It is a silent enemy that seeps into your home when you are on vacation, asleep, or away for the day. It makes you cringe at the sight of it. You run screaming away from it. You feel helpless, confused, and violently angry as you defend yourself against future attacks. What is this evil that creates such emotion and turmoil, you ask? Six inches of standing water in your newly finished basement.
There are thousands of reasons why household sewer drains back-up, yet thankfully only one main source of kryptonite to defend against the problem: on-going sewer cleaning and maintenance.
There are actually a number of reasons that people have to deal with sewer back up. These reasons may vary depending on your particular circumstances and where you live, but in general, the following reasons are likely why someone may have to work through sewer back up.
First, you have to worry about tree roots. A lot of people have heard of "rooter services," and this is actually exactly where it got its name. The main point of rooter services used to be to clear tree roots out of pipes; now it has morphed into a term that means to take care of any clogging that may be in pipes. Roots in your pipes are not as common as they used to be, basically because the pipes that we use nowadays are less likely to be penetrated by roots that are seeking moisture. Our joints are sealed and connected better. That being said, it can still happen, it's just not as frequent as it used to be. Tree roots can clog up waste water pipes and cause a lot of unnecessary mess that you may have to clean up.
There may also be a block in the main part of a sewage system. In a sanitary system for a city, this would happen to the main pipe that the city uses for all waste water transport. They have ways to detect clogs, but sometimes they don't notice in time and it causes messy sewer back up in your basement (or bathroom/kitchen, if you don't have a basement). In those cases, it's the city's responsibility to take care of what is going on. If you have a private system with a septic tank, the main pipe is what connects all of your home waste water systems to the septic tank. Once again, this can get clogged and cause sewer back up, which could end up flooding certain areas of your home. The answer for both is the same - get rid of the clog as quickly as possible.
Another reason that you may end up with sewer back up is because your sewage system just isn't working as it should be. Most sewer systems use gravity in order to help get rid of the waste, but if there are clogs, leaks, or pressure issues, it can cause sewer back up to occur. These issues are usually within your home; they won't cause basement flooding in most cases, but instead may cause waste water to come back up through sinks, toilets, and tubs/showers. This is a lot easier to fix, and usually a visit from a rooter service or your local plumber can get your system fixed and working properly yet again.
So, now that you understand why you may have a sewer back up, now you may be better prepared in case it actually happens. There isn't a lot that you can do to prevent sewer back up, other than not putting things down the drain that shouldn't be, or being sure to have regular maintenance performed on your sewer system. If you keep those in mind, while understanding while backups happen, you'll be better off in the long run.
Proper and on-time maintenance of the sewer system is essential to prevent the sewer back-up. There are many reasons due to which a sewer back up happens, so it is crucial to understand these reasons in order to prevent sewer backups.