What Do I Do If My Sewer Backs Up?


By PLUMCORE | Posted in Blog

Most people probably know that the sewer lines in their home transport wastewater from their house to a series of underground sewer mains located outdoors. What they may not know, however, is what to do if the sewer lines develop a backup. When a backup occurs, you need to take action quickly. Below are some things you should know.

Steps You Can Take Before Calling A Plumber

Although some sewer backups will require a plumber to get to the source of the problem, there are some things you can do first that may actually take care of it.

  • Attempt to clear the drain by first removing any objects, such as grease, toilet paper or hair that are noticeably in the way.
  • Use a plunger or a plumber snake to free up potential debris that could clog sewer lines.
  • Check to see if your sewer main is backed up by calling a friend or acquaintance who is handy. Lift the manhole cover in the street closest to your home. If water is not visible, the problem is in the service line of your home and you should contact a plumber as soon as possible.

Discovering the Problem

Although an experienced plumber will have a good idea where the problem is in your sewer line, they no longer have to rely on hunches and guesswork. Today’s plumbers use video cameras that allow them to see directly inside your pipes. They not only can tell you exactly where the backup is occurring, they can also tell you the overall condition of your pipes and point out any other potential problems that they see.

How to Prevent Future Plumbing Issues

Once your plumbing problem is corrected, you should take steps to ensure that the problem does not happen again.

Never plant trees or shrubs near your sewer lines. Roots from trees and shrubs love to grow toward cracks and breaks in sewer lines, since it provides them with a ready water source. Once roots find their way into a sewer line, they often form a ball that clogs the lines.

Don’t pour grease or fat down the drain. Grease collects on the edges of pipes and solidifies. Over time, the grease will block water and waste from passing.

Avoid flushing foreign items or items that won’t break down. Two of the most popular reasons for sewer backups are children flushing toys and other small items, and the flushing of non-biodegradable items, such as feminine products and baby wipes. They not only will clog sewer lines, but can lead to costly repairs.

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