4 Common Causes Of Sewer Backups

When it comes to things you don't want to happen to your home, a sewer backup is likely to rank in the top 5 things you don't want to experience. The amount of damage that a sewer backup can cause to your home can be quite astronomical. One of the first things you should do if you discover that you have a sewer backup is to find out the cause of said backup. Throughout the course of this brief article, you will learn about 4 of the most common causes of sewer backups.


Just like the pipes that make your house their home, your sewer main can also suffer from a clog. A clog so severe that it, in fact, can cause your sewer to back up. If you are finding that it is just one toilet or shower drain that is giving you an issue, chances are, it is just a problem with the pipe leading to that particularly fixture.

However, if you are finding that all of your toiletry related fixtures are creating an issue for you, chances are, a clog is the cause. You can take a preventative stance to sewer clogs by taking several steps to ensure that this issue does not happen. First and foremost, remember that your toilet is not a wastebasket. Do not throw down anything that is not waste tissue down your toilet drain.

Tree Roots

Tree roots are a very common cause of your sewer line becoming backed up, but often times, it is quite difficult to tell if trees are truly the issue. Even if you do not have trees in your lawn, it could be the case that trees from a neighbor's lawn have roots that reach deep into the earth and carry onto your property and lawn, interfering with your sewer line.

There are a number of ways that tree roots can serve to damage your sewer line. They can wrap around the sewage pipes and grow inside of them, causing your sewer to back up or they can grow across the sewage pipes and knock them loose or, in some cases, even crush them. There are a few ways that you can destroy roots that have damaged your sewer and caused it to back up, like flushing with copper sulfate, which will kill off the trouble roots and keep the rest of the tree free from damage.

Old Sewer Line

It is quite common for sewer lines to simply grow old and become fragile. Numerous sewer lines have known to give out under their own weight simply due to the fact that they are old and out of use. While new sewer lines are known to be markedly stronger, older sewer lines are quite weak and can collapse within a few decades of installation. Most sewer lines are now made from plastic, which simultaneously makes them more pliable while at the same time much more resilient. Older pipes were made out of iron and clay, which were subject to rusting and decay. These older pipes can even eventually be absorbed by the earth itself.

Natural Disasters

Natural disasters are known to cause sewer lines to fall out of place and backup your home, causing disastrous results for your ability to use your bathroom. Earthquakes are commonly known to knock sewer lines out of service, rendering them to become unusable, and serving to back up your bathroom in the process. Floods can also cause pipes to become loose or even saturated in such a way that serves to backup your sewage line.

Your sewer line can be a delicate and fickle beast and can become quite easily backed up. The first thing you should do, if this occurs, is to identify the cause of the backup. Hopefully, this article has given you a good idea about some of the most common causes of this phenomenon. If you are having problems identifying and dealing with the problem, call local plumbing companies, such as Two Men And A Snake, to help assist with diagnosis and repair.