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Old House Basement Drain Clogged

What To Do If Your Basement Drain Is Clogged

How to Unclog Any Drain | Ask This Old House

If you have a basement bathroom, you are likely relying on a sewage pump to rid your home of the sewage. Unfortunately, the time may come when you find yourself with a basement drain clogged. When this occurs, a clogged sewer line in the basement can result in not only having you unable to use your basement bathroom but also in you having a disgusting mess to clean up. Now that youre wondering how to unclog a basement floor drain, we here at Boss Plumbing have the solution to your problem.

Keep Drains Clog Free

A much more straightforward solution to do is adjust your familys behavior to avoid clogged drains altogether. Avoid flushing wet wipes , paper towels, and feminine products down the toilet. Pour unused grease and oil, left over from cooking, into the garbage or in a disposable container rather than washing it down the kitchen sink drain.

You can search and check your city or municipalitys website for a safe disposal guide. Here is the guide from New York City as an example.

Backwater valves are another way to help prevent future sewage backups. They are one-way valves that let sewage pass out the drain, and it will not return or back up into your home.

Basement Clogged Drain Tips

Many basements have floor drains that will remove wastewater from washing machines, air conditioners, water heaters and other things like vehicles covered in snow. Just like other drains, these can collect scum and debris and require regular cleaning and maintenance. Here are a few basement plumbing tips when it comes to floor drains:

  • Clean your drains regularly. Clear them of visible debris and use an old toothbrush to scrub away substances and any dirt you see off the edges.

  • To further clean your drain, pour a bucket of boiling water down and wait 15 minutes. Then add a 16oz box of baking soda down the drain and make it fizzle by adding 3 cups of vinegar. Wait another 10 minutes and add 6 cups of boiling water slowly. Wash away what’s left of the vinegar and baking soda.

  • If you want to attempt clearing a clogged floor drain yourself, rent a power auger with 50 ft or more of cable and follow the instructions for use.

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What To Do When Your Basement Drain Is Clogged With Dirt Or Mud

Basement drain clogged with dirt could make your house flood, if not treated on time. Some DIY ways to unclog the basement drain include dish detergent and the baking soda+ vinegar method.

If you have ever lived in a house with a basement, you would know the fantasy. Basements are different from the whole house. And they react to everything differently too. You might have noticed your basement is a little colder than the rest of the house.

And you also might see your basement walls molded at some points. This could happen when you have sewerage issues in your house.

Basements might not be that common in houses these days, but there are still many houses, built with old structures, and they have basements. And when you have a basement, it means there is a basement drain, which is responsible to stream all the dirty water out of the house safely.

How To Unclog A Lavatory Sink

Clogged Drain Pipes In Basement

Plungers are excellent at unclogging sinks, but its important to use the right technique. All code-compliant lavatory sinks have overflows an inch or so from the rim, and plunging often results with pressure coming back through the overflow instead of pushing the clog. Cover this hole with a rag and hand pressure while plunging to take advantage of the hydraulic pressure.

When the plunger wont do the trick, it might be necessary to use a wire drain snake. To use a drain snake, remove the pop-up assembly in the sink and gently feed the wire into the drain while cranking the handle. Once the snake makes a bit of progress, advance a bit more wire from the snake and continue. This will break the clog up and push it through the pipe.

For bathrooms with dual sinks, the sink drains often meet together at a T or Y fitting. In sinks with T fittings, a snake fed through one sink drain can run across the pipes and into the other sink, rather than running down the drain toward the clog. In those cases, it might be necessary to cut out the T, snake the drain, and then replace the fitting with a Y-type fitting.

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Basement Floor Drain Backing Up Heres How To Fix It

There are few things more unpleasant for a homeowner to deal with than backed-up sewage on the basement floor. This foul-smelling problem must be addressed immediately, but that doesnt mean it has to cost you a lot of money.

While hiring a plumber to fix a clogged basement floor drain is the easy way out, it will cost you between $200 and $500. 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.

In this article, well review methods for clearing clogged basement drains, what causes these types of clogs to begin with, and what steps you can take to prevent future clogs once the current problem is fixed. Basement floor drain backing up? Heres how to fix It.


