A sewer backup can add a lot of stress to your life and cause extensive damage to your home.
In general, in the event of a sewage backup, everything that is contaminated will have to be disposed of. This includes your carpets, walls, furniture, and other personal belongings. Not only can the damage be extensive, but you may actually be responsible for it if it does happen. Hopefully this article will help prevent that from happening to you by covering the top-5 causes of sewer backups and the steps you can take to help prevent them from happening to you and your home.
Prevention is important because as a homeowner, it is your responsibility to maintain your sewage system. This includes the your sewer lateral, which is the piece of sewer pipe that extends from your home to the main sewer line. Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover the cleanup and repair costs associated with sewer backups. That means that by not taking the proper precautions, you could be exposing yourself to potentially thousands of dollars in damages.
Sewer Backups Pose a Serious Health Risk
Not only are sewer backups nasty, but they also pose a serious health risk. Rashes, infections, severe illness, and even death can occur from exposure to sewage contaminated water. The list of pathogens and disease that raw sewage may contain includes:
Given these health risks, you should never attempt to clean up raw sewage without proper safety equipment. If you have been exposed to raw sewage and are experiencing nausea, abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, and/or diarrhea you should seek help from a medical professional immediately. Don't risk your or your family's help, call a professional restoration company to help with your sewage cleanup.
The Top-5 Causes of Sewer Backups
2. Clogged Sanitary Main. The sanitary main is your local municipality's underground network of pipes that collect and dispose of sewage from homes and businesses. A blockage in the sanitary main can lead to sewage backing up through your floor drains and toilets.
However, it takes a long time for a city sewer line to become congested to the point that it will backup so the city is usually pretty good at catching them first. If you do experience a clogged sanitary main, it will usually impact multiple houses on the same block. If you think your backup is the result of a clogged city sewer line you should call the Denver Wastewater Management Division.
3. Collapsed Sewer Lines. Collapsed sewer lines can happen as a result from aging pipes. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, more than 500,000-miles of sewer lines in the U.S. are over thirty years old. according to the . These older pipes have a natural tendency to crack or completely break because they are made out of cast iron and clay piping.
4. Clogged Lateral Sewer Line. Clogs of your sewer line can happen as the result of people flushing anything besides bathroom tissue down the toilet. Other common causes of clogs are excessive hair, bacon grease, and/or cooking oil that people pour down the sink.
5. Combined Sewer Lines. A public sewer system that combines storm drainage and raw sewage can cause backup issues during heavy rains. Depending on how excessive the run-off is, it could simply be left with nowhere to go, which means that these pipelines are going to back up straight into your home. Thankfully this is not a problem in Denver as we have a sanitary sewer system, not a combined sewer system.
The 7 Best Ways to Prevent a Sewer Backup
Many of the causes listed above can easily be avoided by following the following steps:
1. Remove Tree Roots Periodically. If you have a tree growing close to your lateral you should consider having these roots trimmed occasionally or even having the trees removed entirely.
2. Don’t Pour Grease Down Your Sink. Any type of heavy cooking oil or bacon grease should be deposited into a waste bin. Grease hardens as it cools so pouring it down your drain will cause a buildup either in your sewage line or the city's. The proper way to dispose of grease is to pour it into a heat-resistant container until it is cool enough to throw in the garbage bin.
3. Throw Paper Products In The Garbage. The only paper product that your toilet is made to flush is bathroom tissue paper. Heavy material such as paper towels, baby wipes, hygiene wipes, feminine products, or makeup wipes should be thrown in the waste bin— not the toilet. These items do not decompose easily, so flushing them down the drain can lead to clogs.
4. Replace Your Sewer Line With Plastic Pipe. If you have an old clay or cast iron sewer pipe that is common in older homes, or if your sewer line keeps getting clogged with tree roots, considering replacing it with a plastic pipe. While this can be expensive, it can save you from an even more expensive repair down the line.
