Did YOU Know? What Causes a Sewer Backup, and how you can minimize problems in your own home?

Tegner Miller Did You KnowThis 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 information provided in our blogs are very brief overviews that do not provide complete descriptions of any coverage described nor do they list all of the important factors one should evaluate before deciding on a policy. Please speak to your broker at TMIB about your specific insurance needs and for more detailed information about types of coverage.