Prevent dangerous home sewage damage

While we love to spend out time talking about all of the beautiful and creative ways you can make your home more…homely…we also feel it’s prudent to talk about some of the uglier sides of home ownership. Or at least, some of the not-so-sexy things you can do to your home to make sure it remains beautiful…and in this blog post, safe. A safe home is something we usually take for granted. We just assume it’s safe because it keeps us warm and cozy. But the reality is things can go wrong, and with certain things, a problem can put your family’s health at risk. And that’s certainly true when you talk about a sewer backup. In this blog post, we’ll discuss that issue, and also talk through some mitigation steps you can take to make sure you never have to deal with such a nasty situation.


What is a sewage backup?

sewage-backupHomes can suffer sewage damage in a number of ways. Most commonly, we refer to these events as sewer backups, but in reality they can take a few different forms. Here are the most common ways homes get damaged by raw sewage:


  • a ‘traditional’ sewage backup – perhaps the most common type of sewage loss seen here in Charlotte, this happens when a clog occurs in your sewer line. When a blog occurs, the water can’t get down the drain and reach the main sewer line. Instead, it hits the blockage and then starts going the only direction it can go: back up and into your home.
  • a sewer line overflow – when a home’s sewer line is tied into a combined sewer system (meaning the city’s main line is responsible for carrying both rain water and sewage water), heavy rains can often overwhelm the main line and cause water to come back up your home’s line and overflow into your home. This is a particularly nasty type of sewage backup because it can cause a lot of raw sewage waste and water to come into your home very quickly.
  • a sewer line break – for homes with a crawlspace, many times the home’s sewer lines will be housed in the crawlspace. It’s not unusual to see instances where a crack in the pipe or a loss connection in the pipe fitting result in a sewage spill in the crawlspace. The homeowner is completely oblivious to the problem until they start to smell it. Yuck!


How to lessen the chances of sewage damage


With the average cost of cleaning up sewage running in the thousands of dollars, and most sewage backups not falling under insurance coverage, you’d be wise to take these steps to make sure the chances of you ever dealing with a sewer backup are greatly reduced. Here are some things you should do immediately!


  • dont-flush-these-thingsStop putting things down your drains and toilets that your plumbing system isn’t designed to handle. Most notably, there are a couple of things you can stop doing:
    • pouring cooking grease down the drain – this is a HUGE problem that many people do. If you pour grease down your drain while running hot water, realize you’re creating a huge problem. That grease is going to congeal once it hits the cold part of your pipe in the ground. Do it enough, and it’s going to create a complete block in your sewer line.
    • flushing fibrous materials down the toilet – if you put things like baby wipes or feminine products down the toilet, you’re creating a recipe for disaster.


On top of making changes to your daily habits, you can also spend a little bit of money to stop a sewage backup. By installing a valve known as a backflow preventer, you can make sure that any water that is coming back up your sewer pipe is stopped before it gets into your home and causes a lot of damage. Below is a great video showing this device in action along with some tips for properly maintaining it.


How can you save energy in your home?

Ok, so this may not be the most glamorous post you’ll come across on our site, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hugely important. Whether or not you believe in global warming, you’re certainly aware of just how crowded our world is becoming. Add it all up and you’ve got exponentially more people fighting for a slice of resources that isn’t growing as quickly. As our industries struggle to come up with new sources of energy, the reality is we need to do whatever we can to make those resources we do have stretch further. So in this post we’re going to discuss some things you can do in your Charlotte home that will allow you to use less energy, save money, and still provide all the comfort and warmth you expect from your humble abode.


Energy savings tips


There are basically 2 different approaches to saving energy:

  • reducing the amount of energy used by the mechanical systems and appliances necessary to ‘power’ your home
  • conserving the energy emitted by those systems

Let’s delve into the first bucket…


Heating & Cooling/Lighting/Appliances/Electronics


When it comes to ensuring your home remains a comfortable temperature during the summer and the winter, here are some tips:

  • bryant_techchange the direction of your fan based on the season – in the winter, run it at a low speed in the clockwise direction. In the summer, switch the direction to run counter-clockwise.
  • Make sure windows and doors are shut in the summer when you’re running your AC system.
  • Clean your AC condenser filter (or replace it if necessary). The same goes for your furnace filter…it’s recommended you replace it every 3 months.
  • Set your thermostat on auto so that it conserves energy and only kicks on your comfort system when necessary instead of running it all the time.
  • hire a professional to tune-up your comfort systems before the summer and winter.


For lighting, the key is two-fold:

  • replace existing bulbs with CFL bulbs.
  • set timers for the lights or otherwise cap their usage to when you only need them. Let’s face it, sometimes you walk into your house only to realize that every single light is on. It takes a conscious effort to break that habit, but it can help you conserve a lot of energy over time if you can!


Appliances are the main drain on energy usage inside of a home. As such, they represent the best opportunity to conserve energy. Here’s a few useful tips:

  • save energy with your appliancesre-heat food using your microwave instead of oven.
  • when it comes to your fridge, set the temperature between 30-42 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • if your fridge is more than 15 years old, you may look at replacing it with a new energy-efficient model.
  • keep your freezer full…it uses less energy that way.
  • if you’re washing and drying clothes, try to do several loads at once. This will allow your dryer to stay warm and not have to cool down fully and then warm back up.
  • set your dishwasher on the setting called ‘economy mode’.