Sewer backing up into the tub: common reasons & how to fix them

In your household’s plumbing system, a sewer pipe is an item of colossal importance. If we imagine the whole plumbing system of your house as a vascular system of your body, the sewage may probably play the role of a coronary artery. And following this metaphor, it could be stated that sewage failure may cause significant damage to the whole “body”, leading to major consequences – backups, overflows, and even flooding.

So if you are facing bathtub or shower backup, you can suspect that your sewer is a culprit. But this problem is much more multifaceted.

Can a clogged drain cause a tub backup?

When you see a sewage backing up in the tub, you should realize a simple fact – what you see is just the tip of the iceberg. The most “interesting” things are hidden from your eye. In fact, backup is a symptom that somewhere in your drainage system, there is a blockage that hinders water from coming through to the main municipal sewer line. In most cases, such problems are caused by the clogs – the obstructions made of greasy essences and different waste particles – hair, dead skin fractions, etc. These jams are unavoidable if you neglect regular pipes maintenance. A grim fact is that it can happen anywhere, and from the surface, it’s impossible to determine the location of the clog. You might be lucky if the clogging occurred just after the drain hole and can be easily taken out. But if the blocking happened down the main drain or in the sewer – you will be unable to get there without special equipment.

Drain snaking is not the panacea

A drain snake is one of the oldest tools used to fight clogs. It appears as a flexible hawser with a special spiraliform tip. The snake is sent down the pipe through the drain or cleanout hole, reaches the clog, and bites straight into it. After the spiral wire of the snake is anchored in the sticky structure of the jam, it can be manually taken up on the surface. The technology seems very simple, that’s why many people consider it as a DIY challenge. But in fact, you need special skills to succeed. Besides, drain snaking can’t help in 100% of backup cases. If the clog is solid, made of unflushable things accidentally dropped to the drain (like paper towels or rags), a snake tip will just not catch hold on it.

Hydro-jetting vs. the tough clogs

When the drain snake is ineffective, a hydro-jet steps on the stage. This latest equipment sends pressurized water through a hose to the jetter nozzle tip. The ongoing jet is powerful enough to cut the solid clogs into pieces like the warm knife cuts cold butter. Even tree roots, which usually obstruct underground sewer lines searching for moisture sources, can’t withstand its force.

Drain camera inspections – is it worth it?

In residential houses, the overall length of the drainage system, including the main sewer, can reach hundreds of meters. And the blockage can be located anywhere inside. Even for a professional, experienced, and equipped plumber, it can take hours to snake or hydro-jet the whole piping system. To save your time and money, customer-oriented plumbing services often use special CCTV drain cameras to pre-inspect the pipes and determine the clog location for sure. Cameras deliver real-time video flow to the monitor, which allows us to literally get our eyes on the inside of your plumbing.

Conclusions: what to do in case of water backing up in bathtub and toilet

If you experience the risk of a massive overflow and your drainage system is paralyzed by an unknown culprit, it’s time to call out for professional help. Superior Plumbing & Heating experts will come to fix everything same-day, providing you with quality and completely warranted services, with guaranteed results, and without any further harm to your property.