Sewer Backup Problems


Plumbing How To

Having problems with sewer water backing up, often accompanied by a foul smelling odor is something that can happen to us all. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty trying to locate and unclog the blocked drain it is advisable to call your local plumber.

What causes a sewer backup?

One of the main causes of sewer back-ups is still tree roots growing into the sewer lines, slowing and eventually blocking the flow of water. Other common causes of a sewer backup are grease and oil that get rinsed down the kitchen sink. The grease will collect in your sewer lines and eventually harden to become a partial block.

Also small items that get flushed down the toilet or washed down the kitchen sinks are another cause of sewer backups. A sewer backing up due to a collapsed exterior pipe on the other hand is quite rare, but not completely unthinkable.

Professional Sewer Cleaning

When the blockage is caused by tree roots or collapsed pipes then you will most likely need to call a local plumber or drain cleaning expert to remove and replace the damaged section of the sewer line and to clear the rest of the drain lines from debris and dirt using a sewer jet or sewer snake.

A professional sewer cleaning contractor often will run a small fiber optic camera into your drain to locate and literally see where and what is causing the problem with your plumbing.

DIY Sewer Cleaning

If the sewer blockage is caused by grease, oils or other materials and objects then you can try to remove the partial blockage yourself with the help of an auger (sewer snake), plunger or sewer jetting as well as any natural drain unclogging methods.

Using a Sewer Snake

Plumbing snakes or augers are long, flexible tubes that you push through the drain until you reach the clog. You then push through the clog that is blocking the pipe. You can either buy or rent sewer snakes for do-it-yourself sewer cleaning at your local plumbing supply store or DIY Centre. Sometimes the sewer snake can be attached to an electric drill to give it exta power, a manual sewer snake has a handle and crank to make it spin..

Signs of a sewer back up problem?

Usually the first signs of a sewer back up problem are the smelly odors coming from the sewer and a rather slow drain. If you do not unclog the partial blockage in time then these symptoms will be followed by the first actual sewer water backing up through your sink, toilet or other drains. When the sewer line becomes completely blocked then the sewage water has no choice but to reverse back into your home.

Preventing sewage backup problems

Preventing a backup problem is not possible because it can happen in the main city line as a result of other people's sewage, but you can try to protect your own sewer line from getting blocked and so prevent sewer back-ups to a large degree.

  • Avoid clogged drains by dumping food or greasy substances into the sink drain.
  • Cover the drains in your kitchen and bathroom with filters to keep hair or solid objects from getting into the draining system.

External References

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Sewer back up

I have never had any sewer back ups into my drain or toilets until the city Jetted the main sewer line in front of my house. The city says it wasn't snaked by the plumber correctly, the plumber said there is no way sewage would have splattered all over and back up if the line wasn't jetted? I just wanna never have poop in my house again.

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