During winter, any number of situations can result in water accumulation or flooding in your home. Pipes can freeze and burst when ice blocks the line and creates increased pressure. An overworked furnace can fail when no one is home resulting in frozen water lines and leaks. Water lines running to washing machines can leak or, in some homes that have their own wells, the internal water reservoir connections can leak as well. Extreme cold, rain and thawing can overtax a sewer system to the point where it backs up. Raw sewage could destroy your home and everything in it. Damages from sewage could cost thousands of dollars. Sewage isn’t just normal water damage. It has bacteria and other dangerous substances that should only be handled by a professional. No one plans to have sewage enter their home but once it has been detected, it is critical to have it remediated as quickly as possible.
Common Causes of Sewage Problems
Solid Flushes – The most common cause of sewage backup is a blockage caused by things like dirt, hair, bones cat litter or grease accumulation – or by flushing of solid objects that are too large for the pipes.
Structural Defects – This includes problems with sewer service lines like holes, cracks, pipe collapses, sags along the line, misaligned pipe and offset or open joints.
Tree Root Infiltration – Tree roots can enter the service pipe at joints and travel a long way, plugging the wastewater flow as it goes. These roots can additionally cause structural defects as they crack pipes when they grow.
Blockage of Sanitary Sewers – A blockage can occur in a city sanitary main and if this blockage is not detected in time, then sewage from the main can back up through the floor drains into businesses and homes.
Flooding of Sanitary Sewers – During heavy rains sewer lines often fill up with water faster than they drain, which can lead to a sewage backup as the water flows back through floor drains causing overflows.
Risks Posed By Sewage Backup
Health Hazards – You can experience vomiting and diarrhea or even contract Hepatitis A if you consume contaminated water or food. You can also get sick if you use items that have been in contact with the sewage without disinfecting them properly first (the viruses are not transmitted through the air but the contaminated pieces can easily get in touch with consumables, kitchen utensils, medicines, toiletries, etc.). Have in mind that touching such articles with bare hands can cause skin irritation or infection, especially if you have cuts or sores.
Mold – Beyond the health hazards associated with exposure to raw sewage, the other dangerous aspect is what will happen if your property stays wet for too long. Black mold is lurking in every environment. Even in ‘dry’ homes, there is a small, safe level of black mold present. But with the introduction of excess moisture, the risk of mold growth to dangerous levels escalates. On average, mold growth begins around 2 days after the sewage backup occurs. That leaves you very little time to respond, and if you don’t the reality is you’ll be looking at a restoration process that will be much more involved and ultimately much more costly.
Fire Hazards – If the water level has reached any plugs, electrical outlets, extension cords, or gas-burning equipment, do not touch anything! Get out of the building immediately and call the professionals as the risk of a fire is enormous. If all your electrical equipment as well as the distribution panel is still safely above water, switch off the power as soon as you detect the problem. Let safety be your top concern: wear rubber boots, make sure that you are standing on a dry surface and that you are not touching anything made of metal (pipes, ladder, etc.), stand on a wooden stool or chair (dry wood is not a good electrical conductor), and shut off the main switch with the help of a dry wooden stick or at least – rubber gloves.
Property Damage – If your property remains under sewage water for long, the damage will be considerable. Flooring and insulation materials that have been soaked up can no longer be used, as well as mattresses, leather products, stuffed toys, and paper products (including books and documents). Furniture that allows deep cleansing can be saved, as well as washable fabrics, but everything you decide to keep must be disinfected and completely dried.
What To Do If You Are Experiencing Sewage Problems
You should never attempt to remove sewage yourself. The risk is too high and there are chances that you will not remove all the danger. Your first move should always be to call a certified water damage restoration company. At Xtreme Home Improvement, we specialize in tackling the messy jobs other companies can’t or won’t deal with. Leave the dirty work to our professionally trained and certified technicians. Our water/sewage damage restoration service process includes the following:
- Timely Inspection and Evaluation of your water or sewage loss
- Emergency Water Extraction
- Setup of Air Scrubber, Dryer, Dehumidifier, etc.
- Monitor Humidity to determine levels of drying
- Providing Water Damage Estimate
- Water Damage Cleanup and Restoration
- Antimicrobials and/or Germicide Application
- Mold Inhibitor Application
- Repairs, Rebuild, or Construction Services
If your home or office has experienced a sewage backup that has spilled waste into your bathrooms or other areas of the property, just call and we can dispatch a crew to your property immediately to help assess the situation and explain what we can do to get the area fully cleaned, sanitized and restored!