Heavy Rain Can Cause A Sewer Backup – What Should A Homeowner Do?

basement flooding

Storm water floods a basement

Heavy rains frequently can cause a public sewer backup. Unfortunately, sudden downpours do occur much more frequently than ever before. Like in many areas, NYC sewers frequently back up during, and even after, heavy rainfalls. Property owners can be left with inches, or even many feet, of waste-water in their basements due to a public drain system being overburdened.

There are various reasons for existing public sewers being overburdened during and after a heavy rain. These reasons  may include vacant land being developed, grassy areas being paved over, and changes in weather patterns, just to name a few. Bearing the above in mind, the problem is usually not your house sewer. Thankfully, the remedy to prevent sewer flooding could be very low cost.

After a sewer backup from heavy rain, safety precautions must be taken to prevent serious injury

First of all, never enter into a condition when there is any chance of live electric current being present. Serious injury or death can result from wandering into water where electric current is flowing.

Secondly water can make a pilot light go out for a gas appliance. This would result in a dangerous gas condition. Always call your public utility gas provider if you smell gas. In NYC that would be National Grid or Con Edison; or call a licensed professional.

What can you do after taking safety precautions?

After a City sewer backup from a heavy rain, there may be little a property owner can do. Frequently the sole cause of the house sewer backup is actually from the City sewer being backed up. After the rain dissipates, the City sewer will begin to flow normally again. The sewer water in a basement will then dissipate as well.

No drain cleaning or sewer repair work will be needed in this case. A wet/dry vacuum and a dehumidifier may be all you need. If you still have an issue with sewer run off, always call a licensed professional when it comes to a plumbing problem. If your base1ment has been subject to sewer water, remember  this is highly contaminated water. You are well advised to call a remediation company for proper clean up.

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Precautions to prevent future flooding from a sewer backup

Certain preventive measures can be taken to prevent a City sewer from backing up into your basement. In most cases this happens during or after a heavy rain. However, in some cases the public sewer is simply prone to backups due to a defect. Some of these remedies are low cost, while others require corrective plumbing work.

Proper fitting sewer plugs and caps

wing nut plug

wing nut plug

Make sure your sewer trap plugs are fit tightly on the house trap. Replace old ill-fitting sewer trap plugs with fit-all plugs. Fit-all plugs can be purchased from any plumbing supply or hardware store for around $10.00 each. A $10.00 item may save you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars in future damages from heavy rains.

Besides the damage that proper sewer plugs prevent, the serve another benefit. properly fitting sewer plugs and caps also prevent sewer gases from entering your living space. if you ever have a sewer smell, frequently a worn sewer plug is your culprit. To replace your sewer plugs, you’ll need to locate your main house trap. If you’re not sure how to do that, read How To Locate Your House Trap.

Sewer valves for sanitary home sewers

If the house sewer is solely for sanitary use (not for any rain water flow) a back-water check valve can be installed. Remember to work properly sewer valves must always be installed on the street side of your house trap. That’s another reason why this work must be performed by a Licensed Master Plumbing firm. In NYC Balkan Sewer And Water Main Service is considered an expert in installing sewer valves.

Different homes and plumbing systems require different solutions

In many homes in NYC the house sewer in question is also for storm water. While in many other homes there are plumbing fixtures in the basement, such as a toilet, shower, or a sink. In some of these cases backwater check valves can be installed for individual plumbing fixtures. Each different sewer type and plumbing design prevents different challenges for a proper solution. That is why each property must be individually inspected to devise the proper solution.

What is a backwater check valve?

back water valve

Sewer check valve

A backwater check valve is a self-operating valve that only allows for water flow in one direction. If properly maintained it will prevent water from flowing in the opposite direction thereby preventing a sewer backup from a public sewer system.

A backwater check valve should be cleaned every 6 months to a year, a task easily performed by a non-professional by removing a few screws. No special tools or skills are required for maintenance on a backwater check valve.

This relatively low-cost installation can prevent heavy rain from causing damage to your house ever again.

What is an automatic backwater valve?

backwater valve stop sewer backup

Stainless steel knife edge gate

Balkan Sewer And Water Main Service is proud to introduce an automatic backwater valve as a new and exciting product.This item is far superior to a sewer check valve or a manual gate valve.

An automatic flood gate valve seems to provide a final solution to property owners suffering from waste water flooding from a public sewer backup.

Remember that check valves do not completely stop backwater, only greatly reduce it. You should also note that manually operated knife edge gate valves have to be manually operated. That means closing them prior to use, then reopening them after a public sewer backup. On the other hand, an automatic backwater valve has none of these drawbacks. While it does have many advantages. An automatic flood gate valve will stop backwater 100%, and over long periods of time. To learn more read All About Automatic Sewer Valves.

Not only will an automatic backwater valve stop sewer water 100%, but it does not work using electricity, and as it’s name implies is completely automatic.

Have a question or need clarification?

Contact Balkan Plumbing for a same day response to any question or concern regarding your water main or house sewer. Our Team will likewise respond promptly and professionally for sewer backup issues caused by heavy rain, or from any other cause. We are here for you 7 days a week, day or night, will free professional advice and expertise. Free on site visits are provided seven days a week, and without any obligation whatsoever. Did you know that Balkan Sewer and Water Main Service also provides a useful resource page? To learn more visit the Balkan Sewer and Water Main Resource Center.

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Balkan Plumbing is the largest sewer and water main company in NYC. For over 60 years, our family's 10 year guarantee* means we stand by our work long after the job is done. For sewer and water main issues throughout Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx contact Joseph L. Balkan, Inc. today for 24/7/365 service. Paul R. Balkan, NYC Licensed Master Plumber 01281

Ph: (718) 849-0900 | Espanol (718) 943-5720 | Fx: (718) 849-9570