Sewage backups are a serious issue in many households. They cause illness and damage to personal property. In fact, sewer backup is the third leading cause of home insurance claims in the U.S., according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Sewer backups are caused by sewage lines that become overwhelmed with water or other materials that should not be put down drains. Our team has come up with a few suggestions to prevent sewage backup in your home! Here are a few ways to help prevent sewage backups:

Only flush the 3 Ps.

Only flush human waste and paper. This may seem like common sense, but it's surprising how much people neglect this rule in their everyday lives. A common cause of sewage backups is flushing things that are not biodegradable: wet wipes, cotton balls, diapers, and other materials. Don’t flush any material that is not biodegradable down your toilet. Do not use rags or other items to clean drains – they can clog pipes, too! Be mindful of what you are flushing down your toilet, and remember the 3 Ps!

Avoid pouring grease or oil down the sink.

Grease and oil are the number one cause of sewer backups. Grease and oil clog pipes, which will then back up into your home, causing damage to your appliances and biohazard damage to you.

Additionally, the grease is dangerous for our environment as it causes bacteria growth in a nearby stream or river. Waterways that are polluted with sewage overflow may lead to illnesses such as cholera and typhoid fever. Avoid pouring grease and oils down the sink at all costs! 

Take care of your garbage disposal.

Your garbage disposal is one of the most important parts of your plumbing system, but it's also one of the most neglected. It's easy to overlook because you don't see it, and because they're so cheap to replace (if they break). Neglecting your disposal causes some serious problems. If food or other items are left in the sink after using a garbage disposal, they cause clogs that lead to backups. Ideally, run it for a few seconds after each use—even if there isn't anything in the sink at all—to clear out any remaining debris!

To keep things running smoothly with your garbage disposal:

  • Keep it clean by regularly washing down both sides of the blades with warm water and soap.

  • Dry them thoroughly before putting them back into place.

  • Be careful not to put too many large pieces of food through at once.

Be careful about what kind of food scraps you put into your garbage disposals—especially if you live in an apartment building with shared plumbing systems. If something gets stuck on your pipes, it could create an obstruction for everyone else who also uses the same system in your building. 

Keep an eye on sewer lines.

If you have a septic system, inspect it regularly for leaks, cracks, and breaks in the piping. This helps to prevent sewage backups in your home. If you notice any leaks or signs of a sewage backup, contact a plumber immediately. In addition to inspecting your sewer line regularly, be sure to keep an eye out for other factors that lead to sewage backups such as:

  • Obstructed drains

  • Frozen pipes

  • Overflowing toilets/sinks

Regularly Plumbing Maintenance is Key

Sewage backups are a common problem but preventable by doing regular maintenance to your plumbing and knowing what not to put down your drains.

If you have a septic tank, it needs to be pumped every three years or so. If you don't know how often yours should be pumped, ask a plumber. Septic tanks also need cleaning once every two years. By completing a few of these easy steps, including septic tank maintenance, sewage backups are easily preventable. 

If you have questions about your septic tank or sewage line, contact our team at AdvantaClean. We may be able to inspect your system for any damages!

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