Sewer backups in your basement are incredibly frustrating and, at times, expensive to fix. Signs of the sewage backup may include a foul odor in your home, water entering your basement from the sewer pipe, and even flooding! If you are experiencing these types of symptoms, it's important to understand what causes sewage backup in your basement. Here are the top four most common causes of sewer backups:

  1. Tree Roots in Pipes

  2. Blockage within Your Sewer Line

  3. Old & Outdated Sewer Pipes

  4. Clogged Drains in Your Home


A professional restoration team like AdvantaClean is able to identify these causes, and it’s important to contact our team immediately if you suspect sewer damage in your home! 


Tree Roots in Pipes

One of the most common causes is tree roots. Tree roots grow fast, reaching over 5 feet in length and 1 foot in diameter. Tree roots easily block drains and pipes, causing sewage backup in your basement.

This happens because tree roots are attracted to the nutrients found in water, so they tend to grow where there is a lot of water. When you have a tree in your yard, the roots will grow down and out, searching for food (water). The root is strong and easily breaks through your home's foundation or your plumbing system.

When tree roots grow inside your home's drain pipes, they create blockages that prevent wastewater from flowing freely through them. The result is that wastewater backs up into your basement instead of draining away properly. This category 3 water damage needs to be taken care of immediately by a professional! 

Blockage within Your Sewer Line

A blockage is a buildup of solid material that blocks the flow of wastewater in your sewer line. This buildup is caused by grease, chemical buildup like sludge, and paper, sanitary or household products such as:

  • Baby wipes

  • Tampons and/or pads 

  • Flushable wipes 

  • Sanitary napkins

  • Paper towels

  • Toilet paper

Blockages are especially common in older homes with clay pipes that aren't properly maintained. When a blockage occurs within your sewer line, it causes a backup in your basement. This is because water cannot pass through the sewer line and instead backs up into your home. Be careful when you notice sewage backup in your home! Block off the area immediately and call a professional. 

Old & Outdated Sewer Pipes

Old and outdated sewer pipes are a common cause of sewage backup. When your house was first built, the pipes were likely installed using modern technology and materials. Sewer pipes are made to last for many years, but over time they become cracked or corroded by water and other contaminants. The piping may also deteriorate and become brittle from years of water pressure. This means that when you use your toilet, the water pressure from all of your toilets backs up into your home's sewer system and causes a sewage backup.

To reduce the risk of this happening to you, it's important to have your sewer pipes inspected regularly by a professional plumber. They tell you if your pipes are in good shape and if they need to be replaced.

Clogged Drains in Your Home

Another common cause for sewage backup is clogged drains from inside your own home. Things like hair, debris, and silt or sludge easily clog your sinks’ and/or showers’ drains. When they become clogged, they can't carry away all of the water from your sinks, showers, and tubs. This means that the excess water has nowhere to go but up—into your basement or crawl space. To avoid clogged drains, prioritize declogging your drains frequently. Many professionals recommend snaking your pipes or pouring a chemical drain cleaner down your drains.


Sometimes it is too late to avoid clogged drains! Signs of a clogged drain include slow draining, gurgling noises or constantly running toilet water.  If you experience any of these in your home, it may be time to call a professional plumber. Your drains probably need to be unclogged by a trained professional. 


A sewage backup in your basement is never easy to deal with. That is why our team at AdvantaClean is trained to handle it for you. We are available to help you after any category 3 water damage or basement flooding. Contact our team immediately when you discover sewage in your home! 

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