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Sewer Back Up

Sewer Back Up | Prevention Tips

A small sewer back-up can be a big concern for a homeowner. Here are some helpful tips to prevent or minimize the effects of most sewer back-up damage.

Indoor

  • Check your walls, floors, windows, and foundations for leaks after a heavy rainfall or a rapid thaw. If you see leaks have them repaired
  • Get a professional to install or inspect a sewer back-up prevention valve, a sump pump with a reliable power back-up, clear drains of roots or obstructions, service your septic system and ensure your drain systems are working properly
  • Remember that sewer back-up prevention valves need to be cleaned annually
  • Consider that sump pumps wear out and have an average life of 10-15 years. If you need a replacement use a higher horsepower sump pump with a dedicated outlet
  • Do not pour grease down the drain or flush objects down the toilet to help keep your drains free of obstruction
  • Repair or replace damaged weeping tile systems
  • Purchase a generator for use in the event of a power failure
  • Store items in plastic storage containers on raised shelving
  • Store important documents and irreplaceable personal objects (e.g. photographs) where they will not be damaged
  • Contact your municipal offices to inquire about possible subsidized programs for eligible homeowners

Outdoor

  • Clear eavestroughs and downspouts of leaves debris at least once a year – late fall is a good time
  • Make sure your downspouts are draining properly – ideally 6 feet away from your home
  • Disconnect downspouts draining directly into the sewer, and extend them 6 feet from your home
  • Consider soft surface landscaping to allow storm water to soak into the ground rather than run
  • directly into the local sewer systems (e.g. increase sodded areas, porous pavements)
  • Be sure the grading around your home drains water away from all exterior walls
  • Arrange to have someone check your property if you are going to be away from home for more than 3 days
  • Consider the installation of rain barrels 

What to do in the event of a sewer back-up

  • Your own safety is your first concern
  • Don’t do anything unless its safe to do so
  • Avoid contact with human waste, dirty water or electrical hazards
  • Turn off electrical power to the affected area, unplug and remove electrical appliances
  • Move furniture or place it on raised blocks to prevent further damage

If sewer back-up damage occurs contact your insurance broker