Common Sewer Backup Causes and Some Quick Fixes

Having a sewer backup is pretty much the worst nightmare of a homeowner. All of the nasty waste from your septic coming back through the pipes and into your home…a real-life horror movie. But the reality is that if you’re not taking proper care of your septic you might be setting yourself up for a backup. In this blog, we’ll discuss some common causes of sewer backups (aka things you should avoid doing). We’ll also include some quick fixes for backups, although the best fix is to call a professional out to help. 

Common Causes for Sewer Backups 

In this section, we’ll explore some of the most common reasons that you may be experiencing a sewer backup or septic clog. We’d like to note that most of these things are preventable if you just stay mindful of how you’re treating your septic system.

  • Common Cause 1 CLOGS: Essentially this can come down to what you’re putting down your drains. This means flushing things like wet wipes, feminine products, and other non-waste items. It also means putting things down your garbage disposal like bones, grease, fats, or oil. All of these things can create clogs in your pipes in and in your septic system because they’re not easily broken down in your septic tank. Clogs that form will create blockages which will eventually push waste back through the drains. 
  • Common Cause 2 STRUCTURAL DAMAGE: Structural damage to your septic system can happen because of a lot of different things. One way that you may experience structural issues is because of large plant roots around your home. These large roots can grow into the septic system and cause damage. Another way to cause structural damage is if large vehicles are being driven or parked on your septic system, especially your drain field. The final way that you may experience structural damage is just through soil settlement over time. 
  • Common Cause 3 FULL SEPTIC TANK: Another reason that you may be experiencing septic backups is that you haven’t pumped your septic tank enough. If you find that you’ve used your plumbing a lot more than normal there may be cause for concern. In times of high usage, like the holidays, your septic can get full faster than you realize. If your septic tank is full then it may start backing up into your home. 

Quick Fixes for Sewer Backups 

Before we get into some of the quick fixes for sewer backups it’s important to note that oftentimes they can be prevented. By taking care of your septic and being mindful of what you’re putting down your drains you can help keep your septic healthy. Now here are some quick fixes! 

  • For small clogs, you can use a plunger to help clear the clogs and get the waste flowing back in the right direction. This won’t necessarily work for large backups, but it can be a quick fix for clogs in your home. 
  • Find the sewer cleanout line in your yard. This is often a long white pipe that is sealed with a screw-on lid. Opening this can release pressure in your system, this may help the level of your system decrease saving you from a backup. 
  • Don’t panic and don’t try to clean up the wastewater should you experience a severe backup. This wastewater is highly contaminated and can be bad to your health. In the case of a serious backup, the best option is to call a professional for help. 

We hope that these quick tips and causes will help you better understand sewer backups and how to handle them. The most important thing to note is that sewer backups can be health concerns, so if you’re experiencing one please call Miller’s to help. Our 24/7 emergency service line is open all year round. Our septic experts will be able to help you safely manage the situation. Just call (804) 758-4314 for 24/7 emergency service!

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