5. Install a Backwater or Backflow Prevention Valve. This is a check valve that a professional plumber can install in your sewer line to prevent a sewer backup. It only flows in one direction: away from your house. That way if there’s a clog, the excess water and sewage won’t be able to find its way back into you home.
6. Remove Illegal Connections. Not only is it illegal to connect sump pumps, french drains, downspouts, or other water drainage devices to your sewer line, but it can also lead to a backup. These drainage systems can cause sediment to build up in your sewer line and lead to a clog, which could lead to a flood during a storm.
If you have experienced a sewage backup and are in need of professional sewage cleanup and repair services, please call us now at (720)-720-9594. We have emergency crews standing by 24/7 and can have a team of restoration professionals at your home in 60-minutes or less.
Water heater maintenance isn't something most people spend too much time thinking about. However, a quick annual inspection could end up saving your home from a disastrous flood and your wallet from a costly emergency water damage repair bill.
Being a homeowner comes with the responsibility of regularly inspecting and maintaining all of your home's appliances. This includes your washing machine, dishwasher, refrigerator, water heater, sump pump, and more. Appliance failure is a leading cause of water damage and house fires. In this article we will cover the appliances most susceptible to failure and the actions you can take to prevent them.
If you have experienced an appliance failure and need professional restoration services - including water removal, water damage restoration, smoke odor removal, or fire damage restoration - please call us at (720)-720-9594. We have years of experience helping customers recover from water and fire damage resulting from appliance failure. We have technicians on-call 24/7 and can have a crew at your home in 60-minutes or less.
Appliance failure can cause extensive damage
It is easy to overlook your appliances. Most come with a guarantee that they won’t need any repairs or replacements for a number of years. That kind of promise can lead to a false sense of confidence that nothing can go wrong. Unfortunately, there are many factors that can lead to appliance failure and shatter that sense of comfort. And when this happens, the damages can be expensive.
The failure of a water heater or washing machine can lead to extensive flooding and water damage to your home in a very short amount of time. On the other hand, slow leaks that go undiscovered can be equally or even more damaging. Slow leaks can cause an extensive amount of rot and even mold damage. On a national average, as much as 30% of all flood claims are from appliance failures.
Fire, Soot and Smoke Damage
House fires often start from overlooked appliance issues and can lead to extensive fire and smoke damage. In fact, there are nearly 3,000 dryer fires reported each year that cause more $35 million dollars in property damage. Roughly 1/3 of these fires could have been prevented by cleaning out clogged dryer vents and duct work.
The top-7 appliances susceptible to failure
Dishwashers often come with a decade-long warranty. However, these warranties don't cover things like an improperly installed water supply line or a clogged drain. The float switch in your dishwasher can wear down and break or the strainer can become clogged with food debris.
Most water damage claims from washing machines come from broken or damaged water supply hoses. When one of these supply lines breaks it can release up to 500 gallons of water per hour. If you're not home when this happens the damage can be extensive.
The dryer poses an even more dangerous threat when it’s not maintained. Simply cleaning out the lint filter between each load isn’t enough to negate dryer fires. Poor duct work or clogged air vents are a leading cause of dryer fires. If you notice that your dryer is taking longer to dry your clothes, you may have a clogged dryer vent.
Refrigerators and Ice Makers
Refrigerators and ice makers produce a lot of excess moisture and are prone to leaks that can result in flood damage to your home. Common causes are damaged or broken water supply lines as well as frozen or clogged drains.
Toilets have a useful life of 50 years or more and are not likely to fail themselves. However, water supply lines can fail or become damaged. The wax seal can wear out and leak overtime.
Sump pumps have a life expectancy of around 10 years. If a sump pump fails during a storm your basement or crawlspace could flood.
5-steps to prevent appliance failure
Step 1: Check Appliances Regularly
Simply keeping your eyes open and looking at the water connection lines, seals, drains, and other working pieces of your appliances can help you spot potential problems. Any signs of wear and tear, damage, corrosion, or leaks are a warning that your appliance may be about to fail.
