What Are Signs of a Sewage Backup?

Gray Plumbing company truck

A backed-up sewage is hazardous and could lead to health issues and be very costly to repair. The longer it takes to fix the situation, the worse the effects and the costlier the price of fixing it. However, you don’t have to go through all that. By familiarizing yourself with the signs of a sewage backup, you are setting yourself up to be proactive which could make all the difference for yourself and your family.

Signs of a Sewage Backup

Foul Smell

This is the first and probably the easiest sign to spot. Sewage backup could cause smells like sulphur, mould to escape and begin to permeate the home. However, it is important to note that not all bad smells could mean you have a sewage backup. A good way to confirm this is to clean up the bathroom and use some elimination tricks like using an air freshener. If this does not work and the situation does not improve, odds are you are dealing with a sewage back up.

Properly functioning sewers are not expected to smell bad. They carry the waste and the smell away from your home and into the sewage backup in the basement before being taken through the pipes into the central collection point.

If you notice smells especially coming from the bathroom, it is important to call for an inspection immediately. The longer you hold off, the worse your issues could get.

A Constantly Overflowing Toilet

Having an occasional backup or overflow is nothing to be worried about. These could be caused by flushing inappropriate items and it could easily be resolved.

However, when you begin to experience backups that seem too consistent or without any explanation it is time to call the plumber. Regular clogs are often signs that your sewage is getting backed up.

Presence of Moulds

For the most part, most houseowners do not associate the presence of mould to sewage backup but they are more connected than you would like to think. And although moulds can happen even when your sewer is operating in perfect condition, dangerous moulds happen when the sewer lines break down and sewage begins to seep into the piping.

This increases the level of humidity and releases bacteria in your house creating the perfect environment for the growth of mould.

The effect of mould on the health should not be diminished and even the smallest patch could leave one with long lasting health issues. When dealing with moulds, clean it up immediately then call a plumber for an inspection.

Slow Drains

if it takes your drains a long time to empty, it could be a sign that there is a buildup in your sewer lines. It could also mean that the sewer lines are either broken or leaking. A common mistake many homeowners make is attempt to use chemical drain cleaners to fix the issues, if the cleaner does not work on the first try, it is unlikely to work on the next tries and an excessive use of cleaners will damage your pipes.

If multiple drains in your home are moving slowly or the same drain gets clogged repeatedly, you should call a plumber for an inspection as soon as you can. Failure to do so puts you at risk of a sewage backup.

Constant Changes to Your Yard

Like the presence of mould, when changes start to happen to the yard, it could be overlooked and not regarded as a serious sign of sewage backup. However, the following are serious signs that could indicate a sewage backup:

  1. Presence of sinkholes

When you begin to notice a gathering of water randomly sprouting in your yard, it could be an indicator of a broken or cracked pipe. Pooled water shows you the exact location where sewage is pouring out beneath your yard. This is also true for sinkholes and marshy patches.

  1. Lush spots:

Another sign of sewer backup is the presence of notable green sections in your yard that did not exist before. These spots will be healthy and will grow quicker than the other parts of your yard which would cause them to stand out.

To know that this is a sign of a cracked sewer line is by noticing isolated lush spots along your sewer pipe. This is because the sewage that has leaked into the soil is rich in the minerals the grass needs to survive.

As soon as you notice any of these issues, call your plumber to schedule an inspection.

Presence of Strange Sounds

If your sewer lines are broken, it could cause your faucets, tub and toilets to make strange sounds. You could notice gurgling, bubbling or other unusual sounds that shouldn’t be present when you flush the toilet or turn on the faucet.

The primary reason for this is because air is present where it should not be and water cannot flow into where it should be. And although these might seem like basic issues, they are signs of a much more terrible issue. You should call a plumber as soon as you notice any of these for an inspection.

Prescence of Cracks in Your Foundation

For most homes, the sewer lines are run close to the foundation and any damage there can affect the foundation. When a leak is not noticed on time, it could erode the soil that is supposed to support the foundation creating an unbalanced foundation full of pressure and weak spots which could cause your foundation to settle or crack.

In most cases, damages to the foundation are very severe and require the services of a foundation repair specialist along with a plumber.

If you fail to do this, you could be exposing yourself to a much more terrible situation where your foundation could be completely compromised.

Sudden Presence of Insects

Like mould and changes to the surface of your yarn can warn you of a sewer backup, the sudden presence of insects and changes to types of animals you see around your home are signs to watch out for.

Rats, and other rodents enjoy sewers and sewage and they often find ways to squeeze through tiny openings as little as an inch. When your pipes are working perfectly, there is no cause for concern but the moment a little crack occurs, it could become a hub for rodents.

An increased presence of rodents around your home where there never used to be any before could be a sign of sewage backup and you need to get to the root cause immediately.

Other insects could also be drawn to your damaged sewer line like sewer flies, cockroaches and palmetto bugs.

The Use of One Fixture Affects Another

If the use of the faucet in your sink causes your toilet to fill up with water, or the use of the washing machine triggers a backup in your sink drain, it is a serious sign of sewer backup.

For most cases, inspecting the toilet is the first step in rectifying this issue because it is usually the weak link and the most sensitive fixture in these sorts of situations. This is not to say that the fault cannot come from another fixture in the house but the toilet is usually the toilet. The blockage is also often caused by a buildup of debris of the presence of tree roots or external materials.

Water Buildup in the Tub

When you begin to experience a buildup of water in your shower or bathtub, it should be a major cause for concern. In most cases, bathtubs are the lowest of the fixtures present in a home sewage backup could affect it first.

Frequently Asked Questions

My sewer line is backed up. How do I get out of this?

The first thing you need to know is you need to act quickly, if your drain is a slow one, do not use liquid cleaners. Instead of this, try to unclog the drain by using a tool that plumbers use to extract debris from pipes. If this does not work, you should call a plumber immediately.

For the more extreme cases, that causes sewage to seep into the home, you should immediately turn off all water supply and possibly electricity if your wastewater is situated near any electrical outlets. Then get everyone out as safely as possible and call a plumber immediately.

No one enjoys having a sewage backup and sewage backup cleanup is no fun either. This is why you need to pay attention to the signs within this article and call you plumber the moment you notice any of these signs. Failure to do so could cause the damage to continue leading to a more costly and time-consuming solution.

For the most part, the ideal sewage backup fix is to call your plumber and have them assess the situation. Avoid using liquid chemicals as it could cause more harm than good and erode your pipes.