Cleaning Floor And Basement Drains

Clogged floor and basement drains pose special problems. Access to the pipes from below is restricted. Basement drains and any drain that may flow either directly into the ground or to storm drain runoff should always have backflow prevention devices installed. Backflow prevention devices work by plugging up the drain if water starts to flow the wrong way, thus preventing water backing up and flooding your basement.

Most floor drains however will be connected to pipes carrying wastewater and sewage away from the house. When this is the case, the drain will have a trap somewhere nearby along the line. In sinks, showers and tubs the trap is just underneath, but floor drains may flow horizontally some distance before meeting the gas trap. Floor drain traps are U-shaped, with pipes flowing to and from the drain meeting the U on the sides. The U itself is capped on both ends with threaded plugs, which can be removed to provide access to the pipes surrounding the trap. Floor drain traps often have only these end-caps exposed, with the pipes running below the floor. To find the U-trap for your floor drain, look nearby for two large capped end-pipes.

You do not necessarily need to open or even locate the trap for your floor drain in order to clear a clog and restore freely flowing drainage. Follow the suggestions here to determine what is required for your situation.

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Why A Basement Floor Drain Is So Important

  • Retroactive installation is messy and expensive

  • Will not solve all of your basement moisture issues

  • Blocked drain can create even greater problems

In any part of the home other than the basement, internal flooding water has somewhere to go: either laterally or down. Flooding water is a huge mess, but not as disastrous as it could be because the water does have an escape route.

In a basement, the water has nowhere to go. With concrete walls and earth on all sides, a full basement is a basin. In the event of flooding, the water will rise and can potentially fill the entire basement until it reaches an escape route such as a basement window or ground-level.

Basements are water-prone both from internal sources and from exterior sources, such as groundwater runoff. A basement drain captures water and drains it off long before it has time to build up and damage the basement.

Inspection Requirements Vary By Locality

Basement Floor Drain Clean Out Plug Removal

Just as local codes vary, so do sewer inspection requirements. In some areas an inspection of certain sewer work may not even be required. Even your responsibility as a property owner varies by jurisdiction. In many areas, such as NYC you are responsible for the entire length of run of your house sewer, including up to the connecting point. Yet in other areas you may be limited to up to the curb line, or your property boundary. If you live outside of the NYC area, check with your local authority.

In NYC all house sewer work is governed by the DEP House Inspection Unit. All work that requires a permit requires an on-site inspection, and a written sign-off. DEP inspections must be arranged by a Licensed Master Plumber at least one day ahead of time. In NYC the DEP inspector also acts to ensure a safe job site, proper materials, and of course proper pitch of pipe.

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What Causes A Basement Floor Drain Clog

Your basement floor drain is located at the lowest point of your basement, and its job is to direct any water safely away from the house and to the sewer system or municipal storm drain system. This keeps your basement floor dry and prevents flooding, which may damage personal belongings. Common causes of water in the basement include a leaking HVAC system or water heater, or a leak in the foundation caused by heavy rain.

Just like any drain in your home, basement floor drains are prone to clogging, even more so because dirt, pet hair, and other debris may easily be taken down the floor drain when water is present. Some homeowners even make the mistake of sweeping their basement dirt into the floor drains, which is something you definitely want to avoid. A basement drain may also clog because of a mainline clog, broken or damaged pipes, or water flow problems.

Water Is Backing When:

  • 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.

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Tools Youll Need To Unclog A Drain

  • The first tool to reach for when trouble arises is a plunger. This plumbers friend clears clogs from most fixtures, including sinks, tubs, and toilets. Every homeowner should keep one handy.
  • To dislodge clogs located farther down the drainpipe, use a cable auger, or plumbers snake, a long, flexible steel cable wound around a spool thats fitted with a hand crank. Cable augers are available in lengths up to 100 feet, though a 25-foot model will suffice for most any household clog.
  • A closet auger is specifically made for snaking out toilets. It, too, is equipped with a hand crank, but instead of a spool, the cable is encased in a rigid shaft. The auger end is bent at a precise angle to fit through the tight curves of a toilet trap.
  • For a very large clog or one thats far from the fixture, rent an electric power auger. This machinebasically a large cable auger powered by an electric motoris very effective at cutting through virtually any clog, even tangled tree roots. Before bringing home a power auger, be sure the rental agent shows you how to safely dispense and retrieve the cable.
  • Prevent Frozen And Burst Water Pipes

