Summer vacation season will be here before you know it. While most of us look forward to escaping the daily grind for a week or two, homeowners know all too well that worry and anxiety can tarnish an otherwise peaceful trip. Certainly, it’s very normal for homeowners to worry about damage to their home while they are not there to protect it.
Some of the most common worries include burst pipes, leaky roofs, and overflowing gutters. Though less common, sewer backups can also happen, leading to extensive damage and to complicated homeowners insurance claims.
And even if you have robust coverage in place, you can save yourself lots of money and plenty of hassle by ensuring your home is properly protected against potential sewer backup problems. A few simple preventative steps can provide great peace of mind.
What is a Sewer Backup?
Just to clarify our terms, a sewer backup refers to any instance in which subsurface water comes back up through your sewage or drainage pipes, entering your home through the toiler, shower, or sink.
A number of factors can contribute to a sewer backup, including deteriorated pipes, tree roots clogging your pipes, or the improper disposal of items such as oil, grease, and toilet paper. Poor upkeep of your municipal sewer system may also be a culprit.
While some of these factors are outside your control, others can be averted through a few basic maintenance steps.
How to Prevent Sewer Backups
To minimize your risk, we recommend:
- Make sure that you only flush toilet paper, no other toiletry items. Sanitary products, for example, do not belong in the toilet!
- Monitor your tree growth and call in a professional if you think a tree root might be getting too close to your sewer lines.
- Avoid planting any new trees or bushes close to your sewer and drainage pipes.
- Never put grease, fat, or oil down the drain, including your garbage disposal. Allow these items to congeal, then toss into the trash.
- Line or replace any old piping.
- Make sure you have proper exterior cleanouts and drains.
- Hire a professional plumbing company to inspect your drains once every year or so, and to make any recommendations regarding drain cleanings.
By following these few steps, homeowners can significantly reduce their risk of sewage problems while they’re out of town, allowing them to enjoy their vacation without having to worry too much about potential homeowners insurance claims.