One of the risks of being a property owner is being responsible for dealing with the aftermath of sewage backups. Quick action and the right tools can help you handle a sewer backup to restore your home.
What to Do When You Find A Sewer Backup
When you flush the toilet or drain a sink, the wastewater flows into your sewer system, which later connects to the public sewer system. If there is a blockage or problem with the pipes, you can find yourself dealing with a backup. The first place most people locate a sewer backup is in the low lying drains in their home, such as in the basement.
It’s important to take the appropriate safety precautions, both to avoid electrocution from standing water and to protect yourself against raw sewage. If you find yourself having to deal with a sewer backup, it is important to act quickly and safely:
- Turn off power to the area. If power cannot be turned off in just the area of the backup, turn off the power to the whole building. Make sure you immediately stop using any plumbing and turn off the water and gas supply.
- Check every drain — toilet, bath tub, sink, etc. — for blockages. If you can remove them yourself, do so, but if you can’t call a plumber.
- Check the sewer cleanout for standing water. The cleanout is usually located on the line between the house and the sewer main connection. Remove the cap and look for water. If the cleanout is empty, the blockage exists somewhere between the house and the cleanout, and the property owner is responsible for the cost of repair. If it is full, the problem exists in the main sewer line, and you should contact the utility company for immediate repair.
Clean Up After A Sewer Backup
If the backup just happened within the past few minutes or hours and the damage appears minimal, you may be able to clean up yourself. However, if the backup happened more than 24 hours ago or there is any risk of sewage coming into contact with your HVAC system, you must contact a professional for sanitary restoration.
If you are able to clean up the mess yourself, be sure to take safety precautions:
- Wear a mask, rubber boots, gloves, and protective eyewear.
- Don’t enter the basement if the power is still on and there is standing water. Electricity and water can kill you.
Anything that has been saturated with sewage such as upholstery, carpets, and even drywall must be removed and thrown away. Plastic and metal items can be removed and disinfected outdoors. Keep in mind that anything that has contacted sewage must be thoroughly disinfected, not just dried off.
Professional Sewer Backup Restoration
To protect your family’s health, it’s best to contact a professional to manage a sewage or water backup. If any duct work has been impacted, there is a high risk of bacteria and mold traveling throughout the home, which must be dealt with appropriately. Contact our 24/7 emergency service line at 866-780-1700 today for immediate, professional cleanup after a sewer backup.