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What is a Sewer Backup?

A sewer or water backup is when water that should be draining from your house comes through your pipes and into your home. This can cause costly water damages and health hazards due to waterborne illnesses. Homeowners are usually responsible for maintaining any connections with the main sewer drainage, and often without insurance, the expensive repairs fall on the homeowner.


Tree Roots Tree Roots bring water and nutrients to help the tree grow. In their quest to do this job, roots can make their way into pipes where, of course, there’s more than enough of a water supply. All it takes is a small opening from a crack or loose joint for a root to sneak its way inside. Once a root has entered plumbing pipes, it can continue growing until there is a serious blockage. Getting routine maintenance can keep roots at bay. If the damage is caused by trees that belong to the city, they may be obligated to pay for the repairs. Sump Pump Failure The job of a sump pump is to remove excess water buildup and transport it to the main sewer drain. After heavy rain, sump pumps can struggle to keep up and can overwhelm drainage systems causing a sewer backup.


Some causes of sewer backup are hard to foresee, but small habits can help prevent additional clogging that can accelerate a sewer backup. Keeping potentially harmful products out of your sewer line is vital to the health of the drainage system. One great example is cooking grease. While it may be liquid after cooking, once some oils cool down they will solidify causing clogs in your system. So-called “flushable” wipes are another example. These do not break down as easily as toilet paper and routinely cause blockages that lead to sewer backups. These are small ways to help your sewage line stay free of blockages, but good habits can’t prevent tree roots or other major structural problems from causing a backup. You may want to consider upgrading your pipes to new plastic piping that can keep out roots more effectively. This could be especially important if you are relying on pipes installed many years ago with imperfect materials. The causes of sewer backups often come from the natural area around your home making them difficult to predict. Still, there are steps you can take that can limit the clogs and blockages that lead to costly sewer backups. Make sure you are disposing of grease and paper products in the correct way. Routine maintenance of your plumbing system can ensure that your pipes don’t leak into the soil around your home and ensure that roots don’t cause large blockages.
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