Tuesday, December 5, 2023
HomeFactsWhy Is My Floor Drain Backing Up

Why Is My Floor Drain Backing Up

House Sewer Trap Clogs And Seepage

Basement Drain Backing Up & How to Fix it!

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

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.

What To Do If Your Main Sewer Drain Is Clogged

Don’t run the water or flush the toilet! If you don’t add water to your drain system, you can’t make the problem worse . As an added precaution, you can shut off the main water supply to the house so that no one runs the water by accident. Tell everyone in the house not to use water, then call a plumber or drain specialist to have the drain cleared. These professionals have special equipment, including motorized augers, to quickly and effectively remove large clogs in the main sewer drains.

The Spruce / Kevin Norris

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How To Prevent Floor Drain Backups

Backups are disruptive and you should avoid them as much as possible. However, not everything is within our control, but we can reduce the risk. Anything that can cause clogs should not be permitted to get into the plumbing system. Placing strainers on every drain and clean them regularly. Regular cleaning by a professional plumber is also a good idea. If backups do happen, then call expert plumbers right away for reliable solutions.

Install A Back Water Valve

My Basement Drain Is Backing Up

While you may not be able to immediately pinpoint the weak link in this situation, there are other things you can do to stop the water from coming up through your floor drain. If you cant prevent the issue from happening, you can still stop it from entering your home until a more permanent solution is found.

If you are unfortunate enough to have water coming out of your basement floor drain, you will have to use a backwater valve at the drain. Because this is not part of most municipalities plumbing code requirements, many homes may not have one of these already installed.

A backwater valve is a one-way valve with a flap that opens and closes, depending on the situation. When the flap is open it allows water to exit your basement. When water starts to flow back up the drainpipe and enter your basement, the flap closes and prevents this from happening.

It is important to perform regular maintenance on backwater valves, to make sure that they stay clear and free of any debris.

If you need to install a backwater valve into your house after it has already been constructed, it is a much bigger project. You will need to get a plumbing permit from your city and have a licensed plumber do that work. The plumber will cut a hole in the concrete floor near the floor drain in order to access the main sewer line.

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How To Prevent Future Basement Floor Drain Backups

Following repair service, the best way to avoid future backups in your floor drain is with regular drain cleaning maintenance service. If your sewer lines are in good shape, routine drain cleaning service will keep your lines clear, free of the buildups that can clog and stop up your system.

While that can save you the headaches and mess of backups, it can also save you a lot of money in the long run, helping you avoid the need for repairs or emergency plumbing service.

Air Bubbles Coming From Drains And Toilets

Yet another sign of a clogged basement drain line is bubbles in the toilet or drains. These bubbles are created by negative air pressure caused by a clog. Instead of the air flowing through the line with water and waste, its hitting a clog, causing the air to go back through the lines, creating these bubbles.

This could mean that the main drain line is clogged, the toilet drain is clogged, or the vent stack for your homes plumbing, located on the roof, has something blocking it. If you have this problem in more than one plumbing fixture and the vent stack is fine, then the culprit is probably a clog in the main sewer line.

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Cures For A Backed Up Sewer Line In Basement

There are several ways to cure a backed up sewer line in basement issues. The usual first step is a visual inspection by a sewer and drain professional. The next step is then to run an electric sewer snake down the clogged drain line. In some cases a HD sewer camera can pinpoint the cause, and the exact location of the problem. Only in rare cases is a sewer drain line repair needed. But in those cases, trust a licensed drain line repair professional.

In many cases a high pressure water jet can clear out stubborn clogs. A water jet is particularly successful in clearing out grease stoppages. Grease stoppages can accumulate and harden inside of pipes over a prolonged period of time.

Grease blocked main house drain

What Causes Basement Floor Drain Backing Up

How to Resolve Basement Floor Drain Backup | ExpressRooter Toronto Plumber

Although it may seem like it, not all problems related to the backed-up sewer line have to do with actual clogs and defected pipes. Water under pressure can cause the sewer line to back up because it escapes through the lowest point it is the easiest route!

Furthermore, before I say anything else, it must be emphasized that even for determining the cause of the problem you will probably need a plumber. If you have some knowledge about plumbing, but youre not the expert, you can make matters worse!

Now, lets see the most common causes:

  • Home produced waste
  • Waste from the sewer system
  • Washing machine back up
  • Washtub backups

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Summary: Learn Why Your Floor Drain Backing Up

If you find that your floor drain is backing up, the most likely culprit is a clogged sewer line. This can be caused by tree roots, grease build-up, hair, and other debris. If you cannot clear the obstruction yourself, it is best to contact a professional plumber to resolve your floor drain backing up.

In some cases, you may need to replace a section of pipe entirely. Always check for a broken seal under the drain trap as this could also be causing your backups. As always, if you have any questions please dont hesitate to reach out to us. We would be happy to help clarify anything that may still be unclear.

Reason : Washing Machine Backing Up

Washing machine backups waste a lot of water. As well as costing you money, there can also be an impact on your houses foundation. Luckily, the problem can be remedied with a few simple actions.


Check the strainer on the drain line after turning off the washing machine. Before reattaching, clear away any obstructions. And then, check for any loose fittings under the sink. These can cause water to back up into the washing machine and overflow down the drain pipes.

If fixing loose fittings under the sink doesnt solve the problem, its possible that there is a clog in the trap. Or the clog might be farther down the drain. Its best to hire a professional if cleaning the trap doesnt work.

