When Do You Need an Emergency Plumber? Part 1: Sewage Backup

Mr. Rooter plumber

Your home's sewer lines are easy to take for granted. After all, you can usually flush the toilet, run the garbage disposal and drain your bathtub without incident. However, if you experience a sewage backup, you suddenly find yourself in trouble. Here's what to do in certain backup situations and the steps an emergency plumber will take once he arrives on the scene.
Toilet Overflowing

Your first priority is to stem the flow of water coming out of the toilet until the plumber arrives. Follow these steps:

  • Turn off the water: Look on the wall behind the toilet and find a valve. Turn this valve clockwise (Lefty Loosy, Righty Tighty)to shut off the water.
  • Stop the toilet from running: The toilet may continue running for a bit, even with the water valve turned off. To stop this, remove the tank cover and lift the float ball up.

At this point, you can scoop some excess water from the toilet bowl into a bucket and attempt to plunge the toilet. This should be your approach if a recent clog caused the toilet to overflow. However, if you suspect a tree root problem, it's best to leave unclogging the backup to an experienced plumber.

Sink Overflowing

If your sink is clogged so badly the water doesn't drain at all, you need to act fast if you want to prevent the sink from overflowing:

  • Prep the sink: For a double kitchen sink, plug the unclogged drain with a rag. For a bathroom sink, plug the overflow hole with a cloth or cover it with duct tape.
  • Plunge the sink: Love your pipes - don't weaken them with chemical drain cleaners. Instead, work through the clog with a plunger. If your efforts don't work to clear the drain, it's time to call a plumber.
Bathtub Overflowing

When taking a shower, you know you have a problem if the water starts to rise around your ankles. Really bad clogs could cause the tub to fill up rapidly with water, even causing the bathtub to overflow in some cases. Here's what to do:

  • Prep the tub: Cover the overflow plate with a wet rag or duct tape. To prevent sloshing and splashing, scoop some of the water out of the tub with a bucket before plunging.
  • Plunge the tub: The goal is to push the blockage out of the way. Try three or four plunging attempts and call a plumber if your efforts aren't enough.
When to Call an Emergency Plumber

Get help solving your sewage backup trouble without delay, even if it's after regular business hours. Quick response from a 24-hour plumber can help prevent a bigger problem.

To fix your sewage backup, a plumber may first attempt to use a drain auger or cable device. Many drain backups are caused by accumulated food, hair, soap, sanitary products or foreign objects. These can usually be removed with traditional drain-clearing methods.

If drain auger or cable device fails to clear the blockage, the plumber can run a camera down the drain to diagnose the problem and address it more effectively. You may discover that tree roots have collapsed your pipes, in which case the plumber must perform rooter work to punch through the tree roots. At that point, the plumber can assess the extent of the tree root problem and recommend a solution, which may include hydrojetting, pipe lining or pipe bursting.

If you have a sewage backup on your hands and need the help of a 24-hour emergency plumber, please contact Mr. Rooter® right away. We'll help get your sewer line flowing freely again in no time.