Sewer backups occur when something blocks the normal flow of wastewater from your house to the city’s sewer, causing sewage to back up into your home. There are several potential causes of sewer backups, including aging sewer systems, broken or collapsed sewer lines, tree roots entering sewer lines and sump pump failure.
A sewer backup issue in your home can lead to serious consequences—including clogged pipes, contaminated water, fire hazards and property damage caused by sewage buildup or mold accumulation. The most common cause of a backup in your sewer lateral (the pipe that runs from your area’s sanitary sewer main to your home) is from items that the line is not meant to handle. With this in mind, here are a few tips for protecting your sewer line and preventing backups.
General Best Practices
- Maintain your sewer system. Contact a plumber or specialist to conduct a routine inspection to check that your system is functioning properly.
- Locate your property’s sewer lateral to help determine if your line is at risk of being damaged by tree and shrub roots. If so, seek professional help to trim these roots or replace your line with a plastic pipe.
- Do not allow the following items to go down your kitchen sink (instead, dispose of them in your garbage can):
- Grease and fats—These items solidify as they cool, which can quickly result in clogged pipes.
- Oils—Regardless of the type you use, continuously rinsing oil down the drain can cause buildup in your pipes.
- As a general rule, only flush toilet paper down your drain. Most other products are not designed to deteriorate quickly and can clog your sewer line.
Basement Water? Sewer?
Most water entering the basement is not due to a sewer backup, but rather from poor soil grading around your home’s exterior. If you have a water problem and have ruled out sewer backup, making sure that water is draining away from your home’s foundation properly can often fix the issue.
Check Your Coverage
Many homeowners mistakenly assume that a sewer backup incident will be covered by their homeowners insurance policy, but standard homeowners policies typically exclude such losses.
Don’t make this costly mistake! Be sure to secure additional, affordable coverage to protect your home (and your wallet) in the event of a sewer backup. Call 508-824-866 and talk to one of our expert agents today to discuss your coverage and if an additional endorsement is necessary.