Sewer Line Backups


One of the biggest causes of sewer back-ups is a tree root. Over the years, the trees outside your house that are in direct line with the sewer lines could eventually grow into the sewer lines and create blockage. In many cases, you will need to call a licensed plumber to bring in an electric snake to clear the pipe. The electric snake spins at a speed so fast that it cuts away at the roots and clears the blockage.

Possible causes of sewer line backups include pipes infested with tree roots, pipes that have settled, been crushed, punctured or broken, or even disjointed pipes.

Does your homeowners insurance cover sewer backups?

Contact your insurance agent regarding your coverage. Most homeowner insurance policies will not cover a sewer backup without “sewer backup coverage”. The City will not cover damages unless it was proven that the City was negligent in maintaining its system.

The City recommends you consider obtaining a rider that would cover such damage if it would occur. Sewer backup coverage is usually available for a nominal additional cost on your homeowners insurance policy.

If you don’t have sewer backup coverage, consider adding it. Make sure the amount of coverage is sufficient to cover damages you may incur as the result of a sewer backup. Some policies have a $5,000 maximum; this is not sufficient for a serious problem.

* Do not place grease of any type, diapers, rags or other objects down the drain.
* Instruct your children not to throw debris down manholes.
* Check your trees. Roots from trees could be blocking your sewer lateral.