4 Tips to Prevent Sewer Backups

If you know anyone who has suffered the mishap of a sewer backup, talk to them about it. They will tell you how absolutely awful it is to go through this and you will probably get some advice as well on what to do and what not to do.

This is not something you ever want to experience. Not only is it very costly, it is also very smelly and a truly unpleasant experience. Water damage and sewer backup make up a lot of insurance claims. Here are some tips that should help in trying to prevent a sewer backup in your home.

1. One-way Drain Plug Protection

You can install one-way drain plugs below floor drain grates. If sewers are overloaded, this should help in preventing water from backing up. When the sewer gets back to normal, there is a special float that will be deactivated in order for the water to return via the opening. These plugs are actually quite affordable and the good thing is, they are just about the simplest solution for prevention. Even though you could use a regular commercial plug to seal the drain, try not to use one. Depending on other things, it could prevent proper drainage. Always make sure that there is no debris in the float mechanism otherwise it will not function properly.

2. Standpipe

This is just an ordinary pipe that is stuck in the floor drain with a watertight seal enveloping it. If water rises out the drain, it goes into the standpipe and not onto the floor. The pipe can be removed and the water spillage can be drained once the flood threat has passed.

3. Overhead Sewer

This is arguably one of the most never-failing methods of protection against basement flooding. However, it has one drawback – it is very expensive. It is also something that has to be installed by a licensed plumber and you will need a special building permit for it. Whenever there is an overflow, it is collected in a sump, a space found below floor level. The water is then pumped into the overhead pipes after which it is drained into the main sewage line of the building.

4. Fats, Oils & Grease

These are collectively known as FOG and can cause chaos in sewage lines. FOG will eventually harden and clog drains, no matter how you try to get rid of it. If there’s some oil or grease and it isn’t a huge amount, you can just try wiping that down with an absorbent paper towel and then throw that in the trash. Otherwise, collect it in an old coffee can and discard it. Never pour it down your drain. That is like plumbing suicide!

Also, only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed in the toilet. No matter what products may claim in their advertising, never flush anything else down. Doing this can cause your toilet to become clogged, and it can be very difficult to unclog a toilet by yourself.

There are also other ways, such as using a backwater valve, which can be installed in your basement. This is a good backup tool to have since it from municipal pipes. Again, this is best left to the plumber. To assess your needs, consult a licensed plumber because sewage problems and flooding is NOT something you ever want to experience.