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This segment of “Did You Know” tackles a gross but common problem: a backed up sewer. An overflowing toilet can be one of the most maddening calamities you face as a homeowner. The sudden deluge of filthy water flooding your home can be perplexing, overwhelming, and disgusting. This overflow is called a sewer backup, and it can be caused by a variety of malfunctions in your piping, or in your residential sewage system. Below, TMIB has included a list of some of the most common causes of sewer backup, and how to help prevent a back up from occurring.
• Solid items blocking the drain: The most common cause of sewer backup is solid items accidentally or intentionally flushed down the toilet or forced down a kitchen sink. These can include clumps of hair, kitchen grease, or paper products like sanitary napkins or paper towels.
o How do you deal with this?
Don’t put any solids down the toilet or sink that are not supposed to be there. As a general rule, the only paper product you should flush down the toilet is toilet paper.
Never pour grease into the sink. Grease can cling to the inside of your pipes and cause backup over time. Instead, allow it to congeal first and then scrape it into a trashcan.
• Tree Root Obstructions: Overgrown tree roots can wreak havoc on your pipes. Roots can grow through pipes, blocking water and debris as the tree grows. They can also crack or break pipes that come in contact with them.
o How do you deal with this risk?
If you have an old or large tree on your property, you may need to schedule regular checks with a plumber to determine if roots are infiltrating your pipes.
Before you landscape your yard, we suggest doing research on what types of trees are the most likely to cause invasive root problems. Plant trees at least 10 feet from your sewer lines in order to minimize the risk of root obstruction.
While these simple techniques can minimize your risk of sewer backup, many of the causes of blockages are out of your hands. Some blockages can originate in the city sewer lines, while others are the result of storms inundating the sewer.
Unfortunately, many standard homeowner’s insurance policies DO NOT contain sewer backup coverage. If you are concerned about sewer backup, contact your broker at TMIB. We can recommend a homeowner’s policy that will fit your needs. Please call us at 310-828-9662.
The recent earthquake in South Napa is a stark reminder of the importance of earthquake readiness. Earthquakes may only last 10-20 seconds, but can cause millions, if not billions, of dollars in damage.
As time passes, we all become complacent with being prepared for the next earthquake.
Tegner-Miller has put together some helpful ideas so you can be prepared for the next “big one”
• Stock up on at least a one week supply of water, food, and prescription medicine for your family. (Don’t forget to include items for your pets)
• Assemble a disaster kit that has, at a minimum, a flashlight, batteries, first aid kit, blankets, and cash. (ATMs might be affected)
• Create an emergency plan for your family to ensure communication after a disaster. This should include an out of state contact in case local phone service is interrupted.
• Make sure you installed an earthquake gas shut-off valve for your home which everyone in your household knows how to use (and operate).
• Review your earthquake insurance coverage now. Most insurance policies have completely changed from what was available 20 years ago. Do you have adequate coverage?
Now is a good time to review earthquake insurance with Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers.
Your home is one of your largest assets. Make sure you have the right coverage before the next earthquake strikes. Please call us at 310-828-9662 and we will be happy to assist you.