Causes of Sewage Backup in the Home


Problems affecting your home’s sewer line can lead to some serious issues inside the house. Sewage backup poses a health hazard to your family and when problems aren’t resolved soon after discovery, this issue could cause significant damage to your home. Take a look at the top causes of sewage backup so you can take action and prevent these problems from happening.

About Your Home’s Sewer Lines

Whether your home has a private septic tank or connects to a shared sanitary sewer system, your home has its own sewer lines. The drains throughout your home all lead to one larger drainpipe that carries waste and wastewater to the septic tank or sanitary sewer system. This line connecting your home to the means of waste removal is not part of any municipal system – it is the homeowner’s responsibility. Issues that stem from this sewer line are the homeowner’s responsibility to remedy, not your sewer utility provider’s responsibility.

Causes of Sewage Backup

The purpose of the home’s main sewer line is to carry waste from the home to the connected sewer or septic system. Issues within this line can cause sewage to backup into the home through drains. When this occurs, occupants can be exposed to harmful sewage gases and the backup may cause damage throughout the home.

Sewage backups commonly occur due to clogs and damage to the pipe.

Clogs in Sewer Lines

When a clog grows large enough to completely block the home’s sewer line, waste has nowhere else to go but back toward the drains where it started. Clogs form due to flushing improper items and disposing of certain substances down drains.

  • Pouring grease, fats, and oil down the kitchen drain or garbage disposal can stick to the insides of the sewer piping, eventually restricting the flow of waste.
  • Flushing certain items down the toilet can add large matter inside the sewer line that can get stuck within the pipe. Items such as diapers, sanitary products, paper towels, and anything other than toilet paper should be disposed of in the trashcan, not the toilet.

A plumber can help you fix this problem when you first notice signs of poor drainage like slow drains or backed up drains. Rooter or hydrojetting services clear clog material to restore proper drainage.

Broken or Damaged Sewer Pipes

If the sewer pipe buried on your property becomes damaged underground, this can interrupt the flow of waste and wastewater out to the septic tank or shared sewer. Pipes can become broken or damaged in various ways, including:

  • Shifting ground can cause pipes to break. This may occur naturally, when ground freezes and thaws, or when heavy vehicles or equipment drive over the pipes on the surface.
  • Tree roots naturally grow toward sewer lines due to the water and nutrients traveling through them. Tree roots may penetrate the line and break it open in search of these. They can also continue to grow inside the pipe, forming a blockage made of tree roots or the tree roots can catch other waste and form the clog.
  • Older pipes can crumble and break due to age, allowing soil, rocks, and other matter to enter and block the line as well as allow sewage to seep out into the ground. Certain sewer pipe materials are expected to last different lengths of time, so it’s important to know what your sewer line is made of and be proactive about replacing it before it breaks. Orangeburg pipe used pre-1970s only lasts 30 to 50 years; clay pipes popular before 1980 last 50 to 60 years on average; and PVC pipes commonly used since the 1980s can be expected to last around 100 years.

A plumber is able to find damage to home sewer pipes using camera inspection and other professional techniques. Professionals can also repair or replace home sewer lines using different methods that may include digging up the old line or replacing the line using trenchless methods.

Restoration Services from Hays + Sons

If sewage backup has caused serious damage in your home, you need the help of leading water damage restoration professionals. Hays + Sons will restore your home to its former glory, erasing the damage caused by sewage backup and other plumbing issues. Contact us today to request a consultation.

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