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Most homeowners never think of their sewer lines until they don’t function properly. Since they are out of sight, they are often out of mind. But when there is a sewer line backup, it is indeed one of the most frustrating plumbing problems to deal with. Sewer line backups are messy and can affect your entire house really quickly. Most importantly, they can be dangerous. Sewer line backup can result due to a multitude of causes, and once you are aware of these causes, it will be easier for you to prevent and deal with a sewer line backup.

In this post, we look at 4 causes that lead to sewer line back up. You can also find out about some easy and quick fixes that can clear most blockages.

Causes of Sewer Line Backup

Drain Clogs 

Perhaps the most common cause of sewer line backup is drain clogs. If you have a slow-moving drain in your kitchen or bathroom sink or you hear a gurgling sound when you flush the toilet, know that you have a clogged drain. And sooner or later, your clogged drain would lead to sewer line backup.

But the best part about drain clogs is that they are avoidable. Moreover, they don't develop overnight. Know that your sewer pipes are usually about six inches in diameter, and it would take a lot of time and material to clog them.

By keeping a check on what goes down your drain, you can significantly reduce the risk of clogs and eventually sewer line backup. Some of the common culprits that are likely to clog your drains and toilets include:

  • Grease
  • Hair
  • Baby wipes
  • Feminine sanitary products
  • Paper towel and
  • Cotton swabs.

Tree Roots

Another common cause of sewer line backup is tree roots. Over time, tree roots can find their way into your home's plumbing system. Moreover, tree roots can grow and wrap around pipes and may even crush them to access the water that flows through the pipes. But since it does not cause any immediate inconvenience, the problem often goes unnoticed until you have a sewer line backup.

The process of tree roots getting into your plumbing system is known as root invasion and often starts when there is a small crack or hole in your pipe. The tree roots then find their way inside the pipe to access water.

Fortunately, like all plumbing problems, tree root invasion in your pipes and the resulting sewer line backup are preventable. Through regular inspection by a professional plumber, you can find out about the exact details of your pipe's condition. Moreover, you can also determine if there is a growth and invasion before it leads to damage to your pipes and resulting backup.

Blockages in Main Sewer Line

While your home and what you put down the drain is often responsible for a sewer line backup, what others put down the drain can also affect your plumbing system. Over time, in the absence of regular maintenance, it is common for main sewer lines to block. When there is a blockage in the main sewer line (that is owned and maintained by municipal authorities), that can also lead to back up in your home.

Unfortunately, in case of a blockage in the main sewer line, your entire plumbing system of the house is likely to get affected. This type of problem is a common occurrence, especially after the rainy season. And when such not-so-great things happen, it is best to shut down all water supplies of your house and cover all your drain opening with material that can absorb water, so there is minimal damage to your property and belongings.

Collapsed Pipes

For homes and cities with old installations and infrastructure, it is common for the plumbing system to collapse. And when your sewer line or the main sewer line collapses, sewer line backup is often the only outcome.

Again, you can prevent this cause of sewer line backup. By regular inspection of your plumbing system by a professional plumber, you can stay updated about your pipes' health and replace any old fixture before it breaks down.

Quick Fixes for Common Sewer Backup Causes

Now that you are aware of the causes, you are better equipped to deal with the situation before professional help arrives. Know that a sewer line backup is an emergency as the problem can quickly affect your entire property and cause many inconveniences. As soon as you notice that your drains are backing up, call a professional plumber as soon as possible and meanwhile, you can try the following fixes.

A Plunger is Your Best Friend

A plunger is often the first choice when you notice a clog or slow-moving drain. From toilets to sinks and bathtubs, you can use a plunger anywhere, so give it a try while your emergency professional plumber is on the way.

Try Chemical Drain Cleaners

While the use of chemical drain cleaners is often not recommended for clearing clogs, it is something you can try in case of an emergency. Chemical drain cleaners may prove to be effective in clearing out blockages from your bathtub and bathroom sink. For best results, remove as much of the water as possible from your sink or tub before using drain cleaners. Moreover, it is best to go for enzyme drain cleaners. They may take a little longer to produce the results, but they are relatively safe for your plumbing system.


If you have a sewer line backup due to a clogged drain, you can try an auger. By using an auger, you may not dislodge the clog, but you can certainly push it forward and may end up getting your clog moving.

For Best Results

As mentioned earlier, sewer line backup is an emergency plumbing situation, and it is best to call a professional plumber as soon as possible. They have the tools and equipment to identify the exact cause of the backup, and once the cause is identified, they can deal with the backup in no time.

For emergency plumbing services in Arizona, call Mesa Plumbing now. With a highly trained staff, we can deal with all your plumbing emergencies in no time. To find out more, call now at 480-832-1660.

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