Step 2: Clean Drains and Duct Work Regularly
If any of your appliances do not appear to be draining properly inspect the drains or drainage pipes for clogs. Inspect your dishwasher's strainer regularly to make sure it has not become clogged. Pay attention to whether your dryer has stopped worked as well as this could be a sign that your duct work has become clogged with lint.
Step 3: Follow Proper Maintenance Procedures
All of your appliances will have different maintenance requirements. You should check your owner's manuals to know what they are. For example, you should drain your water heater once per year to prevent the build up of any sediment that could cause corrosion.
Step 4: Shut Off Appliances When Not In Use
For example, if you are going to be leaving your house for an extended period of time it is a good idea to turn off the water supply lines to your washing machine. Also, you should never run the washer or dryer when you aren’t home.
Step 5: Schedule Annual Inspections
Having all of your appliances inspected once a year, especially if they are starting to get old, is the best way to avoid fire and flood damages from appliance failure.
Whether it's 1-inch of water or 3-feet, nobody wants to deal with a flooded basement or crawlspace. The damage can be devastating and the flooded basement cleanup and repair process is overwhelming for most homeowners. There are also a number of safety issues to consider.
While your first instinct may be to rush into the standing water to save any damaged items, you need to make sure the area is safe first. This means shutting off the electricity to your basement. You should never use electric power tools or turn your electricity on or off while standing in flood water. Before entering any flood waters you also need to make sure they do not contain any raw sewage. Sewage contains a number of harmful pathogens and can make you extremely sick if your are exposed without proper safety gear.
After the situation is safe, you need to understand where the water came from before you can begin the cleanup and repair process. We put together the following guide to help you familiarize yourself with the top causes of flooded basements or flooded crawlspaces. This guide will help you learn how to prevent floods before they happen, how to determine whether your water damage will be covered by insurance, and when to call for professional help.
If you need help dealing with your flooded basement or crawlspace please call us now at (720)-720-9594. Denver Flood Repair has years of experience dealing with flooded basement cleanup and repair. Our water damage restoration technicians have years of experience and are on-call 24/7. We can have a team of professionals at your home in 60 minutes or less.
Top 7 causes of flooded basements or crawlspaces
Unfortunately, flooded basements and crawlspaces are a common occurrence for many homeowners. The top-7 causes of basement or crawlspace flooding that we see include:
2. Gutter Debris. Congested gutters are one of the leading causes of basement flooding. If your gutters have cracks, holes, or are clogged they can cause a lot of water to build up around your foundation. Eventually this water will find its way into your basement.
3. Improper Downspout Drainage. In conjunction with your gutters, your downspouts should be in working order and directed away from your foundation. Downspouts that don't lead away from your house can cause water to pool next to your foundation and make its way into your basement.
4. Sewer Backups. Besides outside water, your sewage system is another way your basement can flood. If your sewer line becomes blocked it can lead to a sewage backup and/or flooding in your basement.
5. Appliance Failures. Appliance failure is another leading cause of flooded basements. People often have water heaters or clothes washers in their basement. These appliances can become corroded and breakdown overtime.
7. Burst or Broken Pipes. A water pipe can break for many reasons including freezing during cold weather, accidental damage, or corrosion over a period of time. When a water pipe breaks it can release a massive amount of water in a short period of time. In addition, if a water pipe breaks in your basement it may go unnoticed for hours.
How to prevent basement flooding
Basement floods can be very expensive to cleanup and repair. And, as we will cover below, sometimes these costs may not be covered by your homeowners insurance. However, with proper precautions and maintenance, most of the time basement flooding can be avoided. To prevent a basement or crawl space flood you should follow the following maintenance procedures:
Fill Your Foundation Cracks. Small foundation cracks can be easily repaired using repair kits available at your local hardware store. For larger jobs you may want hire a professional foundation repair company.
Inspect Downspouts. You should regularly check your downspouts to make sure they are properly connected and free of damage. As an added precaution, you can also install French drains or a downspout drainage system to help move water away from your home.
