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Prevent Sewer Backup


prevent sewer backup

Prevent Sewer Backup | This is a sewer pipe leaving a house and entering a septic tank. It's easy for a pipe like this to back up.

"I also flush the toilet each time I walk by it even if it has clear water in it."

Prevent Sewer Backup By Flushing More Often

You can prevent sewer back up in many houses by just adding more water to your plumbing drain system.

Why Does my Sewer Backup?

Sewer backups happen for many reasons:

  • tree roots in a sewer pipe
  • broken sewer pipe
  • sewer pipe with not enough slope
  • too little water to push waste and paper to sewer or septic tank

Tim, Has Your Sewer Backed Up and Why?

Yes, in the past four years my own sewer under my house has backed up four times. It all started happening after I installed a new low-flush toilet in my basement bathroom.

The toilet has a flushing mechanism where a quick push only delivers a small amount of water for removing liquid body waste. You need to hold down the handle to put a full 1.6 gallons of water into the drain to remove solid body waste. My son and wife were not holding down the handle long enough.

CLICK or TAP HERE to get FREE BIDS from sewer cleaning companies.

What's the Easiest Way to Prevent Sewer Backup?

The easiest way to prevent sewer backup is to add more water to the system to ensure the waste makes it all the way to the city sewer line or your septic tank. Modern low-flush toilets are causing all sorts of problems in many homes because they simply don't provide enough water to get the waste to where it needs to be.

I now pour ten gallons of water into my toilet each week as you see in this video to prevent sewer backup. Ten gallons of water weighs 83.2 pounds. If you remember your high school physics, you know that Force = mass (weight) times acceleration.

Eighty-three pounds of water falling ten feet down a plumbing stack and then racing down a pipe towards a city sewer or septic tank has lots of force is all you need to know.

I also flush the toilet each time I walk by it even if it has clear water in it. WATCH the flushable wipes video too just below.

How Much Does it Cost to Flush a Toilet?

If you have a private well as I do, you get your water for free. I only have to pay a tiny fraction of a penny for the electricity to get water from my well into my home. It's such a small amount of money, you simply can't comprehend it.

A very good friend of mine lives in Cincinnati, Ohio and uses water from a public utility. I used the rate chart they provide and did the math. She only has to pay just under eight-tenths of a penny ($0.0077) each time she flushes her 1.6-gallon toilet.

clogged toilet

You often don’t need a plunger to unclog a toilet. Just use 3 or 4 gallons of water from a bucket. (C) Copyright 2020 Tim Carter

However, she also has to pay to get rid of the water. The sewer district bases her sewer bill on the amount of water she discharges into the sewer system. The sewer charge is about 2.82 times the water bill. Thus each time she flushes the toilet, it costs her $0.02247 or just over two cents.

Doesn't Using All This Extra Water Defeat the Purpose of Low-Flush Toilets?

Yes, it does. But use some critical thinking skills here before jumping to conclusions. Not everyone needs to use low-flush toilets, right?

I'm on a private well. I have unlimited water at my house. Why should I be forced to use a low-flush toilet?

What's more, as soon as the water from my toilet enters my septic tank, the SAME VOLUME of water exits my septic tank and re-enters the ground!

The same thing happens if you live in a large city that gets its water from a river like Cincinnati. The only way there could be a water shortage is if the Ohio River dries up. The chances of that happening are so small as to be irrelevant. And don't forget, the Cincinnati Metropolitan Sewer District discharges the SAME VOLUME of water back into the Ohio River as is being taken out upstream by the Cincinnati Water Works!

The only people that need low-flush toilets are those that choose to live in arid locations where water is in short supply. If they want to conserve water then they can use a bucket to flush their toilets only using as much water as they feel they need to use. Forcing ALL of us to use low-flush toilets is simply unacceptable.

If an area is growing, then they just have to increase the capacity of their water treatment plants to meet the demand. This has happened as all cities have grown.

Related Link

Fixing Low-Flush Toilet Problems

CLICK or TAP HERE to get FREE BIDS from sewer cleaning companies.


16 Responses to Prevent Sewer Backup

  1. The main reason we conserve water here is because we have been on water meters since 2002. And we get billed separately for water in and water out (based on the water in meter). There is also a flat fee on top of this for the "service" including lines in the road, the meter etc. plus tax. So it is a big deal.

