Ask 10 homeowners what their biggest plumbing-related fear is, and 9 out of 10 will say the same thing: sewage back-up. Plumbing emergencies are scary enough when they don’t involve human waste. Unfortunately (and we hate to be the bearer of this news here)… sometimes they do.
Fortunately, the really scary plumbing problems also tend to be relatively easy to avoid. The best way to avoid sewage back-up is to learn why it happens in the first place. First, you learn what to avoid, and then… you avoid it! That being said, most sewage problems happen for one of three reasons. Specifically, these three reasons:
This is especially relevant for California residents like us. Trees need moisture to thrive. If their access to moisture is limited (due to, say, a drought), then trees are in trouble. When trees are thirsty, they’ll start looking for water anywhere they can get it–including your sewer line.
Don’t think you’re safe just because you don’t have trees all over your yard, either. Roots can travel far. In fact, your sewage back-up could have happened because of wandering roots from your neighbor’s trees! Regular inspections and maintenance are the easiest ways to keep your home safe from tree roots.
This is the most common cause of sewage back-up. You wouldn’t believe the things people try to flush down their toilets. Many of these things (obviously) really don’t belong in a toilet. Paper towels, grease, dearly-departed goldfish–you name it. The problem is, when you flush things down your toilet that your pipes can’t handle, your pipes… can’t handle it. That’s how clogs happen.
If you only notice one fixture clogging, that means the clog is probably restricted to a singular set of pipes. That’s good news! If you notice sewage back-up in fixtures all over your home, however, then the clog is in your main sewer line. That’s a serious problem, and one you’ll need professional help to fix. Before that happens, however, you should try to avoid sewer clogs in the first place. Watch what you flush, never pour hot grease down drains, and use your garbage disposal with discretion!
A collapsed sewer line
Nothing lasts forever, and that includes your sewer line. Depending on the age of your home, your sewer lines could be constructed of outdated material. These days most sewer lines are made from long-lasting, heavy-duty plastic materials. That wasn’t always the case.
Older homes tend to have cast iron or clay piping. These materials may disintegrate and wear down over time until they break or even collapse. When your sewer lines collapses, the sewage it processes doesn’t have anywhere to go; so it comes back up. If you’re worried about your sewer line, you can have it professionally inspected any time. Experts can figure out what your line is made of and catch problems before they inflict serious damage.
If you can avoid these three problems, you should be able to avoid sewage back-up. You’ll… want to do that. If you need help cutting away tree roots, clearing clogs, or inspecting your sewer line, let us know.
And if the worst occurs and things get… messy, you can get in touch right away. Whatever your sewer line needs, Mike Diamond has you covered. That’s what we’re here for, even if it’s gross.