Sewer Backup

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Sewer Backup

Nobody wants to think about a sewer backup.

Sewer backups can be a major inconvenience and potentially cause damage to your property. It’s gross, messy and can potentially cause a lot of damage to your home and your health.
If you have a simple clog, it’s easy to pull out the plunger or yank out that clump of hair from the tub drain. But when you find the tub overflowing because you flushed the toilet; or the kitchen sink won’t drain no matter how many time you run the disposal or clean the trap, you might be dealing with a more serious problem.
This might be a case of a serious sewer stoppage problem.
Causes of Recurring Sewer Backup
There are a few common causes of these backups that keep happening over and over again.
Tree and shrub roots causes of sewer backups.
Tree and shrub roots crave water and will make their way toward any moisture. So even the smallest crack in a sewer line will attract roots.
And as trees and shrubs continue to grow, so do the roots causing a potential blockage and possibly creating more cracks and holes. The roots can also grow around and crush a sewer pipe.
And don’t think just because you don’t have any trees near or in your yard means this can’t happen. Roots can reach your lines from your neighbor’s yard or even from surrounding city land creating undesired sewer backups.
Sewer Clogs
Sewer systems are designed to handle a lot of waste. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care with what goes into those pipes.
Here are a few main culprits that could be causing serious clogging in your sewer pipes:
Fats, oils, grease – Never pour these into your kitchen sink. Even if you run really hot water with it, these substances still stick to your pipes and solidify. Aside from building up on their own, there’s the added bonus of catching any other debris and food stuffs that might make it into your pipes creating very stubborn clogs.
“Flushable” wipes – Just because you can flush these wipes down the toilet doesn’t mean you should. Utility companies around the world are finding these wipes congealing with other debris creating “superknots.” Testing by Consumer Reports have found some of these wipes don’t break down as advertised.
Paper and feminine hygiene products – These are just not meant to be flushed. They don’t break down like toilet paper. Toss them in the trash instead.
Cracks and holes left un-repaired lead to broken sewer pipes. A broken sewer pipe leads to backups. Older homes constructed with cast iron or clay pipes are more susceptible to breaks.
And a sagging—or bellied sewer pipe—create recurring backups, too. Because a sewer line is designed to use the power of gravity, if a pipe is sagging, it can’t drain leaving water and debris to settle in the sag causing backups.
Determining the Cause of Your Sewer Backups
One thing you don’t want to do when you have a sewer backup is reach for the Drano or some other liquid drain cleaner. The chemicals in these products can cause more damage to your pipes creating an even more expensive problem.
Instead, call a licensed professional plumber to diagnose your sewer stoppage problem. As we’ve explained in a previous post, a sewer leak cannot be found with a sewer camera inspection but sewer stoppages can.
Once the cause of your problem has been found, a plumber will then lay out the best course of action. Don’t let a clogged drain ruin your day.
Remember, sewer backups can be hazardous due to potential exposure to harmful bacteria and contaminants. Take necessary precautions, such as avoiding direct contact with the sewage and wearing protective gear if needed.
If you have any questions about sewer backups, give us a call. We’re professional plumbers at Discount Plumbers in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. We are happy to discuss any issues you’re having, and always keep your specific needs and budget in mind.
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