Monday, November 27, 2023
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Why Is My Basement Drain Backing Up

How Do I Immediately Handle A Basement Drain Backing Up

Basement Drain Backing Up & How to Fix it!

There are some safety measures that you must put into mind when a basement drain starts backing up. The basement laundry room is still connected to an electricity circuit and there are also soft wood structures and furniture that must be taken cared of or must be put somewhere else.

When backflow in the basement drain happens, here are the tips that you should remember:

  • Turn off appliances and the main fuse to avoid electrocution in the flooded area.
  • You may also shut off the main water line if you are not sure yet about what is causing the basement drain to back up.
  • If your basement shelters a laundry room and a bathroom, it is best not to use the sink or toilet while the water is backing up because your water use might add to the sewers load.
  • If sewage odor comes off while the basement drain is backing up, wear gloves and face masks before doing any sort of de-clogging.

Related: How To Clean Up Flooded Basement

How To Head Off Basement Drain Backups

You cant guarantee it wont ever happen, but you can reduce the chances of a floor drain flooding the basement. Try these tips for heading off basement drain backups.

Install a backwater valve that automatically senses and reverses backflow in home sewer pipes.

Inspect the valve every three months or after a drain backup incident.

Clean the basement floor drain regularly, and routinely check to makes sure it isnt blocked.

Too Much Water Drained

Sometimes the problem is simply too much water for the drain to handle. Most main sewer pipes are 4 inches in diameter and can handle more than 160 gallons per minute, which is much more than a home can produce even when a full washing machine is emptying and several water faucets are open.

Other factors can decrease that capacity, such as older pipes with narrower diameters, partial clogs, and build-up, all of which can decrease the pipes flow rate and cause backflow when too much water is drained at one time.

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What To Do If You Have A Sewer Backup In Your Basement

If you’re reading this blog, there’s a high chance that you are already dealing with sewage backup in your basement. If this is the case, here’s what you need to do.

Firstly, try to shut off power to the basement. If your breaker box is in the basement and you can’t reach it safely, then skip this step.

You should also evacuate your family and pets, as contact with untreated sewage water can pose a number of health hazards. Besides this, try to get ventilation to the area.

Then, turn off the mains water supply to your home and avoid using the taps, toilets, or drains.

Once you have the situation temporarily under control, the next step is to call in a professional team to clean up the area. You should also notify your insurance company of the event and find out whether you’re covered for a sewer backup. Lastly, you must find a reliable plumbing and construction team to come in and fix the issue that caused the basement drain to backup.

If you can’t afford to call in a professional clean-up team, you can opt to undertake the job yourself. However, you will need to equip yourself with a suit, gloves, and a respirator, and be prepared to thoroughly sterilize the area.

When it comes to fixing the problem that’s causing the sewage to back up, this shouldn’t be a DIY job. If you don’t get it professionally diagnosed and repaired, you may face another sewage backup down the line. You could also potentially damage your plumbing system if you try to fix the issue yourself.

What A Plumber Might Do

My Basement Drain Is Backing Up

If the blockage is caused by root systems invading the sewer line, they may use specialized chemicals to kill the root systems. This can be the most expensive issue, with severe cases requiring the replacement of pipes.

While it is possible to buy these tools as a consumer, we dont recommend you trying to tackle this problem yourself. Misusing these tools can cause damage to your sewer line, which can end up being way more costly.

When speaking with the plumber, inquire about the cost of installing a backwater valve in your basement floor drain. A backwater valve will seal the drain when sewage begins to back up, preventing a messy cleanup.

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Why You Should Call In Professionals

Most flooded basements belong in the hands of industry professionals who know how to handle floor drain problems. A licensed plumber uses high-tech tools to identify the source of the backup. He or she quickly gets the situation under control and makes necessary repairs so that you can start the cleanup process.

A certified restoration company specializes in contaminated water removal. Highly trained teams sanitize and disinfect areas impacted by sewage backups. Restoration technicians also tear out and replace damaged materials, and they follow through with mold removal and remediation.

If the drain backup is small, you might be able to take care of it. If you have any doubts about dealing with your homes sewer line and contaminated water, call in the pros.

