One moment that can incur panic in anyone is when you go to flush the toilet, and instead of flushing, the water begins to rise and spill out of the bowl. Grabbing the plunger is the quickest way to try and stop the issue, but, sometimes, there is an underlying cause that needs the attention of a plumbing professional. It may be due to a backup in your main sewer line, which can be a complicated issue to diagnose and repair.

A huge note of importance: if you experience raw sewage seeping back into your home, leave and let a professional handle that for you. Raw sewage can pose many health risks, especially if you’re not trained in the proper methods for cleaning it. If your main sewer line is backing up, it could be caused by something completely preventable. Here, you can learn about some of the reasons your main sewer line keeps clogging and what you may be able to do to prevent it.

Sewer clogs can be prevented most of the time.

Many times, a sewer line ends up getting clogged because of something you or your family is doing inside the house. While it may seem convenient to pour certain things down the drain or flush items other than toilet paper, the fact is that nothing should ever be flushed except for toilet paper and waste, and there are items that should never go down your drain. Some of the common causes of sewer line clogs that are preventable include:

  • Flushing wipes or kitty litter: Yes, some wipes may say that they are flushable, but they don’t disintegrate in water as quickly as toilet paper does. Those wipes can build up over time in the pipes and create a clog. The same goes for kitty litter, which can also contribute to the clog and create a blockage that only a plumber can remove.
  • Pouring grease, coffee grounds, and other food down the drain: Just because you have a garbage disposal, it doesn’t mean that everything can automatically go down your sink drain. In fact, substances such as grease, fats, and coffee grounds can make a bad clog in your main drain.
  • Washing hair down the drain: If you shed a lot, as many of us do, it can be tempting to just wash your hair down the drain while you’re in the shower. But this can also contribute to clogs, especially when there are already other substances in your pipes.

Sometimes, a clog may happen through no fault of your own. For example, tree roots may pierce into the sewer line and block it. If this happens, you may need, not only a plumber but also a tree specialist to come to remove the tree so that you don’t end up with another blockage and potential health risk.

Don’t use a store-bought drain cleaner.

If you do realize that you have a clogged sewer line or pipes, it may be your first instinct to run to the store and buy drain cleaner there. However, this will likely do more harm than good, especially if you use it repeatedly. Those cleaners are made up of harsh chemicals, as they need to be to dissolve the clog. Those harsh chemicals also sit in your pipes and can weaken them over time. They also only put a band-aid on the problem and don’t fix it permanently. Instead of doing this, reach out to a local plumber who will use their training to properly diagnose the cause of the backup, using camera inspection techniques and specialized tools to remove the backup and get your sewer line in working order.