Floods are often the culprit of home water damage, and even worse, sewer backup. And since flooding is more often associated with spring and summer, you may think you’re safe during the winter season. Not so. While heavy rainfall and flooding is a common cause of sewage line problems, they are certainly not the only factors at play.
Sewer Backup Causes
It likely goes without saying that a sewer backup is a big mess. In addition to water damage to your home and personal possessions, sewage backup can also create health risks for you, your family, and your pets, as sewage contaminants are filled with bacteria, viruses, and toxic substances. Preventing a sewer backup is always better than dealing with the aftermath. And to do so requires a better understanding of sewer backups beyond flooding. Here are a few:
- Tree root blockages
- Structural defects to sewage lines and plumbing
- Improper sewage line planning and installation
- Broken pipes
- Obstruction caused by items that should not be flushed down toilets
- Leaks in the waste line
- Frozen septic system
- Blocked sewer vents.
Signs of a Sewer Backup
Even though you may understand what causes a sewer backup, it may seem impossible to know if one is coming since most of the indicators–blockages, defects, leaks–are hidden underground or within the structure of your home. While you might not be able to diagnose the actual problem, sewer lines do throw out a few warning signs when a backup is imminent.
- Foul odors in the home, especially coming from drains.
- Gurgling noises when you flush toilets or as water drains.
- Slow draining tubs, sinks, laundry lines, and showers.
Winter Tips to Avoid a Sewer Line Backup
To avoid a sewer line backup, there are precautions you can take all year long, including: properly disposing of grease, not putting hard-to-grind items in the garbage disposal, avoiding the flushing of blockage-causing items, and checking on the working order of your sump pump–or installing one if you don’t have one already. But there are also a few winter things you can do as well:
- Clear snow from atop your sewer vents. Piled snow can create a vent blockage, which can cause sewer gases to release in your home.
- Add water to drains. Sewer gas entering the home can also be avoided by added water to the the trap of less used drains or basement floor drains.
- Keep the sewer vent from freezing. Install additional insulation or work with a professional to install a heating element in the attic to keep your sewer vent thawed.
- Work with a plumbing or sewer professional to winter-proof your plumbing and assess your home’s sewer line situation.
Sewage Cleanup Services Offered by McMahon Services
We offer FREE inspections and estimates to residential and commercial customers in our Chicago, Arlington Heights, Berwyn, Des Plaines, Evanston, Mount Prospect, Grayslake, Mundelein, Libertyville, Oak Park, Palatine, Wheaton, Naperville, Waukegan, Schaumburg, Skokie, and surrounding IL service areas.