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Sewer Backup Prevention Measures

Home Insurance

By Joanne Lemna | September 14, 2017

There is nothing worse than the experience of having your sewer system backup into the home. Aside from the obvious initial mess, there is the potential for mould and bacterial issues. Drywall and flooring may be irreparably damaged and furniture could even fall victim to sewer seepage. You can protect yourself with sewer backup insurance coverage, optional coverage available for many home insurance policies. You can also take preventative steps so that you aren’t left with a catastrophic mess on your hands – and did you know that this can even get you some discounts on your home insurance premium? Your insurance company may even provide funding for sewer backup prevention measures.

Tip#1 – Have Plugs Ready to Go!

Essentially when the municipal city or private septic systems back up the lines have become blocked and the only way for the water and sewage to go is to flow back into the home. Liquid and debris will start pouring back in via toilets and drains. Fortunately, you can purchase plugs for both toilets and drains and have these ready in the event of a sewer backup. By capping these areas of penetration off quickly you may be able to circumvent some of the damage that may otherwise occur.

Tip #2 – Install Backflow Valves In Your Home

If you have a professional contractor install backflow valves throughout your home’s plumbing system you stand a much better chance of not taking on any water in the event that a sewer does back up. A backflow valve will close and given the degree and level of valve you have installed not allow any water to flow in reverse and infiltrate your house. Backflow valves come in a variety of types and functionalities including those that trigger automatically and those that are manually operated. Talking to a licensed plumber will give you a better idea of function and affordability.

Tip #3 – Get a Sump Pump

The sump pump has the job of pumping the excess water out of the home through a crock located in the basement or foundation. As soon as the water table gets too high the pump activates and ejects the excess water from the house. You can even have water-powered sump pumps installed this way even if there is a loss of power the pump—operated hydraulically–will still continue to operate. Alternatively, you can get a battery-powered sump pump or invest in a generator.

You should have your sump pump checked annually.

Tip #4 – Keep Gutters & Downspouts Clean

Not necessarily related to sewer backup per se but cleaning out your gutters and downspouts regularly will certainly help to control water issues in and around your foundation. You always want the water especially in the event of a downpour or heavy storm to flow away from the home. Properly functioning gutters will definitely help to accomplish this.

Tip #5 – Improve Your Drainage

You can improve the drainage around your property by regrading and landscaping. You want water to drain away from your home. Landscaping can also help with water retention.

While no one wants sewer backups to occur and wreak havoc on the home unfortunately it can happen. Having prepared as best as you can for this type of situation will help to mitigate the circumstances and lessen the impact of any damage. Talk to your broker about sewer backup insurance coverage for your home and ask about discounts and funding for mitigation devices.

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