Plumbing problems can be a homeowner's worst nightmare. Calling a plumber can be an expensive repair, but when a pipe bursts or the toilet backs up, you need professional help to fix the problem.
A sewer backup can cause significant issues with your indoor plumbing. In most cases, repairing a sewer problem requires extensive work and can involve getting deep into the structure of your home and the pipes that connect your home to the city's sewer lines.
What should you do if you think you have a sewer backup problem? Keep reading to learn more!
What Causes Sewer Backup?
The problem causing your sewer backup could be the million-dollar question when a plumber comes to investigate the issue.
Drain clogs and toilet backups can start with your home's pipes. Flushing things that shouldn't go in the toilet or pouring grease down the sink can clog pipes and cause a plumbing problem that requires a professional repair.
While problems inside your home's pipe system can be expensive and troublesome, sewer problems are often more significant (and costly) problems. Sewer clogs can come from:
Tree roots growing into your pipes
City sewer line clogged
A pileup of debris from your home's drains and toilets
Flooding and heavy rains
Other types of pipe damage
A professional plumber can diagnose a backed-up sewer using a video inspection before recommending a repair solution. However, what should you do if you suspect your slow drains are more than a simple build-up of hair or debris? Follow these tips.
If You Suspect a Sewer Clog
Sometimes a DIY remedy can help open a slow drain or get your toilet flowing again. At the first sign of plumbing problems, you can try a few things to fix the problem before calling a plumber.
Check the Drains
A slow bathtub or shower drain can be the result of a hair clog. Removing the clog is an unpleasant task, but it can save you the expense of a plumber.
Remove the drain cover
While wearing gloves, remove hair and other debris
Flush clean water down the drain to dislodge anything you can't reach
Replace the drain cover
If water flows smoothly down the drain again, there's no need to call a plumber! Keep an eye on the drain to make sure it continues draining correctly.
Try a Plunger
Every household should have a toilet plunger on-hand in case of a toilet backup. When your toilet overflows, try using the plunger to dislodge the debris that could be the cause of the toilet overflow.
Be careful when using a plunger. Incorrect usage can cause the debris to push deeper into your pipes, making the problem worse than before you attempted to fix it.
If the plunger doesn't resolve the overflow issues, it's time to call emergency plumbers.
Stop Running Your Faucets
If water drains down the sink but comes up through the shower drain, you could have a sewer issue. When slow drains continue to drain slowly (despite efforts to unclog them), it's time to get professional plumbing help.
Stop running the faucets until a plumber can diagnose and repair the problem. Continuing to put water down the drains while you have a sewer clog can create more problems.
The water has to go somewhere! With a clog creating a drainage problem, the water could create a hole in your pipes or flood your home.
Avoid Standing Water
Sewage backup can cause standing water, both inside and outside of your home. Sewer water is not "just" water. It also contains debris and hazardous waste from the overflowing or broken pipes.
If you find standing water in your home or outside your house near your foundation, stay away from it. You risk coming into contact with unsanitary water and ground material.
If you need to turn off a pipe connection or move debris away from a muddy area in your yard, wear gloves, waterproof boots, and face protection to avoid splashing water in your eyes or mouth.
Turn off the Electricity
Electricity and standing water can create a dangerous combination. Cut the power to areas near standing water if you can safely reach your breaker box. If you don't feel safe attempting this, wait until your plumber arrives and let them handle the situation.
When Reaching out to a Plumber
When it's time to call a plumber, be as helpful as you can! Giving your plumber as much information as you can help them determine the problem and find the best solution.
If you know something went down the toilet that wasn't "flushable," tell your plumber. It might cause you some embarrassment, but they're going to find it anyway! Make it easier on the plumber to remove the object and repair the clog.
Let them know how long you've experienced the problem. If it's an ongoing problem that you've neglected while hoping it would fix itself, don't tell your plumber the slow drain started today.
Your plumber needs to understand the full scope of the issue to repair a clog accurately. A long-term ongoing problem could be a significant sewer clog that requires inspecting the pipes outside of your home. Without that information, your plumber might not be able to repair the problem correctly.
The wrong repair now can require additional repairs (and more expenses) later.
If you suspect a clogged sewer pipe, don't wait to call the plumber. A clog gets worse over time without removing it and making repairs. Calling a plumber might be your last resort, but don't wait until your drains overflow with daily use.
Get Professional Help With a Sewer Backup
Don't attempt to fix a sewer backup on your own! Contact a plumber right away. Call your city services if you think the backup takes place in the city-controlled sewer lines.
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