sewer line

How to Handle a Backed Up Sewer Line

Sewer Line Backups Explained

Few plumbing problems are as unpleasant or as frustrating as a backed-up sewer line. A home’s sewer line – sometimes called a lateral line – carries wastewater from all of the home’s toilets and drains into the municipal sewer main. So when something stops the flow of that wastewater, it can cause sewage to back up out of the home’s drains and toilets. This isn’t just inconvenient and nasty – it’s also a health hazard, as sewage can harbor harmful bacteria, viruses, and gases. 

So, to protect homeowners from the horrors of a sewage backup, this article will explain the common causes of a backed-up sewer line, how the sewer line is repaired, and how to prevent sewer line backups in the future.

Why Is the Sewer Line Backed Up?

tree roots There are several possible causes of a backed-up sewer line. Perhaps the most common is a clog or blockage, often caused by a buildup of solidified grease, food waste, or non-flushable items that have been put down the toilet. Tree roots can also break through a sewer pipe and clog it in their quest for water and nutrients. 

Or, the sewer line may have collapsed or become damaged, causing a sewage backup. This pipe damage is usually caused by shifting soil or pipe deterioration due to old age and wear.
In some cases, the problem can even be traced to a blockage or breakage in the city sewer main.

Ways to Fix a Sewer Line Backup

camera inspection Fixing a backed-up sewer line starts with a plumber diagnosing the cause of the problem. Professionals typically do this using sewer video inspection, which involves feeding a small camera on a long flexible cable into the pipe to identify the cause of the backup visually. If the cause is an obstruction or clog, hydro jet drain cleaning is generally the best solution to clear it. Hydro jetting involves spraying the sewer pipe with high-pressure water.

If the sewer video inspection reveals the pipe is damaged, sewer line repair or replacement will be needed. If possible, professionals will usually opt for trenchless sewer repair, which involves repairing or replacing the damaged pipe without digging an enormous trench in the yard to access the line. Trenchless pipe lining is a common trenchless pipe repair method by which technicians coat the pipe's interior with an epoxy pipe lining that, once cured, seals any cracks and acts as a new, durable pipe within the old one. 

How to Prevent Sewer Line Backups

As impressive as professional sewer line repair methods are, it’s still better to avoid sewage backups altogether. One way to help avoid backups is by preventing one of their common causes, clogs. Preventing sewer line clogs starts with being mindful of what goes down the home’s drains and toilets. Grease and cooking oil, for instance, should always be placed in a sealable container and thrown in the trash bin rather than being dumped down the kitchen sink. And when it comes to the toilets, the only thing that should ever be flushed is toilet paper.

Of course, it’s a little more complicated to protect against things like invading tree roots and shifting soil. That’s why it’s a good idea to have the home’s plumbing inspected regularly (every 1-2 years) by a professional as part of routine plumbing maintenance. Professionals can spot signs of wear and stress in the sewer pipe and catch the emergence of tree roots or cracks before they get out of hand. This allows homeowners to resolve any issues as they arise rather than waiting for disaster to strike!

About Rooter 66 Plumbing Inc.

Rooter 66 Plumbing Inc. has more than ten years of expertise serving Rancho Cucamonga and the surrounding areas. They offer honest, competitive pricing, on-time arrival, and extended hours. Call them today for sewer line services in Hesperia, CA