Can you guess the important piece that connects the plumbing fixtures, drains, municipal sanitary sewers and pipes in your home? Yes, it is your main sewer line. What if it gets blocked or stopped?

One of the biggest nightmares of any homeowner is sewer backup. It occurs when an obstruction or damage prevents wastewater from flowing through your lateral sanitary sewer line. As a result, it continues to fill your sewer lines and drain pipes.

Eventually, the main sewer line can collapse or get clogged. Thus, needing serious repairs or replacements. Being a smart homeowner you need to understand the main causes of sewer backups.

Dry Effect Clogged Drain

Generally, sewer line backups are caused by one of the following reasons:

Severe Pipe Damage:

Since sewer pipes are made of PVC, cast iron or clay, they may get ruptured. If your sewer pipes are damaged or broken, the sewage won’t be able to drain properly thus resulting in frequent sewage backups. The sewer pipes can get damaged due to the following reasons:

  1. Corrosion of an older pipe.
  2. Heavy use of construction equipment, increased traffic or soil shifting
  3. Broken seals between the sections of pipe.

You must repair or replace your sewer pipe if it cracks or collapses.


It is one of the most common causes of sewage backup. Clogs in either your home’s drain pipe or city’s main sewer are responsible for blocking the sewage. Clogs can come from draining of cooking grease/oil, hair, or any other solid material that these wastewater pipes are unable to handle.

If it is just one sink, toilet, or tub that is frequently causing a problem, it may just be a clog in that particular drain. If every flush in your home is creating a sewage backup, there is likely a blockage in the main sewer line.

You can prevent these clogs with regular maintenance. Here are a few useful tips to keep your sewer line clear.

  1. Never pour grease down your drain. It can harden within your plumbing, thus, collecting debris and creating a resolute clog.
  2. Don’t flush facial napkins, tissues, diapers and other waste down your toilet. It is the prime reason for creating clogs.
  3. Utilize your garbage disposal wisely. Avoid discharging large amounts of anything down your garbage disposal that can clog your sewer line.

With just a little care and by being smart, you can prevent these clogs.

Growing Tree Roots in Sewer Pipes

Another reason for sewer backups is tree roots. While growing, trees and shrubs look for sources of water. Even if there are no trees directly above your sewer line area, neighboring roots yards can be the cause of your sewer problem.

As tree and shrub roots grow, they search for sources of water. If they find space onto a sewer pipe, they will start growing into the pipe to reach the water inside. Over the time, these roots can expand over time and can cause the line to break.

Once the roots are grown into your sewer lines, the only way to repair them is via cutting down the roots and then repairing or replacing the pipe.

Preventing Sewage Backups

You as a homeowner should keep a check on the following things to prevent sewage backups:

  1. Never wash cooking oil or grease down the drain
  2. Consider installing a backwater prevention valve
  3. Flush toilet paper only (Nothing Else!)
  4. Ensure that there are no illegal plumbing connections to your city sewer line.
  5. Install a backwater prevention valve

If you need any help with water restoration, black mold removal or foundation crack services, contact Dry Effect!



About Lisa McIntyre

Lisa McIntyre has always resided in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. She graduated from University of Cincinnati with a degree in Applied Science. Ultimately, her passion for science and teaching came to fruition after her husband requested her assistance in developing Dry Effect Restoration Services. She was able to develop her knowledge, degrees and certifications further in many indoor air quality associations and organizations. Thus allowing her to educate Realtors and Insurance Agents on the damages that many common indoor air quality irritants and water bacterial growths can lead to in ones home or business. Over 10 years later she’s glad to have taken the leap of faith to assist her husband what seemed to be a fun project into a lifetime achievement and to see the individuals she teaches prosper from their newly found knowledge.

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