Maintain Appliances. Have your appliances inspected regularly for signs of damage or corrosion. Old appliances that are showing signs of corrosion should be replaced.
Sewer Inspection. It is a good idea to schedule a regular inspection of your sewer lines to make sure they aren't becoming blocked. You should never put things like grease, feminine hygiene products, or paper towels down your sinks or in your toilets. These items do not breakdown quickly and will cause blockages over time. You can also install a sewer backflow preventer.
Inspect Sump Pump. Have your sump pump inspected every year. If your sump pump has back-up battery power be sure to check it regularly as well.
Is basement flooding covered by insurance?
However, flood damage resulting from an outside source is not usually covered by your insurance company. Regional flooding from heavy rainfall or water that seeps in through the ground will also not be covered unless you have flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. Water damage from a broken or failed sump pump is not covered unless you paid for an extra "endorsement" on your policy.
Can I clean up a basement flood myself?
ou may be tempting to perform a D.I.Y. repair for your flooded basement or crawlspace. However, a vacuum and some beach towels simply aren’t going to cut it. Most homeowners are simply not equipped for removing hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water from their basement.
The water removal and extraction process involves the use of high capacity pumps, wet-dry vacuums, dehumidifiers, and air movers. Most homeowners don't have access to this type of equipment or know how to properly use it. Professional water damage repair and restoration technicians go through extensive training to learn how to properly mitigate water damage such as a flooded basement.
In addition, a botched D.I.Y. job may result in mold growth. Basements provide ideal growing conditions for mold. If all the moisture and humidity is not properly removed it can result in a major and much more expensive mold removal problem. When it comes to a basement flood, it is important that all the excess moisture be removed as soon as possible.
Companies providing emergency restoration services also have experience dealing with insurance companies. They can be valuable allies for homeowners when dealing with an insurance company that doesn't want to pay the full cost of a repair.
Most homeowners have experienced water coming through their ceiling before. The typically course of action usually involves setting up pots, pans, and whatever else we can find to catch the water drips coming from the ceiling. However, after the water has stopped flowing, many of us don't know what, if anything, to do next. Will the ceiling dry itself out or does it need to be repaired?
While it may seem obvious, the first thing you will want to do is find and fix the source of the water. It doesn't do you any good to repair your ceiling if it is going to continue getting wet again in the future. You will also want to make sure your ceiling is properly dried out to prevent the growth of harmful mold or mildew. After the ceiling is dry, the damage repairs can begin. The repair process typically involves replacing wet drywall, patching holes, and repainting your ceiling.
The top 6 causes of ceiling water damage in Denver
Knowing these common causes will help you pinpoint the exact source of your leak when it occurs. The list below includes the 6 most common causes of ceiling water damage that we see in Colorado:
For example, if water starts dripping through your ceiling during a heavy rainstorm you will want to check your gutters or roof for leaks. This means climbing into your attic to look for wet plywood, framing, and/or insulation.
On the other hand, if you notice water coming through your ceiling after using an upstairs washing machine then you are probably dealing with a faulty appliance.
If the source of the water is not obvious you will need to remove the wet drywall on your ceiling first. Once you have opened up your ceiling you will be better able to hunt down the culprit. This is often required for leaky pipes for instance.
Your homeowners insurance will cover the cost of repairing your water damage if the source of the water was any of the causes listed above.
How to tell when your ceiling needs to be repaired
After you've eliminated the source of the water leak, you will want to asses whether your ceiling needs to be repaired. This will depend on both the category of water, the extent of the water damage, and whether there is any structural damage.
If the water is clean, and the overall amount of water was relatively small, then your ceiling probably won't require major repairs. You will probably only need to make sure that it is properly dried out to prevent mold growth in the future. Major flooding or Category 3 water damage means that all of affected ceiling material will likely need to be replaced.
Some signs that your ceiling will need to be repaired include:
How to repair a water damaged ceiling - 4-step process
Step 1: Drain any excess water
Before beginning to fix a water damaged ceiling you will want to make sure there is no standing water trapped above your ceiling. If your ceiling is bulging you will want to place a large container under the lowest point and poke a hole in it. This will allow any excess water above to drain out.
