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Drain Pains: 5 Things That Cause Your Main Drain to Back Up

Things That Cause Your Main Drain to Back Up

A main-drain backup is one of the worst things that can happen to your home’s plumbing system. When your sewer lines back up, you are at significant risk of water damage along with dangerously unsanitary conditions. 

You can take certain measures to reduce the risk of main-drain backups, but some factors are out of your control. In the following cases, you should call plumbing specialists for assistance.

Tree Roots

Tree roots can cause a severe backup in your main drain, and you can’t fix this type of blockage with simple drain cleaning practices. As a result of tree root damage, you may need to repair or replace sections of your sewer line.

How exactly do tree roots do so much damage? Well., your main drain runs to underground sewer lines. Tree roots also grow below the ground, extending outward from the tree to carry water and nutrients. When water is limited, roots multiply quickly to find an available water source.

If your pipes have even microscopic cracks, roots can and will grow through them. Over time, as the roots grow larger and larger, they can create blockages and even burst the line altogether. 

This source of main-drain backup is undoubtedly one of the most challenging to fix, which is why you’ll want to do your best to prevent it ahead of time.

Flushing What You Shouldn’t

Your main drain is designed to handle human waste and toilet paper, but not much else. Toilet paper breaks apart easily, practically dissolving in water. Even then, significant amounts of toilet paper can cause backups on occasion.

Some non-flushable items that many people often flush anyway are the following:

  • Napkins
  • Paper towel
  • Baby wipes
  • Personal hygiene products

Basically, anything that isn’t toilet paper shouldn’t go in your pipes. The items listed above do not break up as easily as toilet paper. Some don’t break up at all. 

Even wipes marketed as flushable aren’t suitable for flushing. These items are much more durable than toilet paper and will lump together in your pipes to form an impenetrable clog. For that reason, they must go in the trash, not the toilet.

Collapsed Sewer Line

Over time, or due to plumbing incidents, your sewer line can collapse. If this happens, dirt will fill the line, and nothing will be able to pass. The only solution is to replace the broken section of the sewer line.

Most commonly, sewer lines collapse in older homes. Older lines were cast iron, clay, or cement, and these materials all corrode, leading to an imminent collapse.

Today, most sewer lines are plastic. This material is highly resistant to corrosion.

Offset or misaligned pipes can also cause a sewer line to collapse. These conditions are brought on by tree root growth that pushes pipe sections apart (as we discussed earlier). Significant pressure from new structures can also lead to misalignment that will eventually collapse the line.

Grease and Other Food Waste

Fats, oils, and grease can lead to major clogs in your main drain. The clog may not happen as soon as you clean off that greasy bacon pan in the sink. It can be a gradual process that takes place over many years, with deposits building and narrowing your pipes. Eventually, the collection of fatty deposits blocks the line entirely and causes a backup.

You’ll need professional drain cleaning services to remove these deposits as they firmly cling to the pipe walls. Keep in mind there doesn’t even have to be a total blockage for a clog to form. Try your best not to put any grease or fatty waste down the drain. 

Heavy Rainfall

Main-drain backups can be a seasonal issue caused by heavy rainfalls and snow melts. Why is that? Well, the water from heavy downpours and snowstorms travels through the municipal sewer system. Your sewer lines drain into this system.

When the municipal system is backed up, there’s nowhere for your home’s sewer lines to drain, so they back up, too. A home drain cleaning isn’t going to provide much help in these cases.

Our advice? For your own safety, avoid flooded or affected areas while the sewer is backed up. You’ll have to evaluate the damage and try to clean up once the municipal systems allow your sewer lines to drain.

Professional Drain Cleaning Services

If you’re looking for drain cleaning near me in Derry, NH, Paul the Plumber delivers the highest quality service. We can handle any of your plumbing needs, including 24/7 emergency services and an affordable drain cleaning service. Contact us today for reliable plumbing services.