Nominate a Family for a FREE HVAC SYSTEM


Nominate a Family for a FREE HVAC SYSTEM


Nominate a Family for a FREE HVAC SYSTEM


Why Is My Basement Floor Drain Backing Up?

If you are experiencing a backed-up basement floor drain, you're not alone. A clogged drain can be a significant headache for any homeowner. Ignoring the problem could lead to costly and irreversible damage to your basement. Therefore, it's essential to understand the various reasons that can cause basement floor drain backup.

The Role of Your Basement Drain

Basement drains are an essential part of any home's plumbing system, especially if the house is located in an area with heavy rainfall or high water tables. The purpose of the basement floor drain is to remove water from any flooding or leaks that may occur within the basement. This can be due to a variety of reasons such as heavy rainfall, malfunctioning plumbing fixtures, or burst pipes. The floor drain works by directing the water towards a pipe that leads the water out of the basement and away from the house.

Basement floor drains are usually equipped with a trap, which is a U-shaped device that holds a small amount of water to prevent gasses and odors from flowing into the house. The trap also helps to block any debris that may otherwise clog the pipe, preventing further damage to the plumbing system.

The trap and pipe system work together to ensure that water is channeled away from the home, preventing further damage to the plumbing system. Keeping these drains maintained is essential to ensure their proper operation and avoid costly repairs.

Why Is My Basement Floor Drain Backing Up?

If you have a basement floor drain backing up, it could be due to a number of issues, including:

Clogged main drain line

A clogged main drain line is among the most common causes of a basement floor drain backup. This backup in your basement arises when the sewer line that connects all the pipes from your home to the city sewer line or septic tank becomes clogged.

The blockage could be due to various debris such as hair, baby wipes, toilet paper, paper towels, tree roots, lint from washing clothes, and other waste matter stuck in the sewer lines. When water cannot flow out from the drain lines, it starts to back up and come out through the basement floor drains, causing sewage backups.

To resolve this issue, you need to call a professional plumber to perform a sewer drain cleaning. They will use a hydro jet to clear out the obstruction from the home's sewer line and ensure that the water flows out correctly.

Blocked floor drain

Your basement floor drain can also back up when the floor drain is obstructed. The blockage could be due to various debris stuck in the trap, such as dirt, hair, or soap residue. In some cases, the blockage could result from a nearby bathroom drain with an absent P-trap or water leak.

The first step to solving clogged drains is to inspect the floor drain and remove any debris surrounding it. However, if the problem persists, you may need to call a professional plumber to unclog basement floor drain fixtures and fix any damaged parts.

Poorly installed floor drain

At times, basement floor drain backups may occur due to poor installation of the drain system. For example, if your floor drain was not installed correctly, it may be uphill, preventing water from flowing out of the drain line. Also, if the diameter of the drain line is too small, it may not comfortably accommodate the water flow rate, which causes the backup in your basement.

The only solution here is to have the poorly installed floor drain reinstalled by a professional plumber.

Heavy rain

Lastly, a common factor that could lead to basement floor drain backup is heavy rain. During heavy rain, the soil can become saturated, causing ground-level flooding, an overflow in the sewage system, and water seeping into your basement. This can cause your basement floor drain to back up and lead to a flooded basement.

The best solution to this problem is to invest in a high-quality sump pump that can handle heavy rain. A sump pump can divert any excess water away from your basement and prevent flooding before the basement drain backs up.

Troubleshooting a Basement Floor Drain Backing Up

Do you have a basement floor drain that is backing up with water, sewage, or other unpleasant substances? This can be not only inconvenient but also potentially hazardous if the contaminated sewer water overflows, causing health or structural problems. Fortunately, you can try some troubleshooting methods to diagnose and fix the issue before calling a professional plumber.

Here are some steps to follow:

Identify the cause and extent of the backup in your basement

  • Is the drain the only one affected, or do other drains or toilets in the basement or upstairs, such as a wash tub basin or kitchen sink drains, also show signs of blockage or slow drainage?

  • Does the backup happen constantly or intermittently, especially after heavy rain or snow?

  • Does the water have a foul smell like sewer gasses, unusual color, or debris such as hair, grease, or paper?

  • Does the water recede slowly or not at all, indicating a complete blockage?

These clues can help you narrow down the possible cause of a backed up basement drain, which can range from a simple clog to a broken pipe or a flooded sewer line.

Try basic remedies to clear the clog

If the basement drain backup is caused by a localized clog, such as hair, soap, or food debris stuck in the trap or the pipe, you can use some tools or substances to dissolve or extract the blockage. Some options include:

  • A plunger: Use a sturdy plunger with a tight seal to create a vacuum and push or pull the clog out of the way.

  • A drain snake: Insert a flexible auger or wire into the drain and twist or wiggle it to dislodge the clog. You can buy or rent a handheld or electric snake from a hardware or rental store.

  • A natural drain cleaner: Mix a cup of baking soda with a cup of vinegar or lemon juice and pour it into the drain. Wait for it to fizz and bubble, then flush it with hot water. This may not work for severe or persistent clogs but can be safer and cheaper than chemical cleaners.

  • Boiling hot water: Pouring boiling water into the clogged house drain can also help loosen up a clog to prevent sewage backup and standing water.

  • Wet dry vacuum: You can also use a wet dry vacuum to suction out a sewage clog and other debris from within the floor drain.

Check and clean the main sewer line

If the backup persists or affects multiple drains or toilets, it may indicate a larger problem with the main sewer line that connects your house to the municipal or private sewer system. You can inspect the sewer line by removing the cleanout plug or cap near the foundation or the sewer line that exits your house. If you see water or sewage backing up from the line, or notice a foul smell, you need to hire a professional plumber or sewer cleaner to use a camera or a jetting machine to identify and remove the obstruction, as well as check for broken pipes and tree roots.

Troubleshooting a basement floor drain that is backing up requires some patience, observation, and some knowledge and tools. By following these steps, you may be able to diagnose and fix the issue without having to spend too much money or time, and be able to enjoy a dry and clean basement again. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us or consult a professional plumber or sewer cleaner.

Prevent Future Backups with Basement Drains

To ensure that basement floor drains function properly, it is essential to maintain them regularly. The trap should be cleaned regularly to prevent the accumulation of debris, which can result in clogs. In addition, homeowners should regularly inspect the floor drain for signs of damage and repair any leaks or cracks that may occur.

You can take some preventive measures to reduce the likelihood of a clogged basement drain, floor drain backups, and sewage leaks. For example, you can:

  • Avoid pouring grease, oil, coffee grounds, or other non-degradable substances into the drain.

  • Install screens or strainers on all your drains to catch hair, soap, and other solids.

  • Clean your drains regularly with a natural cleaner, following the instructions and precautions carefully.

  • Have your sewer line inspected and cleaned annually or whenever you notice unusual signs.

Get Help If You Have a Basement Drain Backing Up

A backed-up basement floor drain can be a significant inconvenience for any homeowner. Understanding the four reasons mentioned above that can cause this problem is the first step towards clogged drain repair resolution. If you ever find yourself in a situation where your basement floor drain backs up, do not hesitate to contact Jarboe's Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling. With our years of experience, our team of professionals will help you identify the root cause of the problem and ensure you get long-term solutions.

Related Reading