    American Waterworks

    As a condo owner, you can play your part in protecting yourself and other residents from the risk of frozen and burst pipes during the winter season by regularly running hot and cold water. You can choose to have the hot water drip slowly in the dead of winter to help generate enough heat within the plumbing system to prevent freezing. Keeping the water flowing also prevents it from being still and forming ice in the pipes. If the pipes freeze or burst, the property manager should be responsible for getting the problem fixed.

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    Unclog And Clean Main Sewage Line

    If you have a main sewer line that is susceptible to clogs, then its best to clean it about once a year as a preventative measure. Invest in a manual plumber snake and run it through the line following the method described above. Running the auger through the line will help break up any build-up that is beginning to form before it has the chance to create a clog and cause backflow.

    Another preventative measure is to use enzyme cleaners to keep the drain clear by dumping it directly into the drain. Enzyme cleaners help prevent build-up in the lines and are much safer for the environment than chemical cleaners.

    How To Clear A Floor Drain

    In many basements, garages, and laundry rooms there are floor drains that carry away wastewater from central air conditioners, washing machines, water heaters, and snow-covered cars.

    Over time, these drains collect large quantities of soap scum, laundry lint, sand, and slimy bacteria that crystallize inside the long drainpipe. To break through these tough blockages, youll need the extra clog-clearing muscle of an electric power auger.

    • Rent a power auger with at least 50 feet of cable. Start by removing the strainer that covers the drain hole.
    • Then, look for a clean-out plug on the side of the drain basin.
    • Remove the plug with a wrench. That allows you to bypass the trap and feed the cable directly down the pipe.
    • If the drain doesnt have a clean-out plug, youll have to snake the cable through the trap this is a somewhat more difficult approach.

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    House Sewer Trap Clogs And Seepage

    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.

    Types Of House Sewer Lines

    How to Diagnose Plumbing Drain Problems | Ask This Old House

    House sewer lines basically have only two types of different destinations. The vast majority of homes inside towns, cities, and developed areas are connected to a public sewer system. In obscure areas, out of the way places, or for relatively inaccessible lots, septic systems may still be utilized. A septic system is essentially a private waste water treatment system. It is one in which there is one owner, and all the cost of maintaining the system is absorbed by that one owner. This as opposed to many hundreds, if not thousands of properties being connected to a pubic sewer system.

    A public sewer system is maintained by taxes collected from these many taxpayers. That said, typically under both circumstances, individual property owners must pay to maintain and repair the sewer pipes for their individual home sewer lines.

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    Why Is My Basement Drain Backing Up

    Date posted: February 28, 2020 ,Author: Peak Sewer ,Categories: Blog , Drainage

    Figuring out why your basement draining is backing up takes a lot of guesswork since the root causes are usually located in the deep dark recesses of your drain lines. Simple do-it-yourself cleaning and repairs may alleviate minor issues but more serious problems need proper inspection and repair.

    The following are common causes of basement drain back ups. While some issues may involve an easy fix, others require more specialized tools and expertise to correctly diagnose and repair the issue.

    Professionals That Can Provide Service At Any Time Of The Day

    There are now many competent contractors in Ontario that provide drain repair services. However, not all can be readily available to offer the service at any time of the day.

    A damaged or clogged up water pipe line cannot wait for business hours. The repair has to occur right away. It is necessary that you find professionals that can peovide these services at any time of the day.

    From a regular bathtub, kitchen area sink to storm drain pipes, it will always be convenient knowing the repair company can always arrive right away.

    An experienced plumber can deal with any drain repair, leak or obstruction. It is essential that the Ontario contractor you choose has many years of experience.

    There are some drain repairs that require special equipment and machines. Specifically when some important parts of the pipes or drain are damaged. All the training, skills and competence will show in the work.

    A great team can quickly deal with any type of drain repair. Be it a residential or industrial drain repair, a skilled company in Ontario can do efficient and quality work.

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