Sewer backups are an unpleasant reality for many homeowners. They can cause damage to your home, and the resulting costs can be devastating. Unfortunately, sewer backups can occur without warning, which is why it’s important to be aware of the warning signs that may signal a potential issue. In this blog post, we will outline the subtle early warning signs of a sewage backup so that you can quickly take action to avoid any costly plumbing problems.
Signs of a Potential Sewer Backup
Strange Noises or Gurgling Sounds from Your Toilet or Sink Drains
If you start to hear strange noises coming from your toilet or sink drains, it could be an indication that there’s an issue with your sewer line. These noises are usually caused by air being forced back out of the pipe due to a blockage or buildup in the line. If left unaddressed, it could lead to a sewer back up, or even burst pipes.
Unpleasant Smells Coming From Your Drains
Another warning sign that you may have a sewer backup is when you begin to smell something foul from your toilet or sink drains. This odor is typically caused by sewage gas being trapped in the pipes due to a blockage somewhere along the line. If you notice this smell in any of your drains, call a licensed plumber right away for help.
Slow Draining Water
If your water is taking longer than usual to go down the drain, then this could indicate that something is blocking its path in the pipes beneath your home. It could also mean that your drain lines are old and need replacing altogether. Either way, it’s best to call a professional plumber immediately if you notice any slow-draining water in any of your sinks or toilets.
A Wet Basement
If you have noticed any unusual wet spots around your basement floor or walls lately, this could be another sign that there’s an issue with your sewer line causing water to back up into your home. This can lead to mold growth and other serious problems if not addressed quickly by a licensed plumber.
Unexplained Increase in Water Bill
An easy way to detect if there's an issue with your sewer line before it becomes too costly to repair is by keeping an eye on your monthly water bill for any inexplicable increases—this could be one of the first warning signs of a potential backup.
What are the Main Causes of a Sewage Backup?
There are many factors that can contribute to a sewage backup:
Flushing non-biodegradable items down the drain
Sewer line deterioration and decay
Tree roots penetrating sewage piping
Sump pump failure
Oil, grease, or fat buildup in pipes
What You Can Do If You Have A Sewer Backup In Your Home
Before entering sewage water, protect yourself by wearing protective garments such as a face-mask, eye protection, gloves and rubber boots.
Everyone should evacuate the flooded area immediately; sewage can be highly hazardous to both humans and animals alike.
Do not attempt to walk through any standing water if electricity is present. Remove yourself and anyone else from the area and call a professional immediately.
To protect your family, immediately switch off the primary water line of your residence, if possible. Do not attempt to walk through standing water if a live current is present. If you are unsure, remove yourself from the area.
Don't forget to inform your insurance provider about the sewage backup. Keep in mind that sewer backups may not be covered by basic home insurance - look into homeowners' insurance policy details to learn more about your water damage coverage.
Refrain from using the plumbing system in your home until the backup issue is rectified – avoid flushing toilets or draining tubs and sinks.
Circulate fresh air into the flooded space by opening your windows or doors.
Book Your Sewer Line Inspection
Frequently Asked Questions About Sewer Back Ups
Where do drain and sewer backups typically occur?
Sewer backups occur in either the main line or in a single drain line.
The main line pushes wastewater to the main municipal sewer or septic tank. If your blockage is in the main line, you will be unable to use water in the home as it will have nowhere to go. Blockages in the main line may be caused by inappropriate items being flushed, or a high surge of water in the municipal system that flows back into the wastewater drain.
A single drain line blockage is most typically caused by humans. Toys, large food items, or a build-up of toilet paper will block a system. A licensed plumbing professional will be able to resolve this issue with a toilet drain snake or auger.
How can I stop sewer backups before they happen?
There are a few preemptive measures you can take to prevent a sewer backup, including:
Install a backwater valve
Install a sump pump
Refrain from placing large amounts of toilet paper and other hygiene products down the drain
Placing food scraps in the garbage or compost as opposed to down your drain
Can a lot of rainwater cause sewer backups?
Yes! Heavy rainfall may overload the municipal sewer system and in some cases, it may flow backwards into your basement.
Can a washing machine back up a sewer drain?
It is possible that a washing machine will back up your home’s drains. Because it uses so much water, it may overload the drain system. If you suspect your washing machine is causing drainage issues, call Home Mechanics immediately. We provide 24/7 service for all of your plumbing needs.