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What Causes a Sewage Backup?

A sewage backup is a serious issue that requires immediate action. When sewer lines become obstructed, they prevent the wastewater from flowing through drainage pipes and cause a blockage. The contaminated water backs up into the home and causes a series of issues, including health hazards and property damage.

To prevent plumbing problems like this, every homeowner needs to perform regular inspections and repairs. When you regulate the slow wastewater flow on time, you prevent complete drainage blockage and all the dangers that come from it. Now, before getting into plumbing inspections and repairs, you should know what causes a sewage backup in the first place. Once you learn more about the causes and possible fixes, you can recognize the problem on time and act appropriately.

If you are located in the Greater Phoenix region, contact Hansen Family Plumbing for all of your plumbing needs.

Common Signs of Sewage Backup

When your sewer line gets clogged or experiences some other similar problems, you will notice a few subtle signs. These red flags are often easy to overlook by an inexperienced eye but should not be ignored. Treating the sewer line problem on time is crucial if you want to avoid overflowing in your basement, bathroom, or any other room in the house. For that reason, we made a list of some common signs of sewage backup to help you detect the issue as it develops and resolve it on time.

  • Odors: The whole purpose of your drains is to transport wastewater far away from your house. If you notice any bad smells in drains from inside or outside of your home, something is wrong and requires your attention. Persisting sewage smell in your house is one of the main signs of sewage backup and requires immediate action.
  • Bubbles in Drains and Toilets: Noticeable bubbles in drains and toilets are not a good sign. They usually indicate the wastewater is unable to flow through the plumbing system properly. Thus, take this as a warning that the sewer will back up if you don’t perform the necessary cleanups.
  • Slow Drains: When you have several drains that run slow, the first thing you should suspect is sewer blockage. If wastewater can’t pass through the pipes and sewer line, it will cause a problem in multiple fixtures.
  • Clogging: Following the previous statement, if you notice clogging in more than one drain in your home, you probably have an issue with a sewage backup.
  • Sewage From Cleanout Pipe: The cleanout pipe is directly connected to the sewer line, and it is usually located in the basement or outside of the house. If you notice wastewater coming out from it, that means the sewage is backing up.

These are only some of the most common signs of sewage backup. If you notice any of them in your home or suspect sewage backup for any other reason at all, contact Hansen Plumbing Family for support and easy problem fixing.

What Causes a Sewage Backup?

Sewage backup can be caused by many things, and you can’t fix all of them on your own. Sometimes, the sanitary sewer in the city is to be blamed for the water waste backup. Other times, the home’s plumbing system and surrounding environment are responsible for the issue. In general, the typical causes of sewage backup go as it follows:

  • Clogs: Sewage backups often result from clogged sewer lines. The clog might be present only in one source, such as the toilet, sink, or tub, which is easy to resolve with proper cleaning products. However, if you notice repeatable slow drains in several sources, you might have a problem with the main sewer line. The full blockage of the main sewer line can easily lead to complete overflow and property damage. Thus, we recommend you take the problem seriously and carefully inspect the plumbing system.
  • Tree Roots: The roots of large trees can grow into pipes and cause a blockage as well. Believe it or not, this is a common thing that happens in a lot of households. If you have trees near the sewer line, make sure to check whether the roots are the problem.
  • Sewer Line Damage: It’s quite common for old properties to have damaged sewer lines. The plumbing and sewer systems deteriorate over time and can crack and break, causing blockages and water waste backups. Those who have older houses might need to consider a renovation to avoid more serious problems.
  • Dirt Buildups: Fat, oils, and grease in the drain can also cause a blockage, as well as items such as towels, wet wipes, and sanitary napkins. People who don’t take care of what they pour down the drain can face frequent and excessive sewage backups.

Sewage Backup Risks

If you’re wondering what happens when sewage backs up, we have answers. Sewage backups can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home, especially the floors, walls, furniture, and electrical systems. Take a look at the following risks posed by sewage backup, and it will be clear what dangers you might face.

Health Threat

Sewage backup health risks are a major concern. Water contaminated with sewage has bacteria, viruses, and germs that pose an extreme risk to human health. If you consume contaminated water and food or even get in contact with it, you can experience a wide range of negative effects. The mild ones are vomiting and diarrhea, while conditions such as hepatitis are much more concerning.

You can also get sick from using items that are not properly disinfected after sewage overflow (e.g. kitchen utensils and toiletries). Therefore, take the entire disinfection process seriously and make sure to wear protective clothing. If you’re not sure you can do it right for any reason at all, call a professional plumbing company. Your health comes first, and you shouldn’t be cutting down expenses on safety.

Property Damage

Property damage is another risk that comes with sewage backups. When your belongings remain under the wastewater for too long, they get soaked and deteriorate. Your flooring and insulation materials can be ruined by sewage backups as well as furniture, fabrics, paper products, and more. Some people spend thousands of dollars on costly renovations after the sewage backup, so this is a problem that needs to be taken seriously.

Fire Danger

With major sewage backups, the water can reach plugs, outlets, extension cords, and other items and equipment. This is a huge safety hazard because damaged electrical equipment can easily cause fires. If you notice high water levels in your home, turn off the power and call for professional help.

What to Do When Your Sewer Backs Up?

The first thing you will want to do when you notice the sewage backup is to switch off the power. You need to protect your electrical system from water damage, especially if you came home to the already high water level. Also, make sure to wear rubber boots, stand on a dry surface, and avoid touching metal items.

Once you take these precautionary measures and put on protective clothing to prevent contact with wastewater, you can start with the cleaning process. The first and most obvious step is removing spillage, mopping floors, and wiping walls. After you remove the excess water, you can move on to disinfection and damage repairs.

Ways to Prevent Sewage Backup

Everyone can agree that sewage backups are better to prevent on time then treat once the problem gets out of control. If you’re all up for taking the necessary steps, follow our ways to prevent sewage backup.

  • Dispose of grease properly when cooking. Avoid pouring oils and other leftovers in the drains because when the grease cools off inside, it can create clogs and blockage.
  • Replace your old sewer line with a new one, especially if you suspect damage from roots or old age.
  • Consult your plumber before installing plumbing connections. Flood control systems can often do more harm than good to the sewer line.
  • Install a backwater prevention valve to allow proper sewage transportation. You might spend some extra cash on the installation, depending on your plumbing system, but it will be well worth the investment.
  • Regularly inspect the pipes and drains in your plumbing system. When you detect slow water flow and clogs on time, you can react promptly and resolve the issues before they develop even more.

Diagnose the Problem and Assess the Risks

Hopefully, you can detect the problem in your plumbing system easier by following our guidelines. Once again, we will repeat how important it is to run regular inspections on your sewer line and other parts of the plumbing system. By doing this on time, you get to prevent serious threats and damages and save yourself from stressful situations.

Still, if you can’t quite determine what causes the problem or you have difficulties with resolving it, don’t hesitate to call a plumber. Assess the risk and decide whether DIY work or professional help is a better option for you.

Get Professional Help for Your Sewage Backup Issue

Sewer problems are known to cause a lot of stress for homeowners. If you want to avoid all the hassle coming from sewer repairs, contact Hansen Family Plumbing. We are a plumbing contractor located in the Greater Phoenix region and serve our clients in Tempe, Mesa, Scottsdale, and other surrounding areas. With a team dedicated to providing a variety of plumbing services and more than a decade of experience, we provide top-notch assistance at any time. You only need to call us for scheduling a consultation or visit, and we will be there to answer and provide the proper solution to your plumbing problem.

published on Friday, October 21st, 2022
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