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6 Tips for Sewer Backup Prevention


By Sara Thomson


Many of us do not focus on our sewers, we are just glad they exist!

But flooding can damage everything it touches from the foundations and floors to the electrical infrastructure and insulation within walls. According to the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) flooding is one of the most common natural disasters right next to hurricanes and tornadoes. In the past 5 years the US has had 11 floods with combined losses over 28 billion dollars.

Even if your home is not in a flood zone you should still be concerned with flooding since most flood occur in non-flood zones. Sewer backup is a common result of flooding, water tables rise and sewers can become clogged, but it is an issue that is not always covered. Sewer backup is much more common today due to the aged U.S. sewer system with an average age of over 30 years old.

There are several ways Homeowners can take some preventative measures for their sewer backup.


  1. A sewer lateral is the pipeline between your house and the city’s main sewer. Maintain the pipe by having an expert check to make sure is not cracked, deteriorated or surrounded by tree roots can help prevent groundwater from getting into the pipe.


  1. Get rid of grease or cooking oil properly. Pouring hot oil down the drain will clog the pipes when the oil cools and solidifies. Pour the grease/oil into a bag or bowl you can throw away, once it has solidified throw it away in the garbage.


  1. Never flush disposable diapers, paper towels, or feminine products, they take a long time to deteriorate and will clog your sewer line.


  1. Most pipes in New York are older and made of concrete, cast iron or other materials that cause challenges. Newer homes have plastic PVC or ABS, which are a smarter choice because tree roots cannot break through plastic piping.


  1. Some New York counties have begun to develop or revise their Model Sewer Use Laws. If you are going to correct your plumbing connections check with your municipality or local contractors to make sure connecting french drains, sump pumps and other flood control systems to your sewer line is not against code.


  1. A final line of defense is to install a backwater prevention valve. The valve is installed onto the sewer line and allows sewage to go out (outflow) but not come back in (inflow).


Even with prevention, things can happen, should the sewer back up into your home, cleaning up the affected area quickly and efficiently will prevent future damage to your home. Professional property restoration companies can do all the cleanup for you including removing the spillage, cleaning the floors and walls, as well as clearing out all ductwork.


If you want to know more about your water backup coverage options on your homeowner, renter or landlord dwelling fire insurance policy, call your trusted adviser, your Hometown independent insurance agent!  Call Hometown Insurance at 1-800-568-SAVE (7283) or email


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