5 Common Causes of Sewer Backups - Z and Z Plumbing

5 Common Causes of Sewer Backups

sewer repair

Waking up to the sight of raw sewer on the floor of your house can be annoying. If not handled at the right time, the situation may cause massive damage to property. A sewer backup occurs when the main sewer line that links the house to the municipality sewer gets clogged. With time, wastewater accumulates in the sewer pipes, causing a backup. Exposure to sewer poses hazardous health risks. 

It may not be easy to detect a sewer that is about to back up. However, you can check up for signs such as leakages on the basement floor, foul odor in the drains, difficulty in flushing toilets, and clogs in the drainage of the house. Once you notice these signs, request sewer repair services. 

Many people don’t give sewer lines the attention and maintenance they need. Some feel it is not their responsibility to repair them until the situation gets out of hand. Have you ever tried finding out what caused your sewer to back up? Find out the common causes in this article. 

1. Tree Roots

Trees complete the beauty of an environment when planted at ideal locations. Trees that grow near drainage systems pose challenges to plumbing as they spread their roots. A once small and well-maintained tree can have roots that extend all over a yard as it ages. 

As the roots grow deeper, they may interfere with sewer lines. Consequently, the sewer lines get pinched, busted, or bent. The damage affects the swift flow of sewer from your house to the municipal sewer. Tree roots are the leading cause of sewer backups. The situation may be fixed by installing new sewer lines.

2. Worn-out Pipes

Damaged pipes often experience drainage problems. A poorly drained sewer line causes accumulation of sewer and, later on, clogging. Pipes might be damaged by tree roots, but also from poor installation. 

Older homes are at a greater risk of experiencing sewer backups due to damaged pipes. With continuous use, the pipes may rust, crack, and deteriorate. If there is a problem with the drainage pipes of a newly built home, it could be as a result of hiring a non-professional. 

Pipes need to be checked and maintained regularly. Currently, many sewer repairs and installations use PVC pipes, which are durable compared to plastic pipes.

3. Clogs

It is recommendable to use drainage systems in the right way in order to reduce the risks of sewer backups. Flushing items such as sanitary towels, baby wipes, diapers, napkins, and large amounts of tissue paper may block a sewer line. Sewer lines should not be used to dispose of garbage. 

Throw non-biodegradable products such as plastic and other solid trash in a trash can. Most clogged sewer lines that we come across are a result of poor garbage disposal solutions. Also, after using a toilet or sink, run enough water to wash the waste down the sewer line.

4. Grease

The accumulation of grease in a drainage system causes a sewer backup. Grease solidifies upon reaching the sewer line, affecting the swift flow of waste. People get misled that pouring hot water into drainage helps to melt down grease. That is purely a myth. 

Grease is a sticky substance and traps even the simplest of things. Grease clogs can happen in the deepest parts of the pipes. It is difficult to deal with them successfully. Avoid pouring grease down your drains, even in its liquid form. 

5. Flooding 

The fact that you leave in the safest of places, far from the risk of flood, is not enough protection from sewer backups that result from heavy rainfalls. Water may fill your sewer line and find its way to your basement. 

A sewer backup caused by flooding can really get out of hand because it brings all sorts of waste from the entire neighborhood. Cleaning up the mess might be worth gold. You may have to pay over $2500 to get sewer repair services. If the drainage pipes are damaged, you may also need to replace them. 


Apart from sewer backups caused by trees and natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes, other conditions can be prevented. Always be keen with what is forced down your sewer. Sewer backups can be irritating. Dodge them by understanding their causes and finding earlier solutions. 

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