What Causes Sewer Line Backups?

Every homeowner will tell you how frustrating sewer backups are, leave alone the effects they can have on one’s finances in terms of repairs or replacements of the system. Usually, a sewer line clogs regardless of the type of establishment or how long the building has been in existence. A sewer backup can result from a problem with a municipal sewer line or your home’s sewer line. Although a sewer line backup can be prevented if the symptoms are resolved sooner rather than later, it is essential to understand some of the leading causes. If your sewer system has been exposed to any of these factors, having a reputable plumbing company in Oella like BFMD, LLC do simple video pipe inspections can help prevent further damage.


The use of multiple cleaning chemicals can result in an insane amount of grease and scum that, when combined with hair, can block your sewer pipes. The soap you use for washing and showering can also affect your sewer system, especially when the particles find their way down the drain.

Tree Roots Growing In The Sewer

This is mainly caused by a damaged pipe in the sewer system that opens up, allowing tree roots to grow inside it. Naturally, tree roots are always searching for nutrients and water, which are abundant in the sewer system. If not noticed early, the root can increase in size and strengthen inside the pipe, blocking all waste water from your home.

A simple root can cause big problems that can lead to the total collapse of the sewer line and massive property damage. Similar to other interventions, sealing or replacing cracked sewer pipes can help mitigate these issues before they get out of hand. 

Cracked Sewer Lines

Cracked sewer repair pipes can be a result of different things. When a hard solid material is flushed down the drain, it can clog the system. A clogged pipe will be under heavy pressure, which can cause it to burst open.  Sharp stones, pieces of glasses, or even plastic can also easily crack the sewer pipe.

Another cause of cracking can be the aging of the pipes. Most manufacturers guarantee 30 – 50 years of efficiency, but the pipes can develop a crack after a long period of use. You should only get the most recent sewer pipes technology that guarantees up to 100 years of efficiency.

Clogged Sewer Lines

In most cases, when you face a sewer backup, the most probable cause is the clogging of your sewer line by items like diapers, cotton, and other flushable items. You can avoid clogging by sorting waste and disposing items to their respective disposal areas, only flushing soft tissue and liquids through your drain. 

This can sometimes apply to liquids that produce scum and grease, especially in soaps, causing them to clog your sewer. As a rule of thumb, make sure you conduct regular checkups at least once per year to establish if your sewer is flushing the right way.

Overloading The Sewer System

This applies if you have integrated your home’s rain gutters into your sewer system. In areas that experience heavy rainfall, the sewer system may become overwhelmed with the extra work of transporting rainwater, resulting in a temporary backup or accelerating the bursting of the pipes.

Exposed Cleanout Lid

When the cleanout pipe outside your house or in the basement is left open, it allows dirt, glass, linen, or even stones to enter the sewer line, thereby cracking the pipe causing your sewer system to collapse. The opening to your sewer should be tightly closed to prevent any unwanted objects inside the sewer line.

Municipal Sewer System

This problem is usually the hardest as it depends on the efficiency of your city in delivering service to its residents. All the drains in your house are connected to a sewage treatment plant where the wastewater is treated and disposed of as necessary.

Whenever this problem occurs, make sure to inform your city or municipality so they can resolve it as soon as possible. In case of any damages that accrue from a delay on their side, the city can be held responsible for the loss and is required to compensate you for lost or destroyed property.

As a homeowner, you are responsible for anything that finds its way into your drain. Maintaining healthy waste disposal habits will go a long way in ensuring your drains never clog. Performing regular checkups can also help resolve any possible damage that might occur.

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