Sewage damage to a home or business can happen slowly over time or very suddenly. There are multiple causes of sewage damage, but the result is the same: a difficult-to-clean mess that can have serious health implications. Sewage in your home or business requires immediate attention and professional cleaning in many cases. Avoid sewage damage by watching out for the most common causes.
1. Seepage from faulty seals. Seals around toilets and in pipe connections can deteriorate over time, and a lot of seepage from these leaks builds up slowly, doing damage beneath floorboards and in walls before you’re even aware of it. Signs of hidden seepage include buckling flooring, stains on ceilings and walls, and an unpleasant smell that doesn’t go away with cleaning. Inspect seals regularly to avoid a hidden leak; if you rent or lease your home or office space, report any signs of seepage to your property manager immediately. The longer a leak goes on, the more serious the damage will be.
2. Burst pipes. A burst pipe can release a sudden stream of sewage into your home, and can happen at any time. Pipes can burst as a result of a blockage, improper insulation during freezing weather, or simple deterioration. Upkeep and careful winterizing of pipes are vital to avoiding a burst sewer line.
3. Flooding. A flood, whether caused by rain or a body of water overflowing its banks, can put too much pressure on the sewer system, causing sewage to back up into bathtubs and sinks. Heavy backup can overflow into your home, resulting in severe damage. If you live in a high-risk area for flooding, look into backup valves and other preventative measures to keep flood waters from forcing sewage into your home. Even low-risk areas can experience floods that cause sewage backup, so precautions are always a good idea.
4. Clogged sewer lines. Flushing the wrong thing down the toilet can result in a sewage backup that can quickly overflow into your bathroom. Blockage in the main sewer line can cause sewage to back up through every sink, toilet, and tub in your home – a problem that is greater than just one overflowing toilet. Avoid flushing anything down the toilet that doesn’t belong, including feminine hygiene products and baby wipes. Clogs in the sewer line don’t always come from the toilet, either. Don’t dump grease down your sinks, and be cautious when using the garbage disposal to prevent clogs.
5. Tree roots. As trees grow, their roots can do a lot of damages to pipes beneath the ground. They can puncture or crush pipes, causing leaks and sewage backup. Keep an eye on larger trees on your property – and neighboring properties as well. It’s best to have an expert examine any trees whose position might be a cause for concern.