How To: Tell the Difference Between a Backup and a Backflow

Backups A backup occurs when waste or debris has obstructed a home’s plumbing system or lateral, resulting in clogged or slow-moving drains or toilets. They will normally happen on the homeowner’s property and, unfortunately, the expense and responsibility for repair lies with the homeowner. Most backups can be cleared with drain cleaners or a plunger. If these methods fail, we recommend to just call a plumber. If the plumber finds out that the problem is not in your sewer line, then call your local sewer or sanitation district. A backup usually will not cause damage if you stop using the backed-up sink, tub or toilet until the system is cleared. Just turn off the water. While a backup can cause inconvenience, it is unlikely to cost a homeowner more than a plumber’s call. Some things to always note to prevent backups, though, is not to flush grease, dental floss, paper towels, feminine products, any other materials than human waste & toilet paper. Backflow A backflow is much less common than a backup. It happens when water or waste materials come up through a sink, bathtub drain or toilet when the home’s plumbing system is not  being used. This may mean that the city main is blocked and wastewater is backing up into your lateral line and home causing a backflow.Flooded-Basement If you experience a backflow, call your local sewer or sanitation district immediately. Even if the cause of the backflow damage lies with the city or sanitation district, the homeowner must act quickly to manage the cleanup and destruction to your home. Unlike a backup, a backflow can inflict serious damage, including flooding a room or an entire home. Sometimes, homeowners must move off the property during restoration. The cost of restoration after flooding and the hassle of dealing with insurance can be a major headache for homeowners. If this does occur, documenting all damages to your property from personal property to contents in your home is crucial with photos and videos. We always recommend here at The Twin Plumbers to contact your homeowner’s insurance as well because it adds extra protection against the city sewer public works dept. Well, we sure hope this provided you some sewer smart information. Here at The Twin Plumbers, we love to educate our customers. As always, thank you for reading our blog today and call us anytime for any plumbing service you need!