Managing Sewer and Drain Backup in the Winter Months

Man repairing kitchen sink at home watching DIY video tutorial online on tablet.

Winter weather in Minnesota brings with it a whole host of issues that can cause damage to your home. Arguably the worst—and by far the smelliest—problem is backed up sewer pipes. Some issues, like flushing non-flushable items or tree root damage can happen during any season. Others, like frozen pipes, are unique winter issues.

Winter Worsens Sewage Issues

Homeowners need to be extra mindful of their sewage system during the winter, as issues are often exacerbated during cold months. Snow can pile on top of sewage vents, hindering the flow of sewage out of the home. While the winter freeze halts tree root growth, it is still possible to feel the effects of summer growth in the cold months, as even a partial obstruction can become a serious issue. Winter damage to septic systems can be extensive depending on the amount of backup from clogged or frozen pipe. It will only worsen the longer it is left untreated, so diagnosing and fixing wnter sewage issues early is key.

Signs of Sewage Backup

It’s important to know the signs of sewage backup. Foul odors coming from the drain are always a bad sign if pouring water down the drain does not solve the smell. Gurgling noises from toilets and draining sinks is another key indicator. Slow draining tubs, drains, laundry lines, and showers are also signs of potential issues.

Preventing Sewage Problems

To protect your plumbing from obstructions, flush only the flushable objects: excrement and toilet paper. While baby wipes clean exceptionally well, they can wreak havoc on sewage systems by clogging pipes and septic systems. A far better option for your plumbing and septic systems are bidets, which rose in popularity during 2020. Bidets are a great way to maintain cleanliness without sacrificing the integrity of your septic system.

It is important to remember that all drains exit the house in combination with each other, so placing large items down the kitchen sink or non-grindable items down garbage disposal can also disrupt septic flow. Also, avoid putting easily cooling liquids like grease and wax down the drain.

The Risks of Ignoring Sewage Problems

In addition to causing the same damages from a water leak, sewage holds additional health risks and an unpleasant smell. Professionals should always be consulted when your septic system is concerned, as bacteria and parasites present within sewage can be harmful to people and pets. Cleanup from sewage damage can be extensive, as all affected elements must be thoroughly treated or removed where treatment isn’t possible.

Professional Assistance

Professional consultations are also a great way to ensure a minor detail like improper vent insulation of your septic system doesn’t cause a major problem. If your sewage system can’t breathe, it can’t flow properly either. Constant vigilance is the first line of winter home maintenance and defense from the homeowner. The earlier signs are seen, the earlier issues can be addressed by a professional like Royal Renovations.

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