Skip to main content

How To Prevent Sewer Backups

By 28 October 2022Resources

How to prevent sewer backups

Sewer backups are truly horrendous. The destruction to your property, the cleanup efforts, the smell. Preventing sewer backups is important –  it helps keep your property safe and it can help keep your insurance costs down. There are a number of things that can cause sewer backup, from clogged plumbing to heavy rainfall. Fortunately, there are a number of techniques that can help you avoid this nasty problem.


The first thing to keep in mind is that what you put down your drains can stay there. You should be very cautious about pouring grease, oil, or other fats down your drain; that’s one of the reasons that the City of Winnipeg mandates grease traps for all restaurants. You should, in a similar vein, be careful about what you flush down your toilet – nothing much harder than toilet paper should ever be going down there. Aside from what you let go down your drain, tree roots can cause your sewer to clog, then back up. When you have trees near your sewer line, be alert and consider using root treatment to kill roots that might be inching their way into your line. These treatments won’t affect the tree.


When it comes to floods, there are a couple of defenses that can be built into your home. The first is a backwater valve. These valves close if sewage from the main sewer starts to back up into your home. This prevents the sewage from seeping through fixtures in your basement, like through showers, sinks, and toilets. Backwater valves do not, however, stop all water from entering your basement, and when the sewer backs up, your basement may still be flooded by rainwater.


Another tool that comes preinstalled in most homes is the sump pit and pump. When the backwater valve closes, rainwater pours into the sump pit; it’s literally a pit below your home. A pump then becomes activated and forces the water from the pit up and away from your house, dispersed throughout your property, where it’s absorbed by the soil. 


The sump pump brings us to another important facet of sewer backup protection; your landscaping. Your property should be properly slanted, so runoff water doesn’t reach the city’s sewer, but moves far enough away from your home that the soil can absorb it. Your home will also have weeping tiles which guide rainwater to the sump pit.


In Winnipeg, homes built since 1979 are required to have backwater valves, and homes built since 1990 are required to have sump pits and pumps. When you have a home that’s older than that, you’re highly encouraged to call a plumber with Winnipeg sewer and drain expertise to install the valve, pit, and pump. These seriously reduce the risk of sewer backup, which helps you from having to worry during the spring thaw. Get in touch with us and we’ll get everything set up for you.