Ask Aztec: Why Do My Drains Back Up During a Rainstorm?

Wind and rain blowing trees above a home in a storm

Plumbing is complicated. We’re dealing with water, pressure, pipes, gravity and filtration. Even chemistry and minerals play a role. It’s a lot to wrap your head around which is why plumbers attend vocational schools, become certified, and pursue continuing education to stay current with the latest advancements.

That’s why we like to offer our expertise whenever possible. Here, we answer some interesting questions customers have posed to us recently. If you have a question you’d like answered in the next installment of Ask Aztec, reach out to us on Facebook @AztecPlumbing.

Why Do My Drains Back Up During a Rainstorm?

“Every time it rains, I brace for smelly sludge to come up my drains. What’s going on?”

-Nauseated in Naples

That’s not supposed to happen! As a rule, your drain is supposed to transport waste out. However, rainwater can overwhelm your drainpipe, forcing sewage back up. But wait…storm drains and sewer drains are different, right? Correct! Your sewer drain is acting as a storm drain because rainwater leaks through cracks or joints in the aged, corroded lateral line. When the sewer line has more water than it can transport, all that sludge comes back up through your sink and bath drains and even your toilet.

Consider having your sewer drain professionally inspected. We use video technology to detect issues deep within the drain. From there, we’ll work with you to come up with the best solution.

Should I Repipe Before Selling My Home?

“My husband and I plan on selling our home in Englewood but we recently learned that our plumbing is made of polybutylene piping, which tends to have a higher rate of failure. Is polybutylene going to be a deal-breaker?”

-Worried in Englewood

Throughout the ’70 and into the ’90s, polybutylene was the go-to piping material because it was cheaper and easier to manufacture than copper and galvanized steel. However, these pipes become prone to problems as they age — or so a class-action lawsuit claimed. While a leading manufacturer of this product has staunchly refuted these claims, polybutylene piping gives many potential homebuyers pause.

Here’s the deal: any pipe material can fail. Just as copper and galvanized pipes will deteriorate over time, so too does polybutylene. So, does your home require a repipe? The answer depends on the condition of your plumbing. Consider hiring a licensed and experienced plumber to assess the health of your plumbing system. This is a good idea no matter whether your plumbing is made of PVC, PEX, copper, polybutylene or steel. If the plumber determines that your system is in good shape, that can help assuage any fears a homebuyer may have.

Why Does My Toilet Sweat?

“My porcelain toilet is dewy, especially during the summer when the condensation drips onto the floor. I’m new to Florida so I’m wondering if this is a unique phenomenon related to the humid climate.”

-Curious in Cape Coral

Sweating toilets are not necessarily unique to the Sunshine State, but our legendary humidity probably doesn’t help matters. Picture your toilet as a pitcher of ice tea (gross, but stick with us here.) The pitcher sweats because it’s cooler than the surrounding air, causing condensation to develop on the surface. It’s the same with your toilet. There’s enough of a temperature differential between your toilet tank and the air that causes it to get all dewy. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution for sweating toilets.

That does it for another edition of Ask Aztec! From sewage backups to sweating toilets, plumbing presents all sorts of fascinating issues. For all of your plumbing needs, turn to the Cape Coral plumbers at Aztec Plumbing & Drains. To schedule your appointment, call 239-932-2959.

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