Tuesday, December 5, 2023
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How To Fix Basement Drain Backing Up

Why Does My Floor Drain Back Up

Basement Drain Backing Up & How to Fix it!

A backed up floor drain can be mystifying. I wrote a blog post explaining the basics of floor drains over eight years ago, and Ive received more comments on that post than any other. The majority of those comments were from people trying to understand why water was backing up out of their floor drain.

Reason : Backup Of A Wash Tub Basin Or Washing Machine

Not every home has a washtub basin but if you do, this can backup. A washtub basin is in the basement or laundry room and looks like a sink and used for soaking clothes. It could be that sediment and debris have clogged the drain. A washing machine can have the same issue, but it may be in the hose.

How to fix it: You can use a plunger to try to unclog it if it is possibly sediment or debris. If this doesnt work, you may need to take out the drain to clean it and use an electric snake. This may not be easy to do and require assistance. The other thing you can do is install a strainer on the drain if you dont have one. If none of these solutions work, contact a professional for help.

Key Information About A Backed Up Drain

If you have a backed-up drain, then acting quickly is critical. Part of this is diagnosing and understanding exactly what has gone wrong. Central to this is knowing how drains work. The more information you have, the more prepared you will be to address the issue at hand. Generally, therefore, there are certain key facts that you need to bear in mind when it comes to a backed-up drain.

The first key point to note is…

that a basement floor drain that backs up is normally a sign that there are larger issues at play within your plumbing system. While this can be true of any drain that backs up in your home, a basement floor drain is a particularly good sign that there is a bigger problem elsewhere. Basement floor drains are designed to quickly and efficiently remove water from your basement if they are not functioning properly, it means you have a large blockage elsewhere in the system.

The second key point is…

that if you notice water in your basement or anywhere in your home and you suspect a backed-up drain, the first place you should look is the basement floor drain. This is by far the most common source of water when it comes to flooding. After all, if this drain is not blocked, then it will usually siphon off excess water from another blocked drain. Its when this is backed up too that you have real problems.

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Sewer Line Damage And Floor Drain Backups Differences: Not All Basement Drain Backing Up Issues Are Equal

Floor drains can also back up when clogs lie deeper in a homes plumbing system, like somewhere in the sewer line. Similar to drain line clogs, sewer line clogs will stop the flow of wastewater. With nowhere to go, wastewater will back up until it finds the nearest release point, which will be a floor drain or the lowest drain in a home.

Sometimes, clogs have nothing to do with floor drain backups. That can happen when:

  • A sewer line has cracks or holes.
  • A sewer line is bellied, sagging, or collapsed.
  • Tree roots have misaligned or infiltrated the sewer line.

In all of these cases, the sewer line will have a blockage that acts like a clog in that it forces wastewater to back up into a home. Unlike a clog, however, sewer line damage can require far more work to fix.


When sewer lines become obstructed, whereby preventing wastewater from flowing through drainage pipes, blockage occurs. The thick, black water that forms as sewage is a potential hazard, as it contains contaminants and viruses that can present a risk of severe illness if exposed to humans or animals. If you have a sewage backup in your basement, you will need to fix it quickly. However, knowing what causes sewer backups can help you prevent a hazardous situation in your basement or home. Heres how to prevent and handle sewage backups in your pipes:


Water Is Backing When:

My Basement Drain Is Backing Up
  • Washing Clothes . A washing machine is a great indicator of a clog in the main drain line, especially if its located in the basement.When a washing machine drains, it rapidly releases 20 to 30 gallons of water into your homes main drain. Even a moderate clog will likely cause a backflow, sending water out of the drain and onto the basement floor.
  • When Toilet Is Flushed. Although todays toilets use about a quarter of the water older toilets do, putting much less pressure on the main sewer line per flush, they still can exacerbate a clog in the line since they carry solid waste with them.
  • When Kitchen Sink Drains. When you pull the plug on a kitchen sink full of water, it sends about 32 liters of water through the drain, putting pressure on that 4-inch line. If water backs up when the sink drains, its a good indication of a clog.
  • After Shower. The average shower lasts about 8 minutes and uses about 17 gallons of water. Thats a lot of water for your main drain to handle. If theres an obstruction in the mainline, a shower will cause soapy water to back up into the basement.

Recommended Reading: How To Unclog The Shower Drain

Contact B& w For Drain Clogging Services

If your floor drain is clogged, contact the professional plumbers at B& W for reliable repair services. We offer a full array of plumbing repair, maintenance, and installation services for your Indianapolis area home or business. For problems including sewer line repair, hot water heater installation, and more, the team of professional experts at B& W can help. Contact us today to schedule plumbing service.

