Having your home’s sewer system start backing up can be an absolute nightmare. Unfortunately, it’s an issue that most people will have to deal with at some point. Sewage backups have the potential to do extensive damage to your home. They can also be a health hazard since sewage often contains harmful pathogens. In this article, we’ll look at the various issues that can lead to a sewer system backing up and how backups can be overcome or prevented.

Causes of Sewer Backups

Sewer backups most commonly occur for one of a few different reasons. The most common reason is that the sewer is clogged with solid materials and waste or tree roots. Another time you’ll start experiencing constant sewer backups is if your sewer line breaks or collapses.

There are also times when heavy rainfall can overwhelm the municipal sewer system and cause the sewer main in the street to completely fill. When this happens, it can force wastewater back up through the home’s sewer line and into the house. This issue can be much more than the other two since it can result in much more sewage backing up into your home and flowing out of floor drains, shower drains, and sometimes even toilets. Luckily, it is also extremely easy to prevent this type of backup from ever occurring by installing a backflow preventer on your sewer line.

A backflow preventer is essentially like a gate that can flip up and down. It is normally flipped down so that all of the wastewater from your house flows directly over it. If wastewater starts to flow out of the sewer main and back up your sewer line, it will push against the backflow preventer so that it closes. When closed, it blocks off the pipe so the sewage can’t continue to flow into your house.

Options for Overcoming Sewer Issues in Your Home

The options you have for stopping your sewer system from backing up depend on what specific issue is leading to it backing up. In some cases, it can also depend on the age and condition of your sewer line. When dealing with a clogged sewer line, the two options are rooting and hydrojetting. In either case, the plumber will access the sewer line through a “cleanout.” Newer homes usually have one or two cleanouts somewhere in the front yard. Some homes also have a cleanout inside near where the vertical plumbing stack goes down through the floor of the foundation. If the plumbing system doesn’t have any cleanouts, the plumber will usually need to either remove a toilet to access the sewer line or go in through the vent pipe on the roof.

Rooting involves using a special machine to push a cable and spring-loaded auger or blade down through the line. The motor on the machine spins the auger so that it acts like a drill bit and can easily cut or break through solid waste and tree roots to clear the clog. The fact that the auger is spring-loaded means that it rests against the walls of the pipe, which allows it to completely clear away any roots and solid waste from inside the pipe. This process is extremely effective, and it usually takes under an hour for a plumber to completely eliminate the clog and allow the sewer line to drain properly.

Hydrojetting is also an extremely effective option for quickly eliminating clogs in a sewer line. It is generally also the most effective way to remove large tree roots that are growing inside a sewer line. A hydrojetting machine is essentially a pressure washer with a long hose and a nozzle that sprays an extremely powerful jet of water that can easily slice through tree roots and break up clogs. The nozzle sprays a jet of water straight forward to break through the clog and wash everything down the pipe. It also sprays water out an angle to completely clean the walls of the pipe and blast away fat and grease.

How to Prevent Clogs and Sewer Issues

The best way to help prevent your sewer line from clogging is to be extremely careful about what you’re putting down your toilets and drains. While garbage disposals can come in handy, they commonly contribute to clogs since many people don’t use them correctly. The only thing that really should go in a garbage disposal is small scraps of food and never anything starchy or prone to clumping when it soaks up water. In terms of your toilets, absolutely the only thing you should flush is human waste and toilet paper. Flushing items like wet wipes, cotton pads, feminine hygiene products, condoms, tissues, paper towels, and any other solids will greatly increase the chances of your sewer line clogging and backing up.

If you’re dealing with a sewer backup in your Sarasota home, you can count on Next Level Plumbing to provide prompt, expert service. We offer professional hydro jetting and rooter services, and our team is ready to help you overcome any sewer issues your home has. As the area’s premier plumbing service, we can also help with all of your other plumbing and drain needs. If you need to have your sewer line cleaned or inspected, contact us today to get the expert assistance you need.

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