How To Prevent Future Backups

  • Maintain the basement drain as well as other drains in the home. This can be done by scheduling drain cleaning maintenance with a professional.
  • Drano can be harsh on the pipes so anytime you have a clog, you can do the following, which is safe.
    • Use ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of distilled white vinegar.
    • Pour these in the drain.
    • Put a stopper over the concoction and keep it there for 30 minutes while a foam forms.
    • Once 30 minutes is up, take the stopper out and use a plunger.
    • Create a seal with the plunger and move it up and down several times to try to get the clog out.
    • Then, run warm water in the drain for a couple of minutes.
    • Repeat the steps of the plunger and the water if the clog remains.

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    Can You Get Sick From Backed Up Sewage

    Yes, it is possible to get sick from backed up sewage. Sewage contains a variety of bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause a range of illnesses. Uncontained sewage can also contain heavy metals, chemicals, and human waste which can be hazardous if ingested or come into contact with the skin.

    Additionally, sewage gases such as methane can be hazardous in confined spaces. The illnesses caused by contact with raw sewage include digestive disorders, skin rash and infections, fever, eye infections, and infections of the mouth and respiratory tract.

    Therefore, if sewage is backed up in your home or an area you are in, it is best to seek medical assistance and take precautions against contact with the material.

    Where Can A Basement Drain Back Up In Your Home Come From

    How to Resolve Basement Floor Drain Backup | ExpressRooter Toronto Plumber

    How many things are more unpleasant for homeowners to face than a backed-up basement drain? If the problem is not fixed quickly, sewage water can start to rise in your basement, creating an unsanitary and dangerous environment. this can lead to mold, mildew, or even a trip and fall accident. Knowing where a basement drain can back up from, and the typical causes of such backups can help you take steps to prevent them.

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    How To Clear A Basement Floor Drain Clog

    If you discover your basement floor drain is clogged, its important to clear the blockage immediately to reduce the risks of flooding. Heres what to do:

    Try a Plunger: A minor clog should clear after a few strong pumps with a plunger. Place the plunger cup so it completely covers the drain opening, and then go for it!

    Baking Soda & Vinegar: Plunger didnt do the trick? Try pouring baking soda down the drain, then chase it with a healthy amount of white vinegar.

    Snake the Drain: If you have a drain auger, feed the cable into the drain until you meet resistance, then turn the cable and try to reel back whatever is clogging the drain. Remember, the idea is to pull gunk out, not push it further down.

    If you are unable to remove the clog from the basement floor drain on your own, contact a professional and a Donley plumbing professional will come to the rescue!

    Locate The Sewer Cleanout Pipe

    Plumbers will need to access this pipe to unclog the sewer line. By preemptively finding it, you can save time that the plumber might charge for.

    The sewer cleanout pipe is usually in the backyard, but in colder climates it may be inside the home or garage. To find yours, walk around your house looking for a pipe jutting straight upwards. Usually, these are white or black PVC.

    Since it isnt used often, it may not be immediately apparent. Check under bushes and other overgrowth that may be covering it.

    In colder climates, the sewer cleanout line may be located indoors. In these cases, it will usually be a good distance away from living spaces garage, basement, and utility closets are all common.

    Once youve located yours, remove the cap if possible. This should relieve some pressure in the sewer line.

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    Basic Basement Floor Drain Maintenance

    Cleaning drains at least once a quarter will keep them healthy and working properly. If necessary, use a safe, liquid drain cleaner to remove the remaining debris. If your basement floor drains have not been cleaned in a while or youre experiencing other drain issues, to find out whats blocking the drain, and have them remove any clogs for you.

    Install A Backwater Valve

    Why Is Water Coming Up From My Basement Drain

    Placed directly into the sewer line, a backwater valve automatically closes if sewage backs up from the main sewer. Contact a licensed plumber to install an approved backwater prevention valve. Ask your local municipality for information on approved backwater valves and available rebates. You might even save on your home insurance premium!

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    Basement Showers Bathtubs Or Toilet Backups

    A backed up sewer line in basement first becomes visually apparent from low lying plumbing fixtures. So again, a tub, shower, or toilet in your basement may be the first place you see a back up, but not the cause itself. Resist trying to play around with delicate plumbing fixtures unless you are absolutely 100% sure they are clogged. Just like a basement floor drain, the root culprit of the clog is probably further down in your drain system.