Step 2: Remove damaged wet drywall
Once the water has stopped draining you will need to cut out all of the saturated drywall in your ceiling. Start by removing the most obviously damaged drywall or plaster. Work your way outward from the center of the damage until you have removed all of the wet materials.
Step 3: Dry the area above your ceiling
After the wet drywall has been removed you will want to make sure the area above your ceiling is completely dry. This will require airing it out with industrial-grade air movers and dehumidifiers for 2-3 days. A water restoration professional will also use high-tech moisture sensors to verify the ceiling is completely dry before beginning the repair process.
Step 4: Patch the damaged area
When the area above the ceiling is dry you can begin the repair process. This involves installing new trimming to screw the replacement drywall into. After installing a drywall patch joint compound can be applied with a putty knife to fill in any holes or gaps. Once the mud has dried it needs to be sanded down to smooth out any rough edges. Add texture to match your existing ceiling texture and then paint.
The following YouTube video does a good job walking you through the repair process:
The average water damaged ceiling repair cost
It is impossible to repair drywall that has become saturated or rotted out. Once the structural integrity of drywall has been compromised there is no bringing it back. This drywall will have to be cut out and replaced. The average cost for repairing a water damaged ceiling varies depending upon the square footage impacted and the category of water. However, drywall repairs for your average leaky roof, overflowing bathtub, or appliance malfunction will typically have a project cost of somewhere in the $500-$1,000 range.
Call a water damage restoration professional
If you are comfortable performing general home improvements you can attempt to perform a small repair on your own. However, if the damaged area is large, or the water source was unsanitary, you should call a professional water restoration company. If you're in Denver or anywhere along the Colorado Front Range you can call us at (720)-720-9594 and we can have a technician at your home in 60-minutes or less.
Professional restoration companies, like Denver Flood Repair, have highly trained technicians who are experienced at dealing with these types of water damaged ceiling repairs. They also have high-tech equipment specifically designed to dry out your ceiling and clean up any damage. Most water restoration professionals will provide you with a free cost estimate or inspection before starting the job. They can also help you determine whether the loss would be covered under your homeowners insurance policy.
If you came home from work only to find that your home or basement had flooded while you were away, one the first questions that you probably had was how to get insurance to pay for the water damage. Whether or not you can file an insurance claim that will cover the cost of the damage will depend on several factors described below.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?
Your insurance covers damage to your home and personal property that is "sudden and accidental." This means that damage due to normal wear and tear, long-term neglect, poor maintenance, or other forms of negligence are not covered. It also typically cover damage from wind, rain, hail, snow, or ice storms, but it does not cover damage from regional flooding. In general, if the water has hit the ground and then comes into your home, it is not covered.
Examples of the Types of Water Damage Covered by Insurance
Examples of the Types of Water Damage Not Covered by Insurance
Fully Document Your Damage
Be sure to take dozens or even hundreds of photos of the damage. Your photos should be extremely thorough and should include multiple photos of all damaged items and any wet drywall, saturated flooring, or wet carpet. These photos are necessary to support your insurance claim. A professional water restoration company will repeat this step when they arrive but it never hurts to have a second set of photos. Your water restoration company will also take moisture readings using high-tech moisture sensors and infrared cameras.
Call a Water Damage Restoration and Repair Professional
If you think your loss should be covered and the insurance company doesn't want to pay, be sure to call professional restoration company for a second opinion. Restoration companies have experience advocating for consumers when an insurance company or adjuster doesn't want to cover the cost of an insurance claim.
Never let your insurance company tell you which contractor you have to use. You have the right to choose your own restoration company. The contractor that your insurance company refers you to may have agreed to discounted rates in exchange for a high volume of job referrals. Which company would you trust to advocate for you and do a better job restoring your home? The company who is getting paid normal industry rates as determined by Xactimate, or the one working for substantially reduced rates so your insurance company can reduce its claim costs?