Family owned and operated, B& W brings the integrity, hard work and family values you expect from a family business that stands for something. Not mom and pop, mind you, but a family run business that’s one of the most experienced plumbing, heating and cooling companies in the region.B& W

Ventilation Of The House

While biohazards present in raw sewage are generally not airborne, the fumes are caustic, noxious and may trigger allergic reactions in individuals. Sewage has a particularly penetrating odor, as well, that may persist if it is absorbed by household materials. Open as many windows as you can safely reach and, if power is still present, run fans to flush the home with fresh air and reduce infiltration of sewer fumes as much as possible.

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Main Causes Of Sewage Backup In The Basement

If sewer lines become blocked, the prevention of wastewater flowing through the drainage pipes is inevitable. A solid black water forms due to this blockage, and it can put your home and your family at serious risk due to the many viruses and contaminants present. These can put your loved ones and animals at risk of severe illness, so fixing these issues is a very time-sensitive issue.

If you notice that your sewage is backed up in your basement, you will need to fix it immediately. But, knowing the cause of these blockages and backups are very helpful, and we are here to help you identify any problems that you may have, what they are, how they were caused, and what you can do! Heres how to avoid and control sewage backups in your pipes:

The Use Of Basement Floor Drains

How to Resolve Basement Floor Drain Backup | ExpressRooter Toronto Plumber

Basement floor drains in homes help with removing water from central air conditioning, washing machines and water heaters. But as time goes in, the debris that builds up is enough to clog your floor drain. As such, it might cause flooding in your own home. This is something you dread because you dont want any part of your home damaged by something you can actually prevent.

Your basement floor drain is the final destination of all the pipes in your home. So it is not unusual for it to get clogged given what flows through your pipes. But even if that is the case, there are ways to make sure that it doesnt happen. Then again, there are moments when what you dread happens and theres nothing for you to do then to try and fix it.

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House Sewer Trap Clogs And Seepage

Main house sewer trap

Water emanating from your house trap must be dealt with carefully. Do not just randomly start removing the plugs on your main house trap. That can truly lead to a drain disaster. For instance, removing the street side plug when the public sewer sewer is backed up will quickly introduce all that city sewer waste water into your basement. And after you remove that plug, it is unlikely you will be able to put it back on.

The simplest sewer trap back up to cure is when the trap itself is clogged. That is cured by opening the street side plug, then the house side plug. This is done to allow any sewer water backed up under the basement floor to escape over the trap itself. Then the belly of the trap can be cleared out. Again, this is task best left to a professional to avoid a flood of sewer water.

In other cases there may be a clog down the line from the main house sewer. In yet other cases the trap itself may be worn. The sewer trap may have to be replaced, or the plugs replaced. A quick fix handyman special usually is just a waste of time, and frequently results in sewer gases escaping into your home.

A test plug is form fitting and water tight

What To Do Immediately After Finding A Sewage Backup In Your Basement

There are some essential safety precautions to take when dealing with a sewage backup in your basement.

  • If theres basement flooding, turn off the electricity in the flooded area.
  • Shut off the water line
  • Wear protective gear like a facemask and boots if you have to walk through sewage water.
  • Avoid using your toilets and sinks for the time being to prevent toilet overflowing and further sewer backup.
  • Sewage backups are more than just unpleasant smelly messes. They can also be dangerous, since sewer water is labeled as category 3 water. Your family should leave your home until the sewage removal is complete.

    Under most circumstances, you should let a professional clean up a sewer backup in your basement. However, if the damage is fairly minimal and the flooding/backup isnt severe, try following our steps to clean up your flooded basement.

    Sewage Backups can be ugly!

    Also Check: How To Get Tub Drain Out

    The 5 Main Causes Of Backed Up Sewer Lines In Basements

    Sewer water backing up in your basement can be from numerous causes, and it typically takes a professional to figure out the root cause. In addition, a novice searching for the cause of a basement sewer back up can frequently exasperate the situation. Tampering with any piece of plumbing without the proper knowledge usually leads to trouble, and drain lines are no different. What follows are the 5 main culprits that cause backups in a basement.

    Problems With Clogged Basement Drains

    How To Unclog A Basement Drain Without A Snake

    If you experience a clogged basement floor drain and need to fix it quickly, address the problem immediately through DIY methods or by contacting a professional plumber. Never use harsh chemicals to treat clogged basement drains, as they will usually only make the problem worse. Standing water in the lowest level of your home can cause a number of issues, including:

    • Damage to floors and walls
    • Damage to personal property, including furniture and valuable family items, like photo albums
    • Mold growth, which may lead to health issues

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    Basement Drain Backing Up Costs

    So how much does it cost to unclog a main sewer line? These services will generally cost between $200 and $500, but if damaged pipes need to be replaced, the price may increase into the thousands.

