Many homes will experience an unforeseen sewer backup this year that, along with headaches, will cause hundreds of dollars in potential damages and repairs. Some early warning signs might present themselves and give you a chance to address the situation before the backup occurs. Homeowners should know these signs, as well as the reasons for sewer backups, to both prevent damages and to protect their plumbing.

An occasional clog around the house might not mean much, and a typical clog can be a quick fix. But when multiple drains in your home are clogged or appear to be draining slowly, it could be a hint that the sewer might be backed up. Perhaps you’ve noticed the drain bubbling. Air can get trapped when water tries to get around the blockage, and those bubbles can be another indication of sewer backups.

Along with slow drains, a sewer backup can also cause your toilet to not flush properly. Sometimes, not even using a plunger will solve the problem. In other situations, you may have a toilet that does flush like it should, but that function then causes an unrelated drain, such as your shower drain, to gurgle or make other noises. That may indicate a sewer backup that forces water to find another way out. 

The unfortunate thing about sewer backups is that some causes are incredibly difficult to predict, or even prevent. A lot of what happens can take place in those sewer lines that are buried and are away from your home. One such example is when tree roots grow into the sewer lines. Roots will slowly reach further and further up the sewer line, and you may not know it is happening until your drains back up. 

Older homes can also have issues with older sewer line pipes. These sewer lines can be made from cast iron, which can rust from the inside as it ages until it collapses. Without a clear route to drain from your house, backups will occur. Not only that, but with a damaged pipe, tree roots now have an easier time invading into your plumbing.

Beyond the frustration of a backup, sewer backups can lead to water damage and other problems. Remember, this isn’t just water that is coming back through your drains, but sewer water. Dirty water and sewage make it easy for mold to grow, which can lead to breathing or other health issues. Worse still is that if sewer water gets into your body, it can make you very sick.

A great way to protect your home from sewer backups is to install a backwater prevention valve. The valve allows sewage to get out, but not back in, protecting your home from sewage coming back up from the main sewer line.

Sewer backups do not happen at random. There are usually some early signs that might tip you off, and to become better versed in recognizing the signs, you should talk to a professional plumber. For more information on predicting and preventing possible sewer backups, call Kellermeier Plumbing at 616-866-5134. At Kellermeier Plumbing, we pride ourselves on being honest and upfront with our customers and strive to provide our clients with the highest level of service.