What You Should Do If Your Sewer Backs Up

Seasoned Seattleites know the mess that comes with daily winter rainfall. Aside from muddy shoes, wet clothes, and slippery commutes, the city's sewer system has a tendency to flood and result in new bodies of water being created in low-lying areas. Depending on your location, that low-lying area may be your basement, yard, or storage area. So what's a homeowner or renter supposed to do if their sewer or drain backs up?

If you come home to the smell of rotten eggs or sewer gas, check your home's drains and plumbing for signs of a backup or standing water. You'll want to locate the sewer drain line on your property and find the cleanout. Remove the cap and look for standing water. If you find some, the stoppage is probably in the city's main sewer line, which you'll need to contact them in order to repair the issue.

If there's no sign of standing water, there's a blockage between the house and the sewer, meaning you'll need to deal with it yourself or contact a plumber.

If you choose to go the DIY route, be warned that you'll need some protective gear before you can get started. Rubber gloves, protective glasses, and rubber boots are a must, but you'll also need a sump pump or utility pump. If there are a lot of solids in the backup, a sewer pump may be a better, cleaner option.

Once the water is gone and the blockage is cleared, the cleanup process can begin. You'll want to ventilate the affected area with either dehumidifiers or heavy-duty fans, throw away anything that's been completely submerged, and move the salvageable items away from the work area. Carpets and drywall that have been submerged by sewer water will need to be removed, so cut away all affected materials to prevent mold and mildew growth.

To disinfect the remaining area, use a liberal amount of diluted bleach and wipe down, scrub, and mop the surfaces thoroughly. Then, perform a so-called "deep cleaning" with detergent and water, let dry, then apply bactericide for 15-20 minutes before cleaning to ensure all contaminants are safely removed.

In the event of a mess too big for you to handle on your own, contact Pioneer Plumbing and Heating. Our sewer repair experts are uniquely qualified to handle Seattle sewer problems of any size and scale, so give us a call today if you're worried about your drains this winter.

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