    Given that basement drains often present a more complex clog removal than sink, toilet, or bath clogs, that price is typically on the high end. But dont open up that checkbook just yet. There are plenty of ways to clear that clog without forking over all that money for a plumber.

    Accumulation Of Dirt And Debris

    As your basement drainage line gets used through the years, it can start accumulating dirt and debris to a point of developing a clog. Sediment, dust, and other things flowing through your drain pipe collect until things cant drain easily.

    In cases like these, you need to be able to locate the clog, dislodge it or clean it out, and your water flow should begin draining again like normal.

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    Clogs In The Vent Stack

    The vent stack is a pipe that sticks out of your roof and is an important part of your homeâs plumbing system.

    The vent stack provides an opening that allows the entry and exit of air. This regulates the air pressure in your plumbing system, enabling wastewater to flow smoothly and awful odors to escape.

    Sometimes, the vent stack can become clogged, resulting in reduced air pressure in the plumbing system. This can result in slow drainage, toilet bubbles, and drain backup, especially if the drain line is located in the basement.

    What Causes A Sewage Backup

    How to prevent a floor drain from backing up in the basement(2021)

    Clogs, buildups in pipes from grease, or improperly flushed items, such as paper towels or single-use wipes, are common causes of sewage backup. Damage to the sewer lines can also cause a sewage backup because it prevents water from flowing correctly. A strong storm with heavy rain can also overwhelm the city sewer system with water and result in backups into peoples homes.

    Read Also: My Sink Won T Drain But Isn T Clogged

    Remove All Debris From The Trap

    Locate where the backflow preventer is in your basement then remove its cap. Use a chisel to loosen the ring and the backflow ball, then grab your shop vacuum and suck up all the build up and sediment in the trap.

    Once fully cleaned, remove the clean out plug. Next, attach a strong cable to a power drill then spin it around the pipes opening, hopefully clearing any clogs.

    Clean Up After A Basement Sewer Back Up

    After unclogging the sewer line, the next thing you will need to do is to clean up the basement to make the house safe to live in, prevent water damage as well as keep mold and mildew at bay.

    The first thing will be to remove standing water using towels and/or wet dry vacuum. When the water has been removed, collect all the affected solids that cannot be salvaged and trash them.

    After removing standing water and solid waste, it is now time to disinfect the basement to kill the germs still left on surfaces.

    Start by cleaning every inch of the affected area using warm water and soap. Next use a mixture of bleach and water to wipe down all the surfaces in order to disinfect them. It is a lot of work but you must do it to protect your family.

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    Home Remedies To Clear A Clogged Basement Floor Drain

    There are several home remedies to clear a clogged basement drain. First, you should have a bucket and trash can ready. Then, use a flashlight to shine into the drain to see whats blocking it. If you see a lot of hair or grease, you can use a bend coat hanger to pull it out of the drain. Next, use a plunger to remove the remaining debris.

    Another home remedy for clogged drains is Coca-Cola. It contains phosphoric acid that helps break up the buildup that clogs drains. Pour the whole 2-liter bottle down the drain, allow it to sit for about an hour, and then flush the drain with boiling water. This method is not only toxic, but it is also not environmentally friendly. You should always consult a professional plumber before using any of these home remedies to clear a clogged basement floor drain.

    A plunger is another option for unclogging a purged basement floor drain. The plunger should be used in conjunction with a drain auger cable. In a clogged drain, the auger cable should be fed into the drain and reeled back. The idea is to pull out the gunk. If this isnt enough, you should contact a Donley plumbing expert for help.

    If youve tried using a plunger and smearing the plunger with petroleum jelly, you can try pouring some water into the drain and see if the clog has cleared up. If its still a stubborn problem, you should call a professional plumber for help. You can also try using a plumbers wrench to remove the cleanout cap in the drain.

    Flooded Basement How To Deal With Common Causes

    19 Awesome Basement Floor Drain Backing Up Water

    Wet basement problems can cost you thousands of dollars. Here are steps to help identify the source of the water and ways to minimize your risk.

    Unexpected water in your basement can damage walls and floors, destroy carpeting, ruin furniture and lead to mold. As these spaces are so often used for storage, a wet basement can ruin irreplaceable items like photo albums, antiques and family heirlooms. It is important to determine if it is safe to leave items in areas that may flood and also to take precautions to prevent the risk of flooding.

    Due to the risk of electrocution, if your basement floods, itâs essential to avoid going into the flooded basement until you know the electricity is turned off.

    When you experience a flooded basement for the first time, itâs important to determine if the water problems are going to recur or if it was a one-time event. If water in your basement is a consistent problem, itâs time to start making decisions. Determining where the water is coming from is the first and most essential step in solving this problem.

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