If you’ve ever experienced sewage in your basement, you know what a terrible situation it can be. And if you haven’t, be glad, because it’s just the beginning of problems that are going to last for months.
We’ll get this out of the way first…one way to prevent many instances of sewage backing up is to to have regular preventive sewer cleaning. If you keep the roots and clogs in your sewer pipe under control, it’s less likely you’ll experience the horrors of sewer backup.
So what should you do when you head to your basement and realize that there’s sewer water in your basement?
Don’t Jump In!: Okay, that might sound obvious, but if it’s ankle-deep some people put on their waterproof boots and step in to try to find the source of the problem. The number one reason you shouldn’t do this is because the water could be carrying an electric current if it’s reached any wall plugs. The safe level is even lower if you have plugged-in electronics that are sitting on the floor or carpet.
Instead, shut off the power to the basement. If this isn’t possible (for instance, if your electrical box is in your basement) call an electrician.
Open a window!: First of all, it’s going to stink and sewer gas can be noxious. Second, it will help reduce the chance of an airborne virus affecting you. Finally, it might have knocked out the pilot light and damaged your furnace or you water heater, so you’ll want to prevent the chance of explosive natural gas building up.
If you do walk around: If you’re intent on getting to the backup to investigate, make sure that you clean your footwear and anything else that come into contact with the water in a bleach solution. Do the same to any plungers you use.
Put on latex / rubber gloves: Some of your are going to want to try to fix the problem before you move onto the next step (calling Garvin’s Sewer Service), so if you do interact with it at all make sure to wear waterproof, protective gloves. Horrible diseases living in the water can enter through cuts in our hands (and your eyes and mouth, so wear eye protection and put on a surgical / dust mask).
Call Garvin’s!: No doubt about it, you’ve got a problem. And the best way to get life moving again is to call the experts, and we’re here 24/7/365. We know the best way to get your sewer line moving again, and can help you with the standing water. If your sewer drain doesn’t respond to typical rooter service, we can also send down the sewer scope (aka sewer camera) and see exactly what’s causing your problem.
Call your insurance and restoration company: As we’ve written about before, most standard insurance policies don’t cover water damage or a backed up sewer. If you’ve had the foresight to get such insurance, give them a call. Once we’re done, you can start with the restoration company as well.
A sewer backing up is a horrible thing, but we’ll leave you with one bright note. As bad as it is, remember that most of the water leaving your house is from washing machines, showers, and sinks. While you have to avoid the water on the microbial level, there’s not much chance you’ll encounter a whole lot from your toilet.
As we said, preventive maintenance can be a great step to keeping roots out of your sewer drain pipes, and being alert to sewer problems can help prevent sewer backups before they happen. Give Garvin’s a call at the first sign of trouble.