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What Causes Winter Sewage Backups?

What Causes Winter Sewage Backups?

Sewage backups can happen anytime, even in the winter.  Sewage backups are a serious concern causing not only property damage but also posing health risks due to the backup of raw sewage into your home. The issue occurs when the sewer system becomes clogged or overwhelmed, leading to a backup of wastewater. In this blog, we will explore the causes of winter sewage backups and the measures that can be taken to prevent them.

Common Causes Of Winter Sewage Backups

Winter Snow Melt: Winter can bring a lot of precipitation. When the snow falls, it does not usually present a problem, but the freeze/thaw cycle associated with Chinooks can impact your drainage systems with a rapid increase of melted snow or a sudden increase in water usage. 

Tree Roots: There is not a lot of root movement in the winter, but roots that have infiltrated your sewage systems in the summer and fall can set the stage for a buildup of debris that can slowly clog your sewer lines over the winter months.

Sagging Sewer Lines/ Shifting Soil: As we experience the freeze/thaw cycle, sewer lines can be impacted as soils shift and sewer lines can bend and even break during the winter months.

Improper Disposal: Improper disposal can be a problem any time of the year, but often holiday entertaining can place increased risk on sewage lines when scraps of food are not properly disposed of and guests are not careful with flushing items. One of the primary causes of sewage backup is the accumulation of grease, hair, and other foreign objects in the pipes. These objects can block the flow of wastewater, leading to a buildup of pressure that eventually causes a backup. 

Sump Pump Malfunctions: Homeowners may forget to check that certain systems are functioning properly in the colder months. A malfunctioning sump pump can contribute to sewage backup, especially if it fails to direct wastewater from the basement to the sewer system. 

How To Prevent Winter Sewage Backups

To prevent sewage backup and protect your home, it is important to take preventative measures including the following: 

  1. Avoid flushing anything except approved tissue products down the toilet, do not rinse hair down the bathroom sink, and do not dispose of grease or food scraps down the kitchen drain.
  2. Adopt a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule to keep your plumbing system functioning optimally.
  3. Install a backflow preventer and a sump pump alarm to alert you to sewage backups.

What To Do If Sewage Backs Up In Your Home?

If you experience a sewage backup, take immediate action to minimize the damage and protect your health. Here are some critical steps to take:

  1. Turn off the electricity: If sewage has entered your home, turn off the electricity immediately to avoid electrical hazards.
  2. Evacuate the area: Leave the affected area immediately and avoid contact with the raw sewage.
  3. Contact a professional restoration company like 24/7 Restoration: Call a professional restoration company to assess the situation and make necessary repairs. Do not attempt to clean up the sewage yourself, as it can be hazardous to your health.
  4. Document the damage: Take photos and make notes of the extent of the damage caused by the sewage backup. This documentation can be used for insurance purposes.
  5. Ventilate the area: Open windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate in the affected area.
  6. Clean up: Do not begin cleaning up the affected area until it has been properly disinfected by a professional.
  7. Disinfect the affected area: Once the sewage has been removed, hire a professional cleaning service to disinfect the affected area and remove any contaminated materials.

By following these steps, you can minimize the damage and protect your health in the event of a sewage backup in your home.

For more details, read How To Handle A Sewage Backup.

Address Winter Sewage Backups With the Team at 24/7 Restoration

Sewage backup is a serious issue that can cause significant property damage and pose serious health risks. Understanding the causes and taking preventative measures can help prevent sewage backup and keep you home and your family safe. Homeowners should take responsibility for their sewer systems and ensure that they are properly maintained and functioning properly. 

To keep your home and property safe, take precautions to prevent septic tank sewage backups. But even when you try to stay vigilant, sometimes sewage backups happen anyway. If your septic tank is backing up, call the experts at 24/7 Restoration. Our team of highly trained restoration professionals understand the dangers of sewage spills and are fully trained to deal with any sewage situation. We ensure that all potentially hazardous sewage spills are quickly contained and thoroughly cleaned. Our comprehensive sewage cleanup service will lower the risk of potential damage to your home while also minimizing effects on your health and the environment. Call 24/7 Restoration any time, night or day, at 1-403-247-4365 or fill out the online contact form.


Q: What are the health risks associated with sewage backup?
A: Sewage backup can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants that can cause serious health problems such as gastrointestinal illness, skin infections, and respiratory issues.

Q: How quickly can mold start to grow if the water is not properly removed?
A: Mold can start growing within 72 hours of exposure to moisture.

Q: What causes sewage backup?
A: Sewage backup can be caused by blockages in pipes, problems with the sewer main, heavy rainfall, or broken septic tanks.

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