How to Prevent a Sewer Backup

A sewer pipe is leading into a sewer grate in the street.

Preventing a Sewer Problem

You probably don’t think about your home’s sewer system all that much — it’s not in direct view and handles things so regularly that you forget about it. But when a problem emerges, it can wreak havoc on your home infrastructure and cause stress for you. Here’s how to adjust your home habits to try and avoid a backup.

What is a sewer line?

Your home’s sewer line is a pipe that runs between your home and either a municipal or private sewer system underground. It removes wastewater from your home that comes from sinks, toilets, showers, and washing machines.

While the local municipality generally maintains the shared parts of the system, the piece between your home and the central hookup is yours to take care of.

Why do backups happen?

There are many reasons why a backup may happen, but there are a few we see often.

Tree Roots

As trees dig their roots deeper and deeper into the ground, they may eventually find your sewer line. If there are existing cracks or openings, it’s easy for the roots to enter and grow, eventually causing a leak. Or if they grow large enough, they could create a blockage in the line.


Even if you’ve taken good care of your sewer system, the pipes do not last forever. If you know your sewer lines are old, also know that they are at greater risk for failure. It may be a good idea to have your pipes inspected by a professional plumber to see their condition.


Just because a sewer line can remove waste from your house, it does not mean you can put anything down the drain. Putting non-liquids down the drain like coffee grinds, food, or eggshells can create blockages in the sewer line. Also, fats like oil and grease solidify when cooled, creating a clog if poured down the drain.

How can I prevent a backup?

Know what to look for

There may be some small indicators that a blockage has occurred. Look for any slow drains or backed up waste. A more serious sign is waste flowing back into your home. If this happens, call a plumber right away.

There are external factors that could cause a backup as well. Flooding that integrates with the sewer system can cause waste to back up into your home. If you sense a clog, but your lines were inspected by a plumber who couldn’t find any issues, it could be a problem with the mainline controlled by the local municipality.

Discovering any of these issues before they get worse is the key to preventing a large-scale crisis from happening.

Treat your pipes better

Only put things down the drain that belong. Here’s what you should avoid:

  • Oil
  • Grease
  • Coffee Grinds
  • Egg Shells
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Hair
  • Chemicals
  • String Vegetables

Another way to give your pipes better treatment is with a sewer pipe coating. This helps prevent corrosion, improves water flow, increases the life of your pipes, and more.

What if it’s too late?

Even after taking proper precautions, a sewer line can still back up. If you notice this happening, don’t panic — call a local emergency plumber. For small clogs, don’t try to use chemical cleaners, since they can cause damage to your pipes, further increasing your risk. Call a plumber to take a closer look and recommend further action.

If wastewater is actively flowing into your home, again, don’t panic. Call an emergency plumber, and don’t use your plumbing until it has been deemed safe to do so.

Sewer Repair in Moorpark

Our priority is to get plumbing repairs done fast and right the first time. Call Fix It Fast Plumbing Heating & Air at (805) 600-2330 24/7 to solve any sewer line problems at your home.