  2. I'm not completely in agreement with your logic about the usage of well water. Most pumps are pulling water from an aquifer, and the water from the septic does not replenish the aquifer. Some aquifer levels are dropping, so excessive water usage is not a good idea.

    Regarding municipal water systems, there is usually a base water usage per month included in the minimum bill. Therefore extreme water conservation doesn't necessarily safe you any money.

    • Al, my college degree is in geology with a focus on hydrogeology - the study of groundwater. The water from the septic absolutely does recharge the aquifer. What's the difference if the water enters the soil from the leach field or rain? Use critical thinking skills here my friend!

  3. Thanks for the advice, Tim. My house was built in 1865 and sometimes I think the pipes are that old too. Our water trickles (yes, trickles) into the septic tank when we flush. As a result, I give extra flushes of plain water just to clean the pipes out. Sometimes, we'll turn on a few faucets to really get things moving!
    Thanks for all of your great advice, and be safe up there!! We're practicing social distancing here in beautiful Upstate NY.

  4. Here in Apple Valley MN, our 'water' bill includes a lot of other municipal activities like street lights. For example, 1000 gallons of water cost about $1.25, If we use 3000 gallons in a quarter, our bill is about $99. It's not the water.

  5. So you blame your wife and son for the backup and put it in writing. Do they read what you write? I guess not because you're not wearing the toilet that you yourself installed. I guess your backup explains why toilets were designed to flush 7 gallons. Now they want us to use a toilet that flushes not much more than 1/10 of this and we end up paying the plumber a hundred times the amount of money that we save on the water it uses. My wife, yes I blame her, a couple of years ago used tissues instead of toilet paper and then flushed it. Of course it lodged in the pipes. I tried to snake it out but couldn't force the paper through as the snake simply went through it. I was about to rent a motorized snake but then got ill. My wife then insisted that I pay a plumber. It cost me $750 to get her tissue paper cleared. I told the plumber what she did so that he'd tell her to only use TP. If I told her she'd ignore me since I don't know what I'm talking about. Now that the hoarders have all the TP, people are looking for substitutes. If you do use other than TP, do not put it in the bowl unless you want it to clog. TP is made to come apart in water while other paper is not. Save yourself money. Flush only TP.

    • I don't use the toilet. Facts are facts. There was no issue before this expensive toilet was installed. That's a fact. What would you expect me to write? You know the old saying, right? A half-truth is a WHOLE LIE. So that's why I give you all the facts and you decide.

  6. I had a basement toilet that had trouble cleaning waste. Went with a pressure flush assist toilet and no problems since

  7. We here in Central Fl, atop a massive sand pile, working on a septic tank system have your best advice, that of periodically sending down, via the most-distant toilet from the septic tank into a massive flush by 5 gallon flushes. Your instructions as to removing hard water deposits are Golden! Once done, my toilet will do a double-flush--primary flush works, but toilet bowl fills soon enough that it triggers a second flush.

  8. Will the frequent flushing address the issue of pipe freezeups? Here in MN our frostline is about 48" deep. I live alone, and my system has frozen twice in 3 years.

  9. We have a septic tank and overflow tank.

    On the 2nd floor of my high / raised ranch, one toilet is a 'Mexican Standard' (not cheap but very poorly made American Standard from Mexico) low flow, and a 1960's high flow. The former pretty much never clogs. The old one frequently does - very easily. Same TP in both. The two are back to back. I'm baffled why the old one clogs so easily, but assume that it's just very poorly designed. It's so bad that I'm wasting a lot of water here on Long Island, which has a single aquifer.

  10. Tim, I am a designer and have designed a simple commercial space with basic plumbing needs. can I hire you to assist with the plumbing plans?

  11. We have a toilet in the basement (city sewers ) that had problems flushing ..I had the line 125ft rodded out, but still was not gulping when flushed..after reading tons of articles found a possible answer. The house is 90 years old ,lots of trees in the area, found that the drain VENT in the roof was partly clogged with tree buds and leafs..put a rod down 15 ft then a garden hose with brass nozzle 15 ft and turned it on after about 10 minutes ,flush the toilet 15 times and it flushed with a gulp..seems that not enough air was sucked down before..like putting a straw in a glass then with finger on top water just stayed in the straw.

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