Septic Backup


What causes septic backups?

       Septic backups can happen for a few different reasons; a sewer line becoming clogged is a common occurrence. If there is a problem with just one toilet, sink, or tub, there is more than likely a clog in that specific drain and appropriate drain cleaning can resolve this issue without further problems. Unfortunately, if every time you flush you get a plugged toilet, sink, or tub, the problem is much more serious than just a clogged drain, it means that your main sewer drain is clogged and will take more steps to fix.

How do I fix this problem? 

A blockage in the private or main sewer causes a backup through floor drains and toilets at the lowest point in your property causing a septic backup first in your basement continuing to damage your entire home. This is not a problem that can be fixed by just simply adding Draino to your sinks or toilets, this is a job for the professionals. First call in a plumber to fix the blocked drain causing all of this mess, and then call Cleanway.     

What else causes septic backup?

As odd as it sounds, tree roots can cause septic backups. The roots of large trees around your sewer line can literally grow into the pipes and cause holes and blockages. They can even wrap themselves around the sewer line and crush it.

The only way to really avoid this problem is to refrain from planting any trees near your septic system. If there are already trees planted around your system, call a professional tree removal company to remove those trees and their roots.

*Damaged Sewer lines are also a big problem with sewer systems. If your home is older, there is a chance that your septic backup is being caused by a broken, cracked, or collapsed line. Pipes and septic systems in older homes were built using cast iron and clay which can break down and get rusty over time. Now plastic sewer lines are used and don’t cause such problems because they can’t rust.

What are the health hazards related to septic backups?

There are many health hazards related to septic backups, which is why we always recommend that you call in the professionals and not try to take care of it on your own. Water contaminated with sewage usually has a variety of bacteria, viruses, and germs in it that are harmful to your health. It can make you experience vomiting, diarrhea, or even contract Hepatitis A if you eat contaminate food or drink contaminated water. You can get sick if you use items that have been in contact with the sewage if it isn’t properly disinfected first. Calling the professionals will ensure that your property is properly cleaned and disinfected so you won’t get sick.

Are there any other hazards related to a septic backup?

Fire hazards are a large problem with septic backups. If the water level reaches any plugs, electrical outlets, extension cords, or gas burning equipment, DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING. Get out of the building immediately and call the professionals, the risk for a fire is enormous at this point.

What if the water hasn’t reached that level?

If your electrical equipment and fuse box are still safely above water, put on rubber boots and rubber gloves, stand on a dry surface, and make sure you are not touching anything made of metal then turn off the power as soon as you detect the problem.

How extensive can the damage get?

Damage from a septic backup can be as a simple as a  puddle on your bathroom floor, or as complex as a flooded basement. If your home remains under sewage water for long, the damage will be considerable. Flooring and insulation that have gotten wet can no longer be used, mattresses, anything leather, stuffed toys, and anything paper will have to be thrown out. Furniture that allows for deep cleaning can be saved as well as washable fabrics but anything else will need to be thoroughly disinfected by a professional or thrown out.

Won’t sewage backup insurance cover all the costs?

Insurance coverage and what it will or will not cover is something that only you can consider. Sewage backup insurance may or may not cover the costs for the water damage restoration process and the expenses for replacing all your damaged household items. Depending on the cause of the backup, and other factors specific to each case and policy. Often, if the problem is found to be by your failure to properly maintain your drains, you can’t expect any reimbursement from the insurance company. If the blockage is due to roots from a tree in a public area or if a pipe has collapsed on state property, the responsibility is not yours and you should be compensated.

Are septic backups avoidable?

Absolutely! The correct sewage backup prevention methods can save you from a lot of headache. If you inspect and maintain all of the pipes and valves on your property regularly, keeping the drains “clean” by not flushing things like napkins, tissues, diapers and other wastes down the toilet and avoid disposing of grease down the kitchen drain, this should help to avoid septic disasters.

How can I limit the damage done by a septic backup?

Do not flush toilets, drain tubs or sinks- don’t use the water supply system at all until you know the problem has been detected and taken care of.

 Do not use harsh chemicals to try to unclog the drain system, they can damage your pipes and sewer lines and make the problem worse.

Keep children and pets away from the affected area

If it is still safe to do so, shut off the power, if not, stay away from the electrical equipment.

 Where Protective clothing; gloves, eyeglasses, rubber boots, and a facemask

Open windows to allow fresh air in and ventilate well to remove fumes

Use sump pumps to remove excess water


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