Water damage is the leading cause of home insurance claims in Canada — and there are many ways unwanted water can end up in your home. One common cause of water damage is sewer backup, which happens when water and other liquids begins to flow backwards into your home. Before you know you can be standing ankle deep in sewage. Not only does exposure to sewage pose a health hazard, but the clean-up process is extensive and costly.
What causes a sewer back-up?
A sewer backup occurs when something blocks the normal flow of wastewater from your house to the city’s sanitary sewer, and the sewage starts to back up into your home. There are several factors that can contribute to a sewer backup, including:
Aging sewer systems
Too much rainwater or melted snow entering the sewer system at once
Broken or collapsed sewer lines
A cracked or deteriorated sewer lateral (the pipeline between the city’s sanitary sewer main and your home)
Tree roots entering sewer lines
Blockages in city sanitary mains
Blockages in plumbing inside a building
Sump pump failureHow to prevent a sewer back up?There are some simple things you can do to help prevent sewage from backing up into your home:
Don’t treat your toilet like a garbage can. The only things you should flush down the toilet are human waste and toilet paper. Don’t flush items like diapers, wipes, cigarette butts, paper towels, facial tissues, or personal hygiene products down the toilet — even if they say they’re “flushable.”
Throw grease and other clog-causing materials in the garbage, not down the sink. That includes bacon fat, coffee grinds, and food waste.
Install a backwater valve. A backwater valve (sometimes called a backflow valve) could reduce the likelihood that sewage will flow into your basement when the main sewer system begins to back up. It allows water from your toilets, sinks, and bathtubs to flow out of your home — but if water begins to flow backwards, the flap on the backwater valve will close and stop it. While backwater valves aren’t suitable for every home, consider having your plumbing system inspected by a professional to find out if your home qualifies.
Does home insurance cover sewer backups?
Basic home insurance policies don’t usually cover sewer backups, but most insurance companies offer sewer backup coverage as an optional add-on at a relatively low cost. If you don’t already have this coverage, ask your broker to find out if you qualify — you wouldn’t want to be left to clean up the mess on your own in the event of a sewer backup. Call Absolute today at 519 941-2266 or email us to add Sewer back up coverage to your policy today!