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What You Need to Do After a Sewer Backup

If we’re looking at the best hits of plumping problems, we’ll find that having a sewer backup truly takes the cake. 

The problem with backups is that they can hit you at any time due to a variety of causes. From pipe blockages, damaged sewer lines, or even tree roots breaking into the pipes, the list is endless. 

Once you add on the terrible stench and the possibility of dealing with organic waste, you’ll have a painful problem on your hands which can also be hazardous to your health. If you’re dealing with a sewer backup and you don’t know what to do, we’ve got you.

Just keep reading to learn all about sewer backup, its early signs, what to do when you’re actively dealing with one, and what steps you can take to prevent it from happening again. 


What Is a Sewer Backup?


Every house has incoming water lines and outgoing sewer lines. The incoming pipes bring in the clean water that you’ll be using to shower, cook, and clean. As for the outgoing pipes, they’ll be taking all the used water from your washing machine, your shower, and your sinks away from your house. 

These outgoing pipes are called the sewer or wastewater lines. Problems start popping up when your sewer lines stop functioning the way they should. 

A sewer backup is an issue that crops up when your wastewater line gets blocked or leaks. It’ll lead to all the icky material it was meant to remove from your home leaking (or flooding) right back into your house and create a mess. Of course, this mess can cause contamination, mold growth, water damage, and a plethora of health problems and structural issues. 


What Are the Early Signs of a Sewer Line Backup?


A sewer backup isn’t one of those insidious problems that can lurk under the radar, and then suddenly appear. There will be early warning signs. You just have to know them and make sure you take action as soon as possible. 

One of the main warning signs is slow drainage. Having slow drains throughout your entire house is a big warning sign that there might be an issue with your sewer line. Usually, if it seems like the problem is coming in from a specific part of your house, then you might have a problem with one specific pipe. In this case, you can just repair it on your own with a plunger.

On the other hand, if your drains seem to be blocked all across your house, then it might be a full-blown sewer line problem.

Another red flag is waste backing up into another pipe whenever you flush a toilet or use a washing machine. It’s a sign that your sewer line isn’t taking your waste away and out of your house.

Furthermore, there are warning signs and there are war sirens echoing through your house. These sirens will be extreme cases of emergency backups. Emergency backups will cause your waste to flow right into your home, which is a biohazard and merits an immediate call to the professionals


What You Need to Do After a Sewer Backup


Now you know exactly what you’re dealing with. The first step to take after recognizing a sewer backup is checking all of your sinks, toilets, wastewater pipes. If you can see any blockages, clear them out as best as you can. Afterward, call a professional plumber anyway, because there will probably be more blockages that you won’t be able to reach or unblock on your own. 

Moreover, avoid using your sinks or toilets until you get confirmation that all the blockage is cleared up. In extreme cases, the blockage can happen in the main sewer line. This will lead to water backing up into your basement or tub.


Power Down or Take Precautions Standing water is dangerous in a multitude of ways. When you have standing water in your basement, make sure to shut off the power. Mixing water and electricity is a recipe for electrocution, so if you can’t completely power down your basement, you’ll need to take a couple of precautions.

  • Avoid anything metallic or conductive

  • Wear a face mask, rubber boots and gloves, and safety glasses

  • Use wood (or other insulating material) to touch objects that might have an electrical current

In addition, you can start circulating fresh air into your flooded rooms, which will allow, at least, some of the fumes to escape. Also, add a bit of bleach to the standing water to have a modicum of disinfection.  Document Everything Whether for your own personal records, to help give your plumber a clearer picture of your situation, or your home insurance, document the damage by taking photos of everything. As it were, your insurance might cover water backup. Having photos on hand can help illustrate the damage and its impact on your house.  How to Prevent Future Plumbing Problems It great to be proactive with tackling plumbing issues the moment they appear. But, what’s even better is taking precautions to avoid creating future plumbing problems.  There are a couple of things you can do that can minimize the possibility of a sewer backup problem:

  • Don’t plant trees (or anything for that matter) near your sewer lines.

  • Don’t pour grease down your kitchen sink or any other drain. 

  • Don’t flush non-biodegradable items down the toilet. 

Doing all of the above actions can easily lead to clogged pipes if not costly repairs down the line, so make sure you don’t.  Ready for a Much-Needed Clean-Up? We know all about the nightmarish issues that a sewer backup can bring to your home, and now so do you. Armed with all the essential information on sewer backups, how they work, as well as what you need to do after you have one, you’re in a much better position to deal with them. Of course, a major step to take would be calling septic services to come over and handle the situation. It’ll not only save you time and money, but it’ll also remove toxic material that can negatively affect your health and the health of your family. Moreover, if you want to learn more about everything plumbing, make sure to check out our blog for the latest in the industry.

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