How to prevent sewer backups – Homeowner Tips

Las Vegas Plumbing Company Addresses Sewer Backups – Common Causes and Prevention Techniques

Sewer backups happen when sewage and/or dirty water come back up a sink, toilet, or tub drain after getting overloaded. There are several causes to sewer backups including clogs, blockages and broken lines. Let’s discuss common causes of backups and preventative measures to ensure sewer backups don’t become your worst homeowner nightmare!

Clogs – Clogs are caused by solid objects that get caught in your sewer line. These can be caused by objects inadvertently thrown into plumbing fixtures like a child’s small toy or by the accumulation of loose hair, cooking grease, or any other solid material that sewer pipes were not intended to handle. 

Hair Clog in Drain

Blockages – The most common cause of a sewer line blockage is tree roots. Even if you have only a few or even no trees on your property, the trees in your neighbors yard could also be the cause of the problem! Tree roots can easily grow into sewer lines that, as a result, will create holes and cracks in the line. Roots can also wrap themselves around the lines and eventually crush them. The best way to prevent root growth in your sewer lines is to replace them with plastic lines. Plastic piping is impervious to tree roots and will not deteriorate over time like cast-iron and clay piping typically do.  If you suspect there are roots in your sewer line, contact Las Vegas Plumbing Inc. and we will run a camera through your sewer line to determine if roots are causing a blockage.

Damaged Pipe Due to Tree Roots

Broken Lines – Older homes and apartment buildings built with cast iron, cement and clay piping will naturally break down over time and the deterioration of these lines will contribute to backups. It is recommended that as these lines become damaged they be replaced with plastic piping. 

How to Prevent Backups

There are several proactive measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of a sewer backup including the following:

  • Never pour grease down the drain! Leftover grease that is poured down the drain will solidify and block your drain – no matter how much hot water you rinse the grease down with. 
  • Only flush toilet paper down the toilet. Baby wipes are not designed to be flushed down the toilet. Even wipes labeled as “flushable” are extremely prone to causing clogs and should never be flushed. In addition, feminine hygiene products should never be flushed down the drain.  Tampons don’t break down like toilet paper (they’re highly absorbent and expand when wet), so they end up causing clogs as well.
  • The easiest and most simple way to prevent hair from getting stuck in the drain is by placing a hair catcher in the drain.
  • Install a lint catcher in your washing machine hose. Lint, fabric and tissue can get caught in your drain hose and eventually block the drain. A lint trap installed at the end of your hose will prevent a blockage of this type from developing. 
  • Never use Drano with PVC pipes! Due to its corrosive nature, Drano can cause toilets to crack, PVC pipes to break, and additionally dissolve the glue that holds the pipes together.
  • Garbage disposals allow an easy and quick way to remove food waste and prevent food odors. But they can wreak havoc on plumbing drain systems when used improperly. Never flush the following down your garbage disposal – coffee grounds, egg shells, bones, fruit and vegetable peels. If any of these items are put down your garbage disposal you may accumulate a pile up of gunky sediment as a result in your drain, thereby increasing the likelihood of a clog.

If you are experiencing sewer backups, contact Las Vegas Plumbing Inc. for an inspection. We will put together a customized proposal to repair blockages in a cost effective and time efficient manner. Let the experts with almost 40 years of experience with Las Vegas residential plumbing save the day and resolve all of your plumbing concerns!