10 Ways to Protect Your Home from Sewer Backup and Water Damage

When it comes to water damage, prevention is the less expensive, less stressful, and more responsible route for protecting your home. Here are 10 expert-recommended actions you can take that will help protect your home from sewer backup and water damage.

10 Ways to Protect Your Home From Sewer Backup & Water Damage

1. Backwater Valves

Backwater valves are small, ingeniously simple devices that prevent your main drain pipes from backing up and pumping water back into your home. They work by simple mechanics. Water flows freely when going in the right direction. Then it closes the second water flows the wrong way. Many municipalities offer incentive programs to encourage every homeowner to install a functional backwater valve because they are an inexpensive and extremely effective preventative solution to water damage issues. Consider contacting your municipality to see if you qualify for assistance in having one of these handy devices installed if your home is not equipped with one already. The amount of money and life energy saved by preventing a drain backup into your basement may be more than worth the investment.

2. Sump Pumps

If your basement is below the water table level, you will need a sump pump in order to keep water out of your home, particularly during a flooding or storm event. Sump pumps work on a simple principle: they detect when the water level around your house is too high, and then pump water away from it where it can safely drain elsewhere. They are one of the most effective means of preventing basement flooding. Every spring test your sump pump to ensure it is turned on and functioning properly.

A sump pump is used to keep water out of your home, particularly during a flooding or storm event.

3. Floor Drain Plugs

Similar to the backwater valve, floor drain plugs help stop water from flowing back into your home during a backup. Where backwater valves are often installed in the main drain pipe leading from your home to your municipality’s drainage system, a floor drain plug is installed on your basement drain, right near the top. When the water rises to the level of the drain, the mechanical device stops the water from flowing any further. They are an important last line of defence in your basement waterproofing strategy.

4. Standpipes

Standpipes are special pipes installed in your home’s floor drain and sealed with a rubber seal. When the water rises out of the drain, it goes into the pipe and back down. The main advantage of standpipes is that they are easy to install and remove and are most useful when flooding is likely to occur, like during periods of storms or heavy rains.

5. New Seals on Windows and Doors

While indoor plumbing is definitely the major source of sewage backup danger, water damage can also come from the great outdoors, not just your pipes. Any windows and exterior doors should therefore be regularly inspected for their ability to keep water out. Have a professional ensure all windows and door frames in your home are watertight, since visual checks by yourself as a homeowner will not be as thorough.

6. Add Water Sensors

Water sensors added to your plumbing in areas that are prone to flooding (near the hot water tank, under the dishwasher, behind the washing machine, etc) are an inexpensive way to save yourself a lot of money and hassle if you have some kind of sewer backup or water damage. They are small devices that sit on the floor, and beep if they come in contact with water. This will prevent situations like a slow drip from a sink from going unnoticed and causing damage over time, or a flood from going undetected even for a few minutes, which can be the difference between disaster and inconvenience.  

7. Ensure Proper Grading

Sometimes, the most important preventative measures actually have nothing to do with plumbing or the interior of your home at all! A very important factor to check is the grading of the dirt around your home.  Make sure that it slopes away from the house, so that water can drain away from your basement walls. Foundation leaks in a major rain, storm, or flood event are much higher if water drains towards the home.

8. Do Exterior Maintenance

Another exterior factor in preventing water damage inside is performing proper and regular exterior maintenance. Keep your gutters cleared, and downspouts in working order. Inspect your shingles regularly to spot problem areas that might need attention. Blocked gutters or downspouts lead to a higher chance of a window or foundation leak during a major rain event. Roofing issues might not be obvious from the inside immediately. Over time leaks into your garage or attic roof will have more extensive damage. Much better to do quick checks every once in a while.

Cleaning out gutters to help prevent water damage to the home.

9. Rinse Your Dishes

Your dishwasher is not a garbage disposal! Large chunks of food can block your machine’s drain, and cause a backup. Rinsing your plates before washing them is an almost sure way of stopping this totally preventable situation from happening. 

10. Respect Your Floor Drains

Another very easy preventative measure to stop flooding is to keep your floor drains clear of obstructions. Depending on your drain’s location, it can be tempting to place a rug or storage unit on top of it, because how often do you need it, anyway? But when you do need it, you will be thankful if water is easily able to flow into it and you don’t have to worry about moving furniture during a water emergency. 

If you discover mold or other signs of sewer backup or water damage, it is suggested that you call the experts for both a diagnosis and for cleanup. AmSteam is fully certified through the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), and employs technicians trained in both the Water Damage Restoration Technician (WRT) and the Applied Structural Drying Technician (ASD) courses. When you call AmSteam, you can be assured you will be dealing with highly trained professionals you can trust, at a reasonable cost. 

Keep a floor drain clear so water can flow out easily.

In the event of an obvious water emergency, AmSteam offers 24 hour/365 days a year Emergency Flood Cleaning. We offer full restoration services: extract the water, dry the affected area, tear out what can’t be salvaged and provide complete reconstruction.

Has your home been impacted by water damage? We can help! Contact us today.


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