How to Prevent a Sewage Back-Up

How to Prevent a Sewage Back-Up

Let’s face it. Clogged and slow-running drains can be extremely frustrating. Even worse, they could be an indicator of a sewage backup. Unfortunately, your favorite drain de-clogging method won’t work for a sewer line. So, what should you do? In this blog post, we’re highlighting the telltale signs of sewer leaks, main causes of said leaks, and how to prevent a sewage back-up from reoccurring in the future.

What is a sewage back up?

A sewage backup occurs when some sort of damage or a backup inhibits the natural outward flow of waste from the source, in this case your home.

When your sewer line is backed up, the waste contents are reversed towards the direction of the original source, also your house. In this case, you know you have a sewage back-up when there’s wastewater in your tubs or sinks.

What causes a sewage backup?


A clog in the main line is a common culprit of sewage backups. When this happens, many homeowners attempt to grab whatever they have on hand to “DIY” the solution. We’re asking you to please not do this.

At Service Champions we’ve seen homeowners use plungers, harsh chemical drain cleaners that can corrode pipes, or even makeshift “tools” like coat hangers to fix a sewer clog.

To prevent the risk of careless drain clogs, simply avoid dumping fats, oils, or melted butter down the kitchen sink. Be sure to not flus menstrual products, thick wipes, paper towels, or diapers down the toilet. And please refrain from washing excess hair, hardened toothpaste, soap fragments, or solid makeup products down the bathroom sink.

We recommend getting your drains cleared and conducting sewage line maintenance every couple of years by contacting a plumbing expert.

During a drain clearing, one of our plumbers can examine the current state of sewage pipes and detect slab leaks, flooding faucets and toilets, pressurized plumbing, tap water, etc. and recommend how to avoid sewage backups from occurring in the future.

Tree Roots

A serious sewage backup can result when the roots and branches of plants or grow into the gaps of cracked sewage pipes. You can easily prevent the overgrowth of tree roots by having them professionally trimmed. Lastly, to take extra precautions, you may want to consider clearing all plants around the sewage line to prevent any further root issues.

Tree roots are a main reason for your Sewage Back-Up.

Heavy Rainfall

Although it does not occur often, heavy rainfalls can break through and crack aging pipes that are already deteriorating. Be sure to check your basement after a downpour and look for any signs of a burst pipe, leak, or flood.

Heavy rainfall can damage pipes.

Damaged Sewer Line

The average age of sewage pipes in America is 30-years-old, according to data from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Over time and with use, pipes can begin to corrode and break down, which will cause a sewage back-up.

All the drains in your home rely on the main sewer line in order to function properly. One way to know you’re having issues with the main sewer line is if two sinks are clogged at the same time.

4 Ways to Tell You Have a Sewage Leak

1.   There’s a Bad Smell Coming from Your Drain

A foul smell is a clear sign you may have a crack and/or leak coming from your main sewer line. It’s best to contact a plumbing professional at the first scent of wastewater. If left unhandled, mold can grow in your home. Also, waste fumes are so toxic they can cause major health concerns.

2.   More than One Drain in your Home is Clogged

As we mentioned above, when more than one drain is clogged, it’s a surefire sign something is wrong with your main sewer line. However, if only one drain is clogged, such as the toilet, the problem is most likely unique to that pipe.

3.   Some Grass Spots are Growing Better than Others

Most homeowners are excited about new growth in their yard; however, this is usually not a good sign. Cracked or broken sewer lines will leak water which will make spots of your grass lusher than others.

Keep an eye out for weakening surrounding soil that may dip from liquid over-saturation. Any stand-out patches of grass or elevation changes around your underground sewer line may be cause to contact a professional for further inspection.

A damaged main sewer line can result in flooded parts of your lawn.

4.   New Mold Growth

Sewer line cracks can lead to wastewater leakages, which if left untreated, can be a great environment for new mold growth. Don’t just walk by leaks near faucets, toilets, walls, ceilings, and drains, investigate them. If you spot mold forming, do not try to clean-up the problem yourself – contact a plumbing repair expert immediately.