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Sewer Lines: Why They Get Backed Up and What You Can Do About It

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Few words strike as much fear into the hearts of Colorado homeowners as “sewer line backup.” While we absolutely love our sewer lines when they’re working properly and doing what they’re supposed to do, a sewer line backup can create stressful, costly, unsanitary, and disgusting problems. The best way to avoid issues with your sewer lines is to understand what causes backups to begin with and how to prevent them. Today’s post will tell you everything you need to know about why a sewer might become backed up, steps to take to prevent backups, and what you can do if a backup occurs.

Why Do Sewer Lines Get Backed Up?

Whether new or old, sewer lines can become backed up for a number of reasons. One of the most common natural causes of a sewer line backup is a root system coming into contact with a sewer line. Because trees with more established root systems are usually adjacent to older homes, we see this problem most frequently with aging homes, but it could happen to anyone. The vast majority of sewer line backups occur due to man-made causes, though. The problem is that too many homeowners take their sewage systems for granted and have a tendency to put things down the drain that can cause serious trouble. A buildup of hair, grease, food scraps, feminine products, and a number of odds and ends that happen to get thrown down the drain can all lead to backups. Finally, old or aging pipes may tend to wear out or get thin over time, and dips in the line can happen as the earth begins to settle below the pipe. Whenever this occurs, a backup may soon follow.

Where Do Sewer Lines Get Backed Up?

You’ll experience the biggest headache when a backup occurs on your main sewer line. The main line is the pipe into which all of your drains eventually dump out their waste. When a backup, clog, or blockage happens here, you won’t be able to run any water inside of your home or operate any of of your toilets. This is because there won’t be any place for wastewater to escape, and it will cause serious damage to your home.

Sewer backups can also happen on a single drain line. Although this is a smaller problem than a backup on a main line, it can still wreak havoc on your house. In most cases, a single line backup is a direct result of human behavior. Whether it’s an accumulation of too much grease going down the drain or a child trying to flush a toy down the toilet, these types of backups can cause flooding and disaster. Fortunately, you can simply isolate the problem area as it is repaired and continue using water throughout the rest of your home.

How Should I Handle a Sewer Line Backup?

The key to avoiding sewer line backups is, of course, prevention. By having older pipes inspected and maintained, and by taking steps to ensure that nothing inappropriate goes down the waste pipe, you can significantly reduce your odds of facing a clog or backup. In the event that a backup does occur, however, it’s important that you act quickly. As soon as a backup is detected, you should turn off the water supply. Assess the flooded area for any safety concerns, such as electrical cords or outlets that may have come into contact with water. When flooding occurs, do what you can to sop up excess water, then call a professional, who will not only fix the problem but will disinfect and sanitize following industry standards and protocols. Also be sure to also have a contractor assess any potential mold damage, handle hazardous waste removal, and assess structural integrity issues.

Have you experienced a flood due to sewer line backups? Call the Abbotts Fire & Flood Team for expert help and cleanup today!

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