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Sewer Backups – Signs, Causes & What To Do!

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A sewer backup is an issue where sewage flows back from the sewage systems into the building. This can lead to human waste from the sewer lines entering the home or business and cause health risks. There are specific reasons why a sewage backup will occur and certain actions to prevent them. Optimised Plumbing Services is ready to provide any person with an Emergency Plumber to deal with sewer backups. 

The most common signs of a sewer backup are blocked drains, odours, slow draining, water backup and visible sewage blockage. These backups of sewer systems are often due to tree roots, damaged sewer lines to large scaled clogs in drainage. It is important to contact an emergency plumber immediately to prevent health risks and water damage from occurring.

Are Sewer Backups Dangerous?

As there is a mix of water and wastewater this can be a health risk to people and also damage the home. Sewage has water and also human waste, minerals, garbage and other contaminants in it. If humans are exposed to sewage then they can become sick, receive a disease or other negative health issues.

Sewage backup brings water with it which can cause water damage to the building. The walls and floors could be exposed to water for too long which will cause mould and other types of water damage.

For more information on water leaking through walls and how to fix it, our article provides more details.

What are Some Signs of Sewage Backups?

The most noticeable signs which will indicate that the sewage is backing up are:

  • Multiple Clogged Drains – if there are more than one Blocked Drain issues that occur at the same time then sewage buildup could be to blame. If the clog also happens in a place where the drains are rarely used, such as a laundry sink or guest bathroom, then this is a clear sign.
  • Water Backup in Different Drains – when a drainage system is overflowing from using a specific system then this can be from the sewage. Such as if using the bathroom sink and the shower begins to overflow or if the washing machine causes the toilet to overflow. 
  • Bubbles – bubbles will occur if air is trapped in the drain lines and will suggest a blockage issue. Bubbles forming after flushing the toilet could also indicate the sewer pipe is blocked. 
  • Toilet Not Flushing Correctly – when the toilet is not flushing properly then a blocked toilet issue could be the concern. This blockage could also cause the sewer to backup so it is important to unblock toilets as quickly as possible. 
  • Slow Draining – if it takes longer for water and other items to be flushed or run through pipes then a sewage buildup could be the issue.

What Causes Sewer to Backup?

A backup in the sewage system can occur for multiple different reasons. These issues can be avoidable but at times some are more difficult to control. 

Clogged Drains

The difference between a blockage drain and a sewage blockage is that often the system will constantly be blocked. This can include more than one toilet struggling to flush or multiple sinks are overflowing then it is a sewage blockage. If it is one toilet or sink blocked then that specific drainage line is clogged. 

It is important that only toilet paper or paper towels are flushed down toilets to prevent these blockages. Cooking oils, food scraps and other items should also not be forced down kitchen sinks. Cleaning drains should also be a regular habit so they are cleared and will not cause sewage to back up. 

Tree Roots

Damage caused by tree roots entering drainage lines can lead to sewage pipes being blocked. Tree roots which begin to enter, break and block pipes underground can slow down or prevent drains from flowing. This means that the likelihood of the sewage coming back up increases as trees are preventing proper flow. 

Damaged Sewer Pipes

Collapsed, cracked or damaged sewer pipes, especially in older homes, can cause sewer backup issues. With the pipes being damaged the sewage cannot flow correctly out of the priority. The most common result of this is that the sewage begins to rise back into the building. 

What to Do When Sewage Starts to Backup?

If the sewage begins to backup into the building the first options are to try and unblock the drain. This is often using a plunger or item to grab any easy to reach blockages in the toilet or floor drains. Hot water and corrosive cleaners are often not effective for this type of situation as it might not be effective immediately.

If the sewage is rising quickly then calling for an emergency plumber is advised to quickly arrive and help with the situations. Turning off the water supply and turning off the electricity if water goes near outlets will help decrease the damage. Removing any absorbent material items, such as wood or carpets, from the area can also help limit damages.

How can I Avoid Sewer Backup?

To help prevent backups the following should be considered and practised:

  • Prevent Clogs – keeping fats, greases, oils and other items away from drains is important in preventing blockages.
  • Control Tree Roots – stringer drainage lines should be installed and regular inspections should be made to help prevent tree roots entering plumbing systems. 
  • Update Plumbing System – if the plumbing is old or poorly designed then they should be updated. Installing newer drainage and sewage lines will make sure that the chance of sewage backup will be decreased. 

Reliable Sewer Backup Services

Optimised Plumbing Services is here at all times of the day to help deal with sewer backups. Our fully qualified plumbers have over 20 years of experience working on handling backups from sewage systems. We will repair the issue and stop or prevent the sewer from backing up.

We will operate across all of Sydney, including the Northern Beaches and Greater Western Sydney, to stop sewage backups. 

No matter the sewer backup our plumbers are always here to help – contact Optimised Plumbing Services now on 02 8074 1475!

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