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The Home Depot

What Causes a Drain Backup?

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Plumbing > What Causes a Drain Backup?
What Causes a Drain Backup?

Whether you are a home owner or a manager of a residential or commercial building, a drain back up is something you would like to avoid at all costs. A drain back is messy, unhygienic, expensive to clean up, and leads to problems with tenants. While no one likes a drain back up, learning the most common causes of drain back up can help you minimize the chances of this happening in your property.


In the event that you have a drain back up problem, the New York City government advises that one should avoid direct contact with the drain water. Wear gloves and boots and wash them with a disinfectant after use. Thoroughly wash yourself with a disinfecting soap and also wash your clothes and any equipment you used during the cleanup. This will help prevent the spread of diseases and infections.

  1. 1.Common Causes of Drain Back Up

    While no one likes a drain back up, learning the most common causes of drain back up can help you minimize the chances of this happening in your property.

    Before you can take steps to minimize the occurrence of a drain back up you need to know the most common causes for this. This will help you take preventive measures that can save you time and money.


    Solid Material: The presence of solid material in the drain can lead to its clogging. This will lead to a backing up of the drain water into your home. Hair, grease, sanitary napkins, disposable diapers, garbage too large for the drain to handle are some of the most common causes of drain blocks in the lateral sewer lines. Ensuring that drains are covered with a fine mesh to prevent these from entering the drainage system can reduce the occurrence of drain backups. Avoid flushing sanitary napkins, disposable diapers, rags, and paper towels to ensure that the drains stay open and free to carry away the waste water.


    Structural Damage: Structural damage to pipes and manholes including pipe collapses, cracks, misaligned pipes, offset joints, holes, sagging pipes, and so on can cause blocks that prevent the free flow of waste water leading to drain backups. Periodically examining the drains and replacing very old clay pipe drains with improved drain pipes can prevent drain backup because of these issues.


    Tree Roots: Roots can enter the cracks and joints of the service pipe and then grow. This causes the pipe to become blocked. The roots can spread causing extensive blocks. Moreover, the roots can crack the pipes as they spread leading to large scale damage of the pipes. Tree roots are attracted to sewer pipes because of the presence of water and methane. The best way to prevent drains from becoming blocked because of tree roots is to frequently cut away the roots that are near the drain pipes. Contact experts in drain maintenance to help you keep the drains near your home free of obstruction. This will save you a lot of money in the long term as your home and its valuable contents will stay safe.


    Flooding during excessive rains: When the water to be drained is more than the capacity of the drain, then there can be back up. This only happens when there is a flash flood.


    Deliberate vandalism: Often, debris, garbage, and other material are found stuffed in manholes. This is done by miscreants who want to cause problems. This causes the drains to be blocked and leads to back up. Vigilance to ensure that the drains near your home are not vandalized is the best way to ensure that you and your family do not suffer from a drain back up because of this.

  2. 2.Preventive Action Possible

    While sometimes, a drain back up cannot be prevented, by taking appropriate action to ensure that the lateral lines from your home to the main sewer are free of blocks, you will be able to prevent frequent drain backups. This will ensure that your home remains a safe and hygienic place and your possessions are not damaged by the backup water.

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