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How to Protect Your House From Sewer Backups

A sewer backup can spell disaster for your home. If your sewer line becomes clogged, wastewater will not drain properly. The sewage will flow backward and into your house. Not only does this create a health hazard, but it’s also very costly to clean up. Read on to learn more about what causes sewer backups and how you can avoid them.

plunger next to white toilet and toilet paper roll on light blue tiles

Signs of a Sewer Backup

The following warning signs indicate a sewer backup. If you notice any of these signs, call a plumbing expert right away.

  • Multiple drains in your home are clogged simultaneously.
  • Your toilets are not flushing properly, even after plunging.
  • You notice a foul odor coming from your drains.
  • Your sewer cleanout is full of water.

Causes of Sewer Backups

A sewer backup has several possible causes, including:

Damaged Pipes

No pipes will last forever. Especially if you have an older home, it’s possible your pipes are aging and beginning to deteriorate. An old pipe may become cracked or even collapse, leading to a sewer backup.

Tree Roots

Tree root invasion is one of the most common reasons for a sewer clog, especially if your home is older. Tree roots will seek moisture as they grow. The roots will enter the sewer pipe and can cause extensive damage as they grow larger.

Flushing Non-Flushable Items

Flushing anything non-flushable down the toilet can clog your pipes and lead to a sewer backup.

Improperly-Routed Gutters or Sump Pumps

Downspouts, gutters, and sump pumps should not be connected to your sanitary sewer. During a heavy storm, a large amount of water can flow into your gutters. If the gutters are connected to your sanitary sewer line, the volume of water can cause a backup. Ensure that your gutters are connected to a storm sewer, or that they discharge water above ground, away from your home’s foundation.

How to Prevent a Sewer Backup

Here are several steps you can take to protect your house from sewer backups.

Dispose of Grease Correctly

Cooking grease can solidify inside your pipes if it’s poured down the drain. Instead, let your grease cool down and solidify, then scrape it into the trash can. Also avoid pouring food waste, starches, or coffee grounds into the drain.

Be Careful What You Flush

All that should be flushed down the toilet is bathroom tissue. Avoid flushing wipes, feminine hygiene products, or paper towels. Even if a product says it’s flushable, it may not really be safe to flush. Flushing improper items will clog your toilet and lead to sewer backups.

Install a Backflow Valve

A backflow valve (also called a backwater valve) allows water to flow out of your home. If water starts to flow backward, the valve will close. This can help protect your house in the event of a sewer backup.  You’ll need a licensed plumber to install a backflow valve for you.

Trim Tree Roots

If you have a large number of tree roots in your yard, the roots may start to grow into your sewer line. Have a professional inspect your trees and trim the roots to prevent them from damaging your sewer line.

Clean and Maintain Your Sewer Line

Preventative care is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of a sewer backup. A plumbing expert should inspect your sewer pipe once a year for any signs of damage. You should also schedule an annual sewer cleaning to keep your pipes flowing smoothly.

If you need assistance with your drain and sewer system, Lutz Plumbing is here to help. We can take care of whatever your sewer line needs, whether it’s installation, repair, maintenance, or replacement. We’ve served the Kansas City area since 1920. Contact us now to learn more.

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