What to Do: Drainpipe Back Up

Water that doesn’t drain from your shower, sink, or toilet is never an issue you want to deal with, but life happens regardless of your wishes.

If you treat your pipes with respect, you can avoid backup internally, but sometimes, it is municipal pipes causing your issues. So, what do you do then? Is there anything you can do before a plumber arrives?

What Causes Pipe BackUps?

When a drain line gets blocked or breached, water is almost guaranteed to back up into your home. After all, you can’t see a clog until it becomes an issue. However, damage can be reduced by spotting the signs early.

Backups can be caused by a multitude of reasons and only gets worse when the main drain line is the source of your problems.

Common BackUp Causes

  • Flush non-soluble items
  • Dilapidated pipe or sewer systems
  • Sewer line overload from storms/floods
  • Tree roots
  • Blockages in city sanitary mains
  • Sump pump failures

How Do You Prevent Backups?

1.     Flush Only Approved Items

You shouldn’t treat your toilet like a garbage disposal. Items that don’t belong in your drains, such as diapers, wipes, and personal hygiene products, can build up over time and cause serious damage to your home.

2.     Save Your Kitchen Sink from Food

It is best practice to use a sink screen in your kitchen and only flush toilet-related items in your household. Utilize compost and trash bags for grease or food items that might find their way into your drainage systems.

3.     Install a Backwater Valve

Having a professional install a backwater valve (sometimes referred to as a backflow valve) can reduce the likelihood that sewage will flow into your home. Working as a one-way exit, a backwater valve allows your toilet, sink, and other drains to flow outwards from your home, while the flap on the valve closes for any liquid or waste coming from the main sewer system.

Backwater valves will not stop backups within your property.

What to Do When Pipes Back Up?

Pipe backups can be gross and are the last thing any homeowner wants to face. Sewage can be odorous and contain harmful pathogens, so it is best to act immediately upon detection. Calling a 24/7 emergency plumber should be your first step, but if you have the tools and know-how, you can do a few things to save your pipes some trouble.

1.     Diagnose and Clear Blockages

If you have found a water backup, check all of your sinks, toilets, and wastewater pipes to locate any internal blockages on your property. Avoid the use of your toilets and sinks until you can locate the issue.

If you find that the block is only on one of your drains, you can likely use a plunger to unclog the issue.

If multiple drains and toilets are backed, it is likely that the sewage line or the city’s mainline is the source of the blockage. When this happens, contact a qualified plumber or wastewater professional immediately.

2.     Safety Steps

When a basement becomes flooded, serious dangers can arise. For most homes, electricity shut-offs will be found in the basement, exactly where sewage backups start to pool. As well all know, electricity and water do not mix without consequences.

If there is standing water present, do not enter your basement until the power is off. If the shut-off for your power is in your basement, you will want to contact your electrical utility for help.

3.     Record the Event

Having detailed records of what got damaged during a pipe backup is integral information for your insurance provider. Not all home/tenant insurances will cover backups, but most homeowners won’t have their insurance documents on hand when standing water is detected, so record your experience just in case.


Drainpipe and Sewage Backup Professionals

Having sewage come into your home is not an issue we recommend dealing with by yourself. Having a professional plumber on site will likely end up saving you time and valuables within your home.

Plumbing Medic Ltd. has been serving Central Ontario for years and can help repair your home after a backup. From updating old pipes to excavating tree roots, we can future-proof your property to ensure backup protection as well as clean any plumbing damage that has occurred.

Just give us a call and the Plumbing Medics will ensure your home is up to code.