What to Do If You Have a Sewer Backup
For the average homeowner, a sewer line is just a passageway for the premises’ waste water to be transported from the home to the underground sewer mains. Beyond that, not too much attention is paid to this important home feature unless a clog or backup of some sort occurs.
What are some causes of sewer backups?
It is important to know that while a sewer line clog may be unseen, it can trigger sewer backups that can bring about extensive damage inside a home. In many instances, such water losses may not start out severe, but they may end up causing serious damage because of the delay of cleaning up the water or sewage. Most sewage backups can be traced to solid debris buildup in the pipes due to fat, oil, grease, dirt, hair, paper towel, kitty litter or garbage. Additional causes can include tree root infiltration or structural defects in pipes.
The homeowner is responsible for clearing any blockage in the home’s plumbing system and or any resulting flooding damage to the structure. It is also the responsibility of the homeowner to call a plumber or professional cleaning service to correct the problem.
What can a homeowner do until professional help arrives on the premises?
Generally, if the homeowner takes proper emergency action, a sewer back up may result in no or minimal damage caused by the water. For individuals who understand and respond to the homes’ early warning system, can stave off more serious damage done to the premises. When calling the city staff to come and assess the damage, homeowners themselves can take the following precautionary measures in the meantime:
- If there is a backup, do not flush the toilets or run the dishwasher or laundry machine. Likewise do not have a shower or bath while taking care not to turn on any taps.
- Keep all family members and pets away from the affected area.
- Open windows to permit fresh air to come in. It is important to ventilate the premises to remove any fumes and dehumidify until the area is completely dry.
- Where possible shut off electrical power along with central heat and air systems to prevent the flow from reaching any floor vents.
- To minimize the potential of bacteria or viruses spreading, add small amounts of chlorine bleach to standing water.
- Remove standing water with pumps or pails and then with a wet or dry shop vacuum.
- Put on rubber gloves when approaching items contaminated with sewage. It is strongly recommended to rinse hands with a sanitizer immediately afterwards. Also, raw sewage should never be touched with bare hands.
- Wear protective eye wear, glove, overalls, boots as well as a facemask if needed. Avoid direct contact with sewage material.
- Stay clear of all electrical equipment and do not attempt to change any fuses when standing in water or on damp ground.
- Discard contaminated porous material as soon as possible to prevent the transmission of bacteria. These can include furniture coverings, cushions, carpets, and any particle board furniture. Leave other items in the affected area for the experts to handle.
- Take photos and possibly a video of the damage.
- Call your homeowner’s insurance provider. They may have clean up companies on contract who know how to deal with property damage from sewer backups. Or get in touch with a professional water damage restoration company like Tidal Wave Response in Atlanta.
The cause and the location of the blockage will typically determine who pays the cost of clearing the pipe. Should the problem arise in one of the sewer connection lines to the home, the homeowner is then responsible for paying for the cleanup services.
If a sewer backup is experienced, homeowners located in the Atlanta region can get in touch with our sewage backup and restoration services at Tidal Wave Response. We are an Atlanta based sewage restoration service provider that can look after all your home’s water damage needs. Tidal Wave Response is a timely way to get your home’s water damage needs assessed professionally and restored fully in 7-10 days.
Call us before calling your insurance company because we can work with them directly to get your losses covered.