It’s easy to identify a sewer backup in your home. Not only does the presence of sewage backing up into a toilet, or through a drain, present a clear sign of a sewage line issue, the smell will be tough to ignore for you and anyone inside your home.
A fast response can minimize the amount of cleanup required, and get you on track to clear out that foul smell sooner rather than later. Here’s a quick guide on what to do when your sewer backs up.
Sewer Backup in Basement: What to Do First
The first and most important step is to stop running water in your home. Any water sent down your home’s drain is going to compound the current sewage overflow.
If you have furniture or other items currently sitting in standing water, you may want to move them to reduce the risk of damage to those items. If the sewage backup is severe and covering your entire basement floor, this might not be possible. You should avoid stepping in sewer water because of the potential risk of an electric current running through the sewage.
Instead, contact local sewer cleanup services capable of both cleaning out your sewer blockage and tackling the mess through a professional cleanup and restoration process.
How to Soak Up Water in Basement
When cleaning up standing water from a sewer backup, you’ll probably notice black water sewage in your basement or on your floor. This water is filled with potential pathogens and other organic debris that can be harmful to your health, which makes water cleanup more complicated with sewage than another type of water overflow.
For smaller spills, a wet vac may be an option. Towels and other absorbent material can be used to sop up moisture and pull it from porous surfaces that have absorbed the water. When the sewer water is standing, a sewer technician may be able to facilitate drainage by clearing out the blockage in the sewer line that caused the backup to occur.
Other strategies for drying out your basement include industrial fans and dehumidifiers to circulate air and pull moisture out of the atmosphere. If the outdoor humidity is lower than your indoor humidity, you may also open all the windows in your basement, increasing dry air flow to accelerate drying.
How to Clean Your Floor After Sewer Backup
Once water is removed from your basement floor, you will still need to clean the surfaces before you can safely walk through the space and return furniture and other belongings to the room. You can do this through the following steps:
- Remove and dispose of any carpet soaked by sewage. The level of soiling will likely make it impossible to recover any basement carpet.
- Shovel and dispose of any accumulated sewage left after the water has been removed. As part of your sewage mess, you are likely to find solid and semi-solid materials that will need to be thrown away.
- Remove furniture, boxes and other items soaked in sewage. Once soaked through, many of these items cannot be saved and may pose a health risk.
- Disinfect surfaces with a mixture of water and chlorine bleach. You may use a combination of floor mops, sponges, and other cleaning materials to disinfect surfaces. Clean everything touched by sewer water, including floors, walls, and other surfaces.
- Contact a sewer cleanup service to help with this process. Cleaning up sewage is messy and potentially dangerous if you aren’t familiar with how to handle these materials. A specialist can make sure sewage is properly cleaned to limit long-term damage and restore the cleanliness of your basement.
How to Get Rid of a Sewer Smell in a Basement Drain
After a sewer backup has been cleaned in your basement, you may notice a lingering smell coming from your basement sewer drain. This is likely the result of lingering sewage backup in the basement floor drain. Fortunately, this is fairly easy to clean.
The first thing you can try is dumping a gallon of water into the drain to flush out any remaining sewage. You can mix a small amount of bleach into the water to kill off bacteria that may be creating the smell or use a scented cleaner to cover the foul smell with a more pleasant aroma. This should alleviate the intensity of the smell, and you should notice continued dissipation of sewage smell during the next few days.
Don’t attempt to tackle a sewer mess on your own—especially when a blockage in your sewer line needs to be repaired. Contact local sewer cleanup services today to find a technician who can quickly visit your home, fix the sewer backup, and get you started on the cleanup process.