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How to Prevent a Backed Up Sewer Line in Your Basement


If a sewage backup happens in your basement, finding the root cause is crucial before any repairs can be made. Here’s how to do both!

Diagnosing Your Sewer Problem

In general, there are four main causes of sewer backups in basements:

#1) Tree Roots

Many times, older homes have ageing pipes that have become damaged by tree roots. Roots from your own yard’s trees or a neighbours’ can grow into sewage pipes and result in holes or blockages. Sometimes, tree roots can even wrap around sewer lines and eventually crush them.

Telltale signs of this leading cause of sewage backups include slow flowing drains and gurgling noises from toilet bowls. To confirm this is the case, contact a professional plumber.

#2) Floor Drains

When the house drain under your basement floor fills up with water, a backed up sewer line can result. Typically caused by heavy rain, a mainline clog can occur in the house drain, house trap or house sewer.

Only a licenced plumber will have the tools and experience to determine the right solution when a floor drain is to blame.

#3) Basement Bathrooms

Although a basement bathroom’s tub, shower or toilet are often the first places to notice a backup, the plumbing is normally not clogged. Instead, the culprit is typically located further down – in the drain system. Just like in the case of floor drains, your best bet is to call in the professionals.

#4) Washing Machines and Wash Tub Basins

When a washtub basin backs up, a clogged strainer is typically to blame. This culprit can normally be repaired by homeowners with the help of a plunger or electric snake.

But sometimes when a washtub basin is the lowest plumbing fixture in your basement, a deeper drain system clog or defect will need to be repaired by a professional.

Like a washtub basin, a washing machine backup can normally be repaired by a homeowner. Shutting the machine off and repairing the clog in the drain hose in the same manner as repairing a clogged strainer can usually repair this problem.

Determining the Best Solution

A backed up sewer line in your basement causes more than a foul odour: it comes with its own set of health concerns, too. Sewer gas contains dangerous components including hydrogen sulphide, which can lead to eye irritation, coughing, dizziness and shortness of breath. That’s why it’s important that you call a licenced plumber immediately upon finding a sewage backup problem in your home.

A plumbing professional will know the best solution for your backed up sewer line so that it can be prevented in future. In many cases, homeowners without anyone plumbing knowledge can actually make the problem worse when searching for the cause.

As one of Burlington and Oakville’s leading plumbing companies, McKenna Plumbing can be trusted to prevent or repair your home’s sewer problems. Contact us today for more details.