Common Causes of Sewer Backup

There are several common causes of a sewer backup, which is when the sewer drain backs up into the drains of your home. Signs that indicate this include gurgling sounds and drains draining very slowly. This happens to multiple drains in the home. If a single drain is backing up, a plunger and a little muscle work will solve the problem. But if it happens to multiple drains, the problem is a sewer backup.


What are the common causes of sewer backup?

Yes, these are one of the major causes of sewer backup. The sewer drain is one big drain and is very prone to clogging. If you are careless in using the drains, your sewer line can likely be prone to clogging that can cause a sewer backup.

Therefore, avoid flushing down things like nappies, paper towels, tissues, and menstrual products into the toilet because these items can clog the toilet drain. Do not flush out baby wipes as well because these items do not disintegrate with water and are not degradable. They will only cause a clog if you flush them down the toilet.

Be, also, careful in using your garbage disposal system. Prevent clogging the disposal by putting minimal amounts of food wastes as you dispose of them. Never pour grease and fat down the drains because this will only cause clogs. They harden and become difficult clogs to get rid of.

Clogging the drains can clog the sewer itself and later cause backups. If you need help with any kinds of clogs, talk to us and we will send a professional plumber to fix the problem for you before they turn into a major sewer backup problem.

Tree root invasion
Tree roots are obstructions from nature. This is usually experienced by older homes and to resolve the problem it is best to call the professionals to solve it.

If your sewer line is above tree roots, roots may eventually grow through your lines. The roots may not be your trees’ but they could be your neighbours. Clay pipes can be easily broken by tree roots. If you have clay pipes in your home, contact a professional to replace them with PVC or concrete pipes. These will more likely hold off the roots and prevent sewer backups.

Collapsed sewer line
When a sewer line collapses backups are likely to happen. It usually happens to older homes because older homes have lines that are made of cast iron or clay. These materials have a tendency to break down over some time.
When this happens to your home, we highly recommend that you call a professional plumber to solve and fix the problem. A pro will help repair the problem quickly, and safely.


Temporary backups are usually caused by heavy flooding in an area. They are not predictable and are difficult to stop. Backups are usually experienced after an intense rainfall. Once the sewer gets flooded with a lot of rainwater, the water escapes into your home drains.

We recommend that you call a pro to help you prevent further damage and normalise the home’s plumbing system.

Acts of vandalism
The conditions we have mentioned may be caused by vandals. Acts of vandalism can damage your pipes, and flood the pipes. Trash and sticks thrown into the sewer can cause a build up and cause a backup. Call a professional to see if the problem was created by vandalism or not and give you a peace of mind and a restored sewer plumbing.

Deteriorated Pipes

When pipes are old, they rust, break and cause a sewer backup. Pipes get old and deteriorate in the process but you can prevent this from progressing to blockages by contacting a pro to repair the problem and replace any problematic pipes in your home.

Plumbing connections that are not authorised Backyard drains, DYI sump pumps and other drain systems that connect to a sanitary sewer line are illegal because they can clog sewer lines. Never have them to avoid paying fines and cleaning backups. Call a pro to address drainage issues and repair problems immediately.

Poor maintenance of catch basin. The catch basin catches large floating debris from the home’s water run-off. A blocked catch basin will prevent the flow of water from the home to the sewer line. A damaged catch basin allow large particles of debris into the sewer line, which can cause blockage or clogs to the pipes and cause sewer line backup.

Proper maintenance of the sewer line is very important to avoid sewer backup problems. It is best to keep the drains clog-free to ensure that the sewer line will also not be clogged. Maintaining the sewer pipelines is also important to keep water flowing into the sewer properly. Prevent sewer backup by having your sewer line and plumbing checked regularly. Do safety measures suggested by your professional plumbers to keep the sewer line in tip-top shape.

If you need professional help on a blocked sewer or a blocked drain, contact the blocked drain experts on 0412 738 874 or leave a message.

Helpful details for a Blocked Drain and Emergency Plumber situation:

Triple zero – 000
City of Melbourne – Floods and Storms
Yarra Valley Water
Victoria State Emergency Service

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