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Are You Prepared for a Sewer Backup?

While many homeowners assume otherwise, their insurance policies do not cover a sewer backup. However, there is separate coverage available. In comparison with the cost of dealing with the aftermath of a sewer backup, coverage is a true bargain. Homeowners are responsible for repairing and maintaining the portion of pipeline that connects their home with their city’s sanitary sewer main. Since this pipeline is actually owned by the homeowner, any parts of it that extend into the public right of way or street are also included. Working on these pipes is a costly chore, so it is important for all homeowners to know how sewer backups are caused. The following three types of blockages are the most common causes of backups.

Tree Roots Blocking Pipelines
Trees thrive on water, so their roots often gravitate toward cracks in sewer lines. While the growth starts with a few tiny roots penetrating the pipe, they eventually get thicker and expand. They often enter pipelines near the joints, which results in major blockages. Unfortunately, tree roots can eventually span the entire length of the pipe and cause a complete clog. If trees owned by the city are suspected of causing problems, contact their cleanup department immediately. They will often sample the roots to determine who is responsible for cleanup. In some situations, a combination of city trees and privately owned trees are to blame. When this happens, the city and the property owner must split the cost of cleanup and repairs.

Heavy Rains Clogging Storm Sewers
If a sanitary sewer or storm sewer is unable to contain the amount of rain falling, a backup may occur. Water typically enters the home through washtubs, toilets or sump wells in the basement. While damage is most common in the basement, it may occur anywhere in the home. To help avoid this problem, make sure there is a sump pump to drain the water and a generator that will run the pump if the power goes out.

Sanitary Main Blockages
Several types of blockages are possible in the sanitary main. Blockages result in sewage backing up into the home itself. Fortunately, this occurrence is gradual, so there is time to call a plumber before the house is overtaken with sewage. In some cases, there may be a rapid flow of water coming in through the basement. When this happens, it is important to call the city’s public works office immediately.

Each of these events can be very costly. Sewage and standing water can also be hazardous to human health. In addition to this, they destroy nearly every tangible object they meet in a home. A simple calculation of the cost of replacing damaged items and comparing it to the cost of insurance is enough to clarify the importance of adequate coverage. To learn how to obtain protection from sewer backups, discuss available options with an agent today.