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close up view of sewer mainhole

When the line that goes from your home to the sewer is backed up, it can send sewage back into your house through the drainpipes. Not only is this disgusting, but a sewer backup can cause a lot of damage and potentially harm your health.

What causes sewer backups

These are the most common causes of sewer backups:

  • There’s a blockage in your main sewer line

  • Tree roots have grown into or around your pipes

  • Sewer pipes have broken or collapsed due to age or shifting earth

  • A heavy rainfall has occurred that exceeds the capacity of the sewer lines (most common in heavily populated areas)

How to prevent a sewer backup from occurring in your home

A sewer backup can be a real headache. Here are five steps you can take to prevent it from happening to you.

  1. Avoid pouring fat, grease and oil down the drain. When these substances cool down, they become solid and can cause a clog.

  2. Don’t put anything other than toilet paper in your toilet. Use your trashcan for diapers, feminine hygiene products, baby wipes, tissues and any other garbage.

  3. Avoid planting trees near the sewer line. If it can’t be avoided, try not to let them get big enough to damage your pipes.

  4. Consider having old pipes replaced with modern, plastic ones that are less likely to collapse or break.

  5. Install a backwater prevention valve, which will stop water from the sewer from getting into your home.

What to do if it happens to you

If your sewer line backs up into your home, it’s important to take action quickly. In most cases, the best thing to do is to call an emergency plumbing service. While you’re waiting for the plumber to arrive, it’s advisable to do the following:

  • Stay away from electrical panels and systems until you’re sure it’s safe

  • Open windows to allow fumes to escape

  • Remove damaged items to a dry, well-ventilated area

  • Take photos and make lists of your damaged property for your insurance claim

Your emergency plumber: on call in Hamilton

In the case of a residential sewer backup, or any other plumbing emergency, Pitton Plumbing & Heating has a 24-hour emergency plumber on call. We handle sewer and drain issues, flooding and other non-emergency plumbing services in Hamilton and the rest of southwestern Ontario. Call us any time, day or night.


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