Halloween Horror Stories: Sewage Backups

Owning a home is symbolic of the American Dream. However, if your sewer backs up, it can quickly turn your American dream into an American nightmare.

Why Sewage Backups Happen

Sewage backups can happen for various reasons, but here are several of the main causes:

Clogs: A variety of things end up in the toilet that have absolutely no business being there: Q tips, cotton balls, floss, paper towels, and so-called flushable wipes. These things do not break down like toilet paper and instead wreak serious havoc on your plumbing system.

You should also carefully consider what you’re tossing down your kitchen drains. Garbage disposals are convenient, but even they have their limitations. Bones, coffee grounds, fruit pits, potato peels, and pasta can foul up the blades of your disposal and create a stubborn blockage in your drains. Grease, however, is the biggest offender. While it will wash down with water, as it cools it creates a gelatinous obstruction à la The Blob!

Clogs in your toilets and drains can be avoided with proper maintenance and using caution when discarding certain items.

Tree roots: Trees are beautiful this time of year with their leaves vibrant shades of red and yellow. But below the surface, a terrifying scene is unfolding. Alien-like tentacles are worming their way into your sewer line to feed on your waste! The invasive roots will swell in size, completely obstructing the pipe. When this happens, waste has nowhere to go but back up—hence the name, sewage backup.

Collapsed pipes: Older clay pipes can fail even without a tree root growing into them. Over time, these pipes can crack and collapse. Once that happens, it's only a matter of time before you'll start to see the signs of a sewage backup. If this happens, it's a major concern that you'll want to take care of as soon as possible.

What Are the Effects of a Backup?

The effects of a sewage backup can be detrimental to your health and your wallet. Sewage backups generally find the lowest drain in a home. If you have a drain in your basement floor, this can be a positive. It might keep the backup contained in your utility room. On the other hand, not all homes have basements. This means that a sink drain is likely to experience the backup. No one wants putrid, murky water bubbling out their bathroom or kitchen sink drains. This is one foul problem that will necessitate some serious sanitizing.

Another way that a sewage backup can affect your property is the creation of a sinkhole. This can happen in your yard or your basement, and it could lead to some major repair bills. If the backup is outside of your home's four walls, it's likely you'll need to hire an excavator to dig up your yard to access the line to make repairs. This could wind up costing you thousands.

Avoiding Backups

It can be difficult to avoid all backups. However, there are some steps you can take to make them less likely.

  • Make sure to flush only what's intended to go down the pipe -- toilet paper and waste only.

  • Cut down any trees that are close to your sewer line to keep the roots from cracking your pipes.

  • Schedule a time for a professional plumber to inspect your line. By catching problems early, you’ll prevent a backup.

Bottom line: Backups can be horrifying. The good news is Mr. Sewer Rooter is equipped with the latest technology to locate and fix the source of the problem fast. To schedule an appointment, call (323) 688-4565.

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