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Can Heavy Rain Cause Septic Backup

Yes, heavy rain can cause septic backups. When there is heavy rainfall, the soil around and beneath the septic tank becomes saturated, which in turn can increase the water pressure around the tank. This pressure can cause the tank to become overwhelmed, and the wastewater may be pushed back up into your home.

If the septic tank is already full due to excessive usage, then it will more easily become overwhelmed by the extra water in the soil. Heavy rainfall can also lead to flooding, which can further affect the tank by washing away soil around the tank and infiltrating the tank itself.

If Water Backs Up Out Of Your Floor Drain Its Not A Floor Drain Problem

What Causes a Drain Backup in Basement and How to Prevent It?

No joke. When water backs up out of a floor drain, it usually means there is a clog in the drain line, not the floor drain itself. When there is a clog in the main building drain and water is run down a drain from an upper fixture, water will back up in the drain line until it finds somewhere else to come out. Thatll be the lowest fixture. In most homes, the lowest fixture is the floor drain.

If a home doesnt have a floor drain, water will still back up out of the lowest fixture. That might be a basement shower, bathtub, standpipe, or a sink. Ive seen all of these happen, and you can too by clicking on the video compilation below.

In all of these cases, there was no problem with the fixture that was backing up. The problem exists with a drain line downstream from the fixture. The best way to clear a clogged drain is to have the drain line cleaned out professionally. If you choose to try it yourself, be warned: this is very dirty work. Once you find the clog, whatever you pull out of your drain is going to be gross. Really gross. Thats part of the reason that most people hire out this work.

For many homeowners with old homes, its standard practice to have a drain cleaning service come out to auger the drain lines every year. This helps to clear trees roots out of the drain line and is done as preventative maintenance.

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What To Do Is Your Basement Floor Drain Is Backing Up

First and foremost, its important to try to find the root of the issue. Clogged drain lines and flooded floor drains often go hand in hand, as water backs up at the lowest level of your plumbing system when it doesnt have anywhere else to go.

If your main line or sewer line is clogged, you will find yourself dealing with the unpleasant experience of backups in your basement .

Schedule Drain & Sewer Line Service Now

Whether youre dealing with floor drain backups or any other plumbing problem, Len The Plumber is the team you can always rely on for customer-focused service and first-class plumbing solutions!

contact us onlineto schedule service now!

We know that plumbing problems cant wait whether they happen during or outside of standard business hours. Thats why were proud to always offer 24-hour emergency plumbing service at no extra charge and a two-hour response time for all drain and sewer emergencies! Plus, we always provide FREE estimates, upfront pricing, and exceptional service!

Thats why theres no better choice for a plumbing company in , Northern Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. and why our customers love us!

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Sewer Line Damage & Floor Drain Backups

Clogs arent always the cause of floor drain blockages. This may occur if:

  • There are cracks or holes in a sewage pipe.
  • A sewer line is drooping, collapsing, or bellied.
  • The sewage line has been misaligned or invaded by tree roots.

In all of these circumstances, an obstruction in the sewer line causes wastewater to back up into the residence, similar to a clog. Sewer line damage, on the other hand, might be significantly more difficult to repair than a blockage.

Symptoms Of A Sewer Drain Clog


Aaron Stickley is a licensed plumber with 15 years of experience in commercial, new residential plumbing, and residential service and repair. He started his own residential service and repair plumbing business. Aaron’s articles about plumbing on The Spruce span four years.

The Spruce

A sewer drain clog can be a serious problem that may qualify as a plumbing emergency and a potential health concern. Without a route to the main sewer system or septic field, wastewater may have nowhere to go but to back up into your fixtures or up through floor drains. When faced with a sewer line drain clog, you should not use any of the plumbing in the home until the stoppage is cleared out.

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Unclog Basement Floor Drain

Unfinished basements typically have debris and dirt on the floor, much of which ends up in the drain. Keep the basement floor drain clean by periodically cleaning out the grate covering the drain and trap below. To clean the trap, open the grate and run a plumbing snake through the P trap. Enzyme cleaner will also keep the trap clean.

How To Prevent Drain Backing Up When It Rains

Basement floor drains are necessary, but they can be a nightmare when they back up, especially when it rains. The only way around a basement floor drain that backs up when it rains is to install a sump pump. Whether it be installing a backflow valve or sump pump, lets take a look at what you should do when your basement floor drain backs up due to rain.

When water is backing up out of your basement floor drain, it could be the result of many different issues. However, it usually isnt the fault of the floor drain itself. A common time for back-ups is during heavy rain, but why is your basement floor drain backing up when it rains?

If your basement floor drain is backing up when it rains theres likely a backup from the municipal sanitary sewer system. When it rains heavily, sewer systems can become overwhelmed with water, sending water back into your home through the basement drain. Install a sump pump to pump out the water, install a backwater flow valve, and cap the drain until you need it.

Many homeowners are not aware that it is their responsibility to maintain the pipes between your home and the city sewer main. If these steps dont work for your problem, it would be a good idea to call the city. Find out of this is a common problem in your neighborhood, and if so, the issue may not be your plumbing system.

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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.

Washing Machine Back Ups

Why Is Water Coming Up From My Basement Drain

Washing machines can sometimes back up, and this can involve a large volume of water. The first step is to shut off the machine, and not panic. In many cases a strainer on the drain hose may have become clogged. That is an easy fix. A drain hose can be connected into a wash tub basin, or a branch line drain. If either is backed up, revert back to the paragraph above. In all likelihood it is a trap stoppage.

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