    Home Improvement Ideas To Help Prevent Water Damage

    Whether it’s a plumbing leak, roof leak or a basement filled with water, water damage can require a costly fix. Here are a few home improvements to make water damage less likely:

    • Add or update drainage. Use gutters and downspouts to make sure water is diverted away from your home and its foundation.
    • The easiest solutions to overflowing gutters are to either add another downspout on that run of gutter or to increase the size of the downspout. The best solution between these two is probably adding another downspout the second downspout can act as a backup if the first one gets blocked.
    • If you choose to replace the existing downspout with a larger one, make sure the contractor increases the size of the corresponding hole in the gutter.
  • Install a sump pump. Try this addition if water damage has been a serious problem in your home’s lower level. Choose a cast iron sump pump, which may last longer, and consider buying a backup battery-powered pump in case the power goes out. Test your pump twice a year or as suggested by the manufacturer.
  • Replace your pipes. Much home piping has a lifespan of 50 to 80 years, so if you have an older house, ask a plumber to check its condition. PVC pipes may need to be replaced every 25 to 40 years.
  • Install a water leak detection system. An automatic water shut-off valve is a water leak detection system that will shut off the water supply to the home when it detects water on the floor or an irregular flow in the pipe.
  • Start a Quote

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    Sure Signs Of Basement Drain Trouble

    You can sometimes spot small drainage problems before they turn into puddles of sewer water in the basement. Watch out for these early warning signs of floor drain trouble.

    Water comes up into the basement drain after rain storms.

    The basement drain backs up when youre washing clothes.

    When toilets are flushed upstairs, you hear a gurgling sound in the drain.

    Sinks and tubs begin to empty more slowly than usual.

    The floor drain looks clear, but the basement smells like sewage.

    Reason : Damage To Sewer Lines


    You might not succeed with the above method, unfortunately. In this case, you may find yourself in the worst-case scenario. Damage to a sewage line is the most common cause of drain backups in basements.

    This problem can have profound implications. This generally occurs when the issue is not addressed promptly. Moreover, keep in mind that repairing broken sewer lines is a costly job.


    Unfortunately, this issue cant be fixed by the users generally because this is something internal that needs to be inspected and treated professionally. Thats why you must consult the experts in this field who can check and resolve the issue.

    Tip: While unclogging your sewer lines, consider unclogging your washroom. Because your clogged toilet can also drain water which is even more annoying.

    We are also recommending some pipe threading kits for plumbing if you need any:

    Ratcheting Pipe Threader Tool Kit

    These are all reasons and solutions to this problem. We have to wrap up now!

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    Toilets Showers And Sinks:

    A drain backup in your basement can be caused by your most-used plumbing fixtures. If any of these fixtures are not draining properly, the water has nowhere to go but up. While these low-lying fixtures could be the cause of your backup, it is also likely that the problem lies further down the line in your drainage system. Clogs in a main underground drain will rise from the lowest point of access. In a basement that would be a shower, sink, or toilet. Always remember, water seeks its own level.

    What Did We Learn

    When your basement drain backs up when washing clothes, it is usually due to a blockage in the drainpipe. You can easily remove debris in the basement drain using a shop vac or using a snake or auger. Before using any plumbing tools, always inspect the drain with a flashlight in case the blockage is at the top.

    If your drainpipe is fine, carefully inspect your plumbing vent pipe on the roof. Remove any blockages using an auger or a snake just like with a drainpipe. However, in some cases, the blockage is not the cause of your basement drain backing up when washing clothes.

    Replacing drainpipes may be necessary if you cannot find any blockages in the line or in the plumbing vent. Contact a plumber if there is nothing apparent causing a blockage or if your drainpipe is only 1 ½ in diameter.

    Regular check-ups from a plumber can prevent serious issues and will keep your basement drain in top shape.

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    Hydrostatic Pressure Caused By Groundwater

    A couple things you may encounter and need to check on in some homes include:

    • Groundwater: If no surface water sources are found, then the source of the water is likely subsurface groundwater under hydrostatic pressure. Unfortunately, subsurface groundwater problems are more difficult and more expensive to fix than surface groundwater problems. When the groundwater levels outside the basement rise above the level of the floor, the basement acts like a boat in a pond. If a boat is sitting in water, water will leak in through any open cracks or holes. It works the same way with a basement. Hydrostatic pressure can push water through hairline cracks. Symptoms of this are water coming up through cracks in the basement concrete floor or water coming in at multiple locations.
    • Location of the drain system: You may have an older house in town that has a basement and no sump pump. If so, it’s likely the perimeter foundation drain system connects directly into the city storm sewer system. If the level of the basement is below the street level, there is the potential of storm water backing up in the city storm sewer system and being pushed into the perimeter foundation drain system. This can saturate the soils around the house at the basement level with storm water under hydrostatic pressure, causing water to leak in.

    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.

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