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Toilet Flushing Causing Drain Backups: Likely Culprits at Play

Toilet Flushing Causing Drain Backups: Likely Culprits at Play

The plumbing system is truly a house-wide setup, and while this is never desirable by any means, certain issues that may arise actually showcase this in specific ways. One example that some homeowners have dealt with: When flushing a toilet anywhere in your home begins to cause backups in drains elsewhere in the home, most commonly the basement drain.

At My Buddy the Plumber, we're here to assist with a number of these and related issues, with services spanning from drain cleaning to sewer line repair and many areas in between. What is a drain backup issue that takes place when you flush toilets signaling, and what can be done about it? We'll go over everything you need to know in this two-part blog series.

Most Likely Culprit

Unfortunately, the most likely cause of a basement drain or other home drain backups when you flush the toilet is one most homeowners don't want to hear: A problem with the main sewer line.

The sewer line is the large pipe that runs from your home to the municipal sewer system or, if you're on a septic system, the leach field. All of the drains in your home - including showers, tubs, sinks, and toilets - empty into this one main sewer line.

Problems with the sewer line can cause backups in any or all of the drains in your home, and when it's particularly severe, you may even notice sewage backing up into your home through the lowest drain in the house - most commonly, a basement floor drain.

Causes of Main Sewer Line Issues

Before we move further into possible solutions, it's important to understand how you got into this situation to begin with so you can avoid it in the future. Main sewer line clogs can be due to a few different things, many of which are partially or entirely within your control:

  • Flushing improper items: One of the most common and preventable causes of sewer line issues is flushing items that don't belong in the toilet. This includes things like diapers, feminine hygiene products, facial tissues, paper towels, and anything else that doesn't break down easily in water. Even "flushable" wipes can cause problems, as they don't break down as quickly as toilet paper does.
  • Tree roots: If there are trees near your sewer line, their roots can grow into the line and cause blockages. This is particularly common in older homes with clay sewer lines, as tree roots can easily penetrate the clay.
  • Grease and oil: Cooking grease and oil should never be put down the drain, as they can solidify and cling to the sides of the sewer line, eventually causing a blockage.
  • Foreign objects: Children (and adults) have been known to flush all sorts of things down the toilet that really shouldn't be there. Toys, jewelry, and other small objects can cause sewer line blockages just like anything else.

Now that you have a good idea of what's causing these problems, we'll start part two next time with some tips on how to remedy drain blockages when you flush the toilet -- including some situations where you might need help from our team.

For more on this, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the pros at My Buddy the Plumber today.

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