Amass an EMERGENCY SEWER BACKFLOW KIT:
|This is what the test plug looks like (Photo: Petersons)|
1. An inflatable sewer line test plug which matches the size of the sewer line. I am told that in most applications in the US, this is 4 inches. This may be found in the plumbing section of your hardware store, or at a plumbing supply house. Please get one now, before everyone you know gets one, they are all sold out, and they are back-ordered for a year !
If you must order one via mail or internet, you need a single diameter model without a bypass port. While you are getting one, get TWO. ***
2. . A hand operated pump to inflate the device (like a bicycle pump)
3. A large wrench or pliers to remove the clean out cap, as marked in the picture below in red.
Assemble your kit now, and put it in a conspicuous place.
|(This photograph and markings is the work product of: http://www.disaster-survival-guide.com/plug-sewer.html, and we are extremely grateful for this photograph)|
Procedure to plug your sewer or septic:
1. Locate the Main Cleanout at your house. It looks like the picture above. These are often in basements, some homes with septic tanks have them located out of doors, and hidden. It's good to look for this, draw this out, and know about it in advance. Check to see that there are no drains afterward, because if there are, these must be plugged too. (Some homes need an additional 1.5 inch drain plug also.) The test plug should be located below the blue line above.
2. Next, make alternate arrangements for where people will use the toilet. Inform everyone that nothing can be flushed down the toilet until furthur notice.
3. Make sure that water supplies to all sinks and toilets are turned off Do this at the Primary Water Valve of your house.
4. Remove the clean out cap using a large wrench or pliers if you don't have a wrench that large. It is circled above in red.
5. Tie a rope to the sewer plug you purchased. (So that it can come out when you eventually need it to.)
6. Insert the plug beyond the blue line above in the direction in which the drainage would normally flow.
7. Inflate the plug as per directions using a hand bicycle pump. Repeat procedure for any other drains below the main drain, as there can be some variation in plumbing set ups.
8. Use an alternative toilet until the problem is resolved.
9. Making tape shut the lids on your toilets to remind children and others who might forget that there is nowhere for urine and feces to drain at the moment.
Although the above process is most often used for a city or municipal water sewer system, it can also be employed for a normal septic tank, which do occasionally back up. You can plug a conventional septic in the same manner until it is repaired.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE STRUCTURE OF YOUR OWN SYSTEM, ASK YOUR PLUMBER NOW, DON'T WAIT FOR A BACK UP.
I cannot stress how important it is to find all of these items in your home in advance of such an emergency.
You may wish to print this out and keep it in a safe place.
*** To order a sewer or septic plug of single diameter model without a bypass port:
In Canada or other nations:
I am unsure of the size (and for that matter the location) of the main clean out to our place in Canada. Make sure you verify the size of the one you would need there. Although it is often 4 inches in the US, this may not always be the case.
If you are in another nation, the UK, or others for example, take the time to find out how your system works, how it should be plugged, and what size plug you would need and where to get one. A plumber would likely be your best source, although a savvy homeowner might also know.
References and additional information: