What to Do If Your Sewer Backs Up into Your Basement

If your home's sewer line is connected to a municipal sewer system, the potential for flooding during a major storm exists. Since many municipal sewer systems rely on gravity for proper drainage, when too much water is introduced via a storm, the excess can be pushed back up into your home's basement.

Here are three things that you should do if you find sewage water coming up a drain, toilet, or sink in your basement.

1. Turn off the power to your home.

Before you enter your sewage-flooded basement in an attempt to locate the source of the problem, you need to turn off all electrical power running into your home. Any standing water in your basement could serve as a potential source for electrocution if power is still flowing through the wiring and outlets in your home.

By shutting off all the circuits in your home before entering a flooded basement, you will be able to safely identify where the sewage backup is coming from.

2. Quarantine the area.

Contact with raw sewage can be detrimental to the health of your family and friends. If you notice any sewage backing up into your home's basement after a heavy storm, you should quarantine the area to limit access.

Try closing the door to your basement and then sealing it off with a plastic tarp and some packing tape. This will help to prevent curious children or pets from directly coming into contact with the raw sewage leaking into your basement, and it will help to prevent any sewage gases from entering the main part of your home while you wait for a professional plumber to assist you.

3. Install a sewer backup prevention system.

Once you have worked with a professional plumber to locate the source of the backup and clean up any damage that may have been caused in your basement, you should consider the installation of a sewer backup prevention system.

If you live in an area where heavy rainfall is a constant threat, a sewage backup prevention system has the ability to close a series of check valves in your home's main sewer line. When the system detects sewage moving through the line toward your home instead of away from it due to excess water, the closed check valves will prevent this sewage from reaching your home and contaminating your basement.

Knowing what to do in the event of a sewer backup in your home's basement will help you safely and successfully deal with any damage a sewer backup might cause.