The rainy season can cause a number of problems for homeowners, including sewer backup. What happens if a sudden downpour or especially ferocious storm leaves you with inches or feet of water – potentially waste-water – in your basement?
Here’s what you can do:
First, it’s important to understand why these backups occur. Heavy rains mixed with other factors in your neighborhood can lead to disaster. For instance, if you live near a grassy area that was recently paved or formerly vacant land that’s under development, you should be on the lookout for problems if it rains harder than usual.
Protect Your Home from Danger
Next, if a backup does occur, realize you aren’t dealing with the usual type of flood. The water from a sewer backup can bring hazardous materials into your home, so you’ll want to take every precaution possible to keep your family and your home safe.
Never move into a flooded area if there is any chance a live electric current is present. This can be fatal, so don’t even risk it. Also keep in mind flooding can cause a pilot light to go out on a nearby appliance, which can cause gas to leak into the air. If you detect even the slightest smell of gas after a flood, call your utility provider immediately.
If the flood came from city sewer water, there actually isn’t much you can do to remedy the problem other than wait it out. Once the rain ends, the water level should return to normal and the water in your home will drain. Of course, you’ll need to deal with the cleanup, but as far as the water backup, it should recede on its own.
If you suspect your home is at risk for a sewer backup, make sure your trap plugs are tightly fitted to filter any sludge and debris from flood waters that pour into your home.
It’s also possible to have a backwater check valve installed if the house sewer is for sanitary use only. This can prevent water from flowing backward and prevent sewer backup from the public system. It will need to be cleaned twice per year, which is something you can do or you can contact a plumber to take care of.
A backwater check valve should be cleaned every 6 months to a year, a task easily performed by a non-professional by removing a few screws. No special tools or skills are required for maintenance on a backwater check valve.
If you’d like to know more about whether a backwater check valve could help you prevent damage in your home or you have other questions about your home’s plumbing system, give us a call!