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Avoiding Stinky Situations: 7 Sewer Backup Prevention Tips You Should Know
When you think about your home’s plumbing, you probably don’t think about possible health hazards. But a clogged sewer line can and will put your home and family at risk.
When your sewer line backs up into your house, everything in that sewer line comes up with it. That means you’ll get exposed to dangerous bacteria and pathogens that can cause serious medical issues if you’re not careful.
The best thing you can do is prevent the backup from ever happening. Here are a few simple sewer backup prevention tips to help you keep your home and your loved ones safe.
1. Be Mindful of What Goes Down the Drain
When you’re cleaning up after a large meal, it’s tempting to run everything through your garbage disposal and down the drain. Though this may speed up the cleaning process, it can wreak havoc on your home’s plumbing.
In fact, some foods can end up clogging your pipes or worse, your sewer line, leading to a backup.
Instead of treating your sink like a trash can, pay attention to what you’re putting down the drain. If you have any cooking grease, oil, or other residues on your dishes, wipe them out with a paper towel and toss the towel in the trash.
Though grease and cooking oil may be runny when warm, they can solidify inside your pipes once they cool. The solidified grease then traps food particles and other gunk, creating a clog and increasing your risk of a sewer backup.
2. Pay Attention to What You’re Flushing
The only things toilets should ever have to handle are human waste, water, and toilet paper. Everything else can clog the toilet or worse, cause a clog in your sewer line.
Pay attention to what you’re putting down the toilet. If you or your family members have gotten used to putting facial tissue, paper towels, or cotton balls in the toilet rather than the trash, stop immediately.
Put a small trash can next to the toilet so you can eliminate temptation and take care to only put toilet paper in the basin.
If you’ve been putting the wrong items down the toilet for several years, schedule an appointment with your plumber and let them inspect the lines. If they catch a minor clog early enough, it won’t result in a sewer line backup.
3. Pay Attention to Your Trees
Believe it or not, the trees around your home can cause major problems for your sewer line. As the roots grow and spread, they can punch through the sewer pipe and create clogs inside the line.
The best thing you can do is hire a professional to trim the roots back away from the sewer line at least once a year. You should also consider scheduling an annual inspection with your plumber to make sure the pipes are still in good condition.
If the roots have already punched through the pipe, it is possible to clear them out of the pipe, but this is a short-term fix. You’ll still need to get the roots trimmed back and may need to replace the sewer line entirely to keep the problem from coming back.
4. Invest in a Backflow Prevention Valve
The best way to keep sewer backup issues from happening in the first place is to install a backflow prevention valve. These valves allow water to flow out of your house and through the sewer line without issue.
If there’s a clog the valve keeps the dirty sewage from flowing back up through your sewer line and into your house.
Your plumber will be able to install a backflow prevention valve at your home quickly. Even better, the installation may help you save money on homeowners’ insurance in the future.
5. Replace Old Sewer Lines
Modern pipes and plumbing fixtures feature durable plastic pipes. These are uniquely resistant to corrosion and can stand up to the near-constant use most homeowners put them through.
Older pipes, on the other hand, are often made of metal or clay. These pipes corrode and get damaged by shifting soil and tree roots. Once they’re damaged, you’re at risk for a sewer backup.
Instead of waiting for a backup, replace those old pipes. This will significantly lower your risk of a sewer backup and helps you keep your home’s plumbing working well for years to come.
6. Get Illegal Connections Fixed
Unfortunately, some homes have plumbing issues caused by the contractor when they built the house. Contractors often tied French drains, irrigation drains, and other waterways to the sewer line.
This helped keep the landscaping properly dry, but it puts a serious strain on your sewer line. The more water and debris that flows through it, the more likely you are to experience a backup.
Let your plumber get rid of those illegal connections and make sure your home’s plumbing is up to current building codes.
7. Never DIY Plumbing Repair
Putting too much toilet paper into the bowl and flushing it is a simple enough problem to fix. But anything more severe than that should always get fixed by an experienced professional plumber.
If you have clogged drains, trying to remove the clog yourself can damage your pipes and your plumbing connections. Over time, this can put strain on your sewer line and could even shift the clog to the line itself.
When you leave the repairs to an experienced plumber, you’ll know that the clog is safely removed for good.
Follow These Sewer Backup Prevention Tips Now
Nothing is worse than watching your toilet overflow with dirty water. Use these sewer backup prevention tips to help you keep your home and your plumbing in good shape year-round.
If you find yourself hearing that tell-tale gurgling noise coming up from the toilet bowl or feel worried about your drains slowing down, don’t put off repairs. Contact our team as soon as possible and let our experts keep your drains clear.
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