Picture this. It’s a torrential downpour once again here in Colorado. Unfortunately, its been repeating the afternoon downpour for several days in a row. Your system simply can’t handle any more. So this new burst of rainwater overwhelms your home’s sewer system or your sump pump. You come home in the evening to raw sewage seeping up through your drains into your toilets, tubs, and even flooding your basement.
Its one of the worst nightmares a homeowner can face. This situation can easily run into the thousands of dollars for repair, impacting your floors, walls, furniture, personal items, structure, and even your health.
Not to worry. A quick call to your insurance agent will get the ball rolling. You’ll be back to normal before you know it.
Or will you?
Many homeowners facing this very situation often find themselves in a bad position. In many cases, a sewer system backup is not covered under the standard homeowners insurance policy, and are not covered by flood insurance. Which means as a homeowner, you are now responsible for the entire clean up process all on your own.
Start by giving your insurance company a call today and see if you are covered if the above event happened to you. Its more common than you think here in Colorado – we see it happen every summer when the rains set in.
Now lets talk about your sewer line.
Most homeowners don’t realize they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the main sewer line – the pipe that runs from your house to the municipality’s sewer main usually located under the street. If any of that breaks, cracks, leaks, collapses, or deteriorates enough to cause problems, you are responsible for the repair.
The most common things that affect a sewer line are:
Aging sewer systems – more than half of our nations sewer lines are over 30 years old. Your system is more at risk the longer your subdivision has been in existence.
Combined pipelines – newer systems combine the sewage and drainage systems for storm water into the same line. During intense storms, these can quickly become overfilled, backing up into low lying areas, including your basement.
Landscaping – those big trees and bushes you love can always be the root of the problem. Shrubs and tree roots search for water, and the sewage line may be the perfect target.
Blockage – if a main is blocked by some outside force, it will cause the system behind it to backup too. If yours is in the path, it can quickly become your problem.
To prevent sewer line backups:
- Dispose of grease, garbage, and other substances in the trash rather than your garbage disposal.
- Use appropriate paper products – flushable wipes, paper towels, diapers, and feminine products should never be flushed.
- Audit your pipes on a regular basis to look for problems that are in the beginning phase.
- Install a backwater prevention valve. They can be installed into a sewer line in the basement of your home to prevent sewer backups.