes: If water is pooling in your sinkholes and other places where it has never been before, it’s only possible that there’s some blockage in your home’s main sewer line.

Common Causes of Sewer Backups

To prevent damage to your property, you need to identify not only the sewer backup but also its cause. This will help the problem be fixed early enough. Here are some of the most common causes of sewer backups:

1. Pipe Blockage or Clog

Just like a drain pipe blockage, your home’s main sewer line can become clogged. This is usually one of the main reasons for a sewer backup. It usually occurs due to pouring or flushing down waste products that are too large for your sewer line.

Unlike a single drain clog, a blockage in your main sewer line can cause multiple plumbing problems in your home’s drainage channels. It’s therefore advisable to pour down and flush only permissible waste products, such as human waste and other wastewater.

2. Damaged Sewer Pipes

From loose ground support to earth movements, several things can destroy sewer pipes. Older homes with old piping systems are more susceptible to this kind of damage.

Also, when the ground moves due to land shifts or earthquakes, the sewer line will likely break or crack, leading to a sewer line problem. Unfortunately, iron pipes can also corrode and deteriorate over time, causing a blockage or collapse of your sewer line.

You should regularly inspect your sewer line to detect any potential problems. That way, you can repair damaged sewer pipes before they cause a sewage backup.

3. Tree Roots

As trees and shrubs develop, their roots can cross the ground and penetrate your sewer line. This is especially common since tree roots are always seeking the moisture and nutrients found near sewer lines.

Over time, these roots can grow and wrap around the sewer lines to crush pipes or cause cracks. Even worse is that the roots can eventually infiltrate the cracks, especially in clay pipes, leading to a sewer backup.

4. Sewer Line System Age

Believe it or not, the age of your sewer system can cause a sewage backup. This is especially true with older sewer systems, usually made of iron or clay pipes. As mentioned earlier, the piping system can deteriorate over time and crackdown, break, or fully collapse.

Although PVC pipes are durable, they also don’t last forever. Consequently, many homes experience sewer backup problems due to old sewer systems.

5. Heavy Rainfall

Floods and heavy or prolonged rainfall can cause serious problems for sewage systems. Too much rain can overload the sewer systems, even if they’re made to handle large amounts of water.

When there’s an overload or increased amount of water in the sewer lines, the excess water can back up into your home. This is most likely to occur during periods of heavy rainfall or flooding in your area.

6. Municipal Sewer Problems

Municipal sewer problems could be the cause of sewage backups in your basement. A problem in the city sewer line can also lead to a sewer backup in your home.

Unfortunately, apart from reaching out to the municipality, a municipal sewer problem is usually out of your control. Even so, these problems are usually fixed faster once they’re detected to prevent further spread.

How to Solve Sewer Backups

Here is what to do if a sewage backup occurs in your home:

  • Move out of the flooded area and avoid contact since human waste is a biohazard. You will need to clean or sanitize the area before moving back.
  • To avoid shock, turn off the electricity in the flooded basement.
  • Improve ventilation in the area by opening windows and doors.
  • Avoid using the toilet, bathtub, and sink until the problem is fixed.
  • In handling, wear protective clothing, such as facemasks and gloves.
  • If there’s significant damage to your walls, floor, or other property, call your insurance company and notify them of the sewage backup in your home.

Lastly, and most importantly, you should call a professional plumber to fix the problem. Waterwork Plumbing can professionally diagnose and fix sewer backups in Detroit. We also help mitigate the potential future risks of a sewer backup.

Call us at 248-206-3912 or request an appointment to discuss your problem with the leading plumbers in Detroit today.