Nobody wants to come home and find that the sewer has backed up into their home. A sewer line backing up is a lot worse than a water main break or broken pipe because of the risk of contaminates in the sewage. Ideally, you will have your home’s sewer drain cleaned at least every two years. Having to clean the sewer line more often can signal a problem that needs to be addressed. If you have not had the sewer line cleaned within the past two years, schedule a sewer drain cleaning today.
Signs that the Sewer Drain Needs Cleaning
There are some signs that you can watch for that indicate you should schedule a sewage drain cleaning. If you notice these signs, you should take action immediately. Ideally, you will hire a professional because readily available products that claim to remove clogs might not be effective in clearing a sewer clog, and these products have the possibility of damaging the pipes.
One sign that your sewage pipes need attention is nasty smells emanating from the drains in your home. You might notice the smells (which might be similar to feces or rotten eggs) in the drains nearest to the blockage before you notice the smells in any other locations.
Seeing raw sewage coming from one of the drains in your home is a sure sign that you need to have the sewer drain cleaned. This can occur in a sink, tub, or toilet.
Drains that do not drain like normal can be a sign of a blocked sewer drain. This could of course be because of a clog in the drain pipe, but you will not know the cause for certain unless you have it checked.
Odd Plumbing Trends
Noticing that you get a gurgling noise in the sink when you flush the toilet or having the toilet tank bubble when you drain the tub are some odd plumbing trends that could signal a clogged or blocked sewage pipe. If anything in your home’s plumbing seems odd, you should have it investigated.
Water flooding the floor drain in the basement, crawl space, or utility room is another sign that your home needs the sewer pipes cleaned. If you do not frequent the area often, you might notice a water ring where water has come up and then drained back down again.
You might hear sounds like gurgling coming from the pipes in your home. This will often occur when water is being used elsewhere in the home, but it can also happen when water hasn’t been used. The latter is common if the clog is severe and water is barely making it through the clog.
Steps to Take if the Sewer Backs Up
If the sewer in your home does back up, you need to take steps to ensure that your home returns to the sanitary condition you need. The first thing that you should do is to have someone come out to assess the situation.
Determine the Cause
A professional can determine the cause of the sewer back up. It might be caused by a blockage of sewage that cannot get down the pipe, but that is not the only cause. Tree roots can break through the sewer pipes and cause clogs. Pipes can sag downward (also known as bellying). In all of these situations, the cause must be properly determined so a plan can be made to address the issue and get the sewage moving in the right direction.
Address the Cause
Addressing the cause of the sewage back up can help the sewage to drain properly so that you do not have to deal with problems in the future.
If the problem is a clog in the line without any external cause, a plumber will likely use a sewer snake to clear the clog.
If the problem is a tree root, using an auger to clear the tree root is the first step to addressing the cause. You would then need to have the pipe replaced.
If the problem is bellying, the pipe will need to be repaired and supported. In some cases, a bellied pipe will need to be replaced.
Clean the Area
Cleaning the area that had the back up is one of the most important things you will have to do. Sewage contains bacteria that can harbor disease, so you cannot skimp on this step. Anything that came into contact with the water has to be cleaned or discarded. If you cannot clean it, throw it out! Your family’s safety is worth more than anything that you might be tempted to keep.
Once the water has receded, you can clean the floor that was contaminated. Never try to start this process earlier because you will risk increasing the contaminated area with water particles that might fly through the air.
Use a solution of water and bleach or water an disinfectant cleaner, such as pine-based cleaner, to clean the floor, sink, tub, and other nonporous surfaces that came into contact with the contaminated water. Bleach is the ideal solution since it will kill much more of the bacteria that might be present on the floor. If you mop up with bleach and cannot stand the smell, you can follow up with the pine-based cleaner.
Once you have cleaned the area, allow it to dry completely before you have contact with it again. You can open windows, use fans, and run the air conditioner to ventilate the area and help it dry faster.