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How to unclog basement floor drain

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How to Unclog Basement Floor Drain

Many homes and business structures experience frequent floor drain clogging issues. It happens when grease, soap, debris, hair, and other substances accumulate in the pipes and hinder normal draining. 

Especially in places like kitchens, bathrooms, and basements, this can result in overflowing water and unhygienic conditions. Furthermore, clogged floor drains can emit unpleasant aromas and draw bugs. 

Clogging can be avoided by routine maintenance and cleaning, but if it does happen, a plumber or drain cleaning service may be required to fix the problem.

How do you explain a Floor Drain?

A floor drain is a drain pipe that is attached to a sewage line and is positioned on the floor of a home or business building. Its purpose is to stop floods by enabling extra water on the floor to drain from the structure.

For instance, a water heater is generally always situated close to a floor drain because its tank can hold many gallons of water. So, in the event of a tank burst, any flooding or water damage to the house will be minimized.

Different forms of Floor Drains

Groundwater and wastewater are the two distinct forms of floor drains.

Floor drains that collect wastewater must be sealed up and vented since they are connected to the sewer line. This will stop dangerous sewage gas leaks from entering the house. Typically, sewage floor drains are located inside the house. One type of wastewater floor drain is one found in a basement.

When a sewer line is nonexistent, groundwater floor drains are used. However, the amount of debris that can enter them may necessitate more excellent upkeep. An example of a groundwater floor drain is a French drain.

Why does the floor drain in the basement leak water?

Because you don’t want odor and dampness in your home, it is crucial that you understand the causes and solutions to a backed-up basement floor drain. Here are a few reasons why water is coming up from the basement floor drain.

Backup of a Washing Machine or Tub Basin

Although not every household has a washtub basin, having one can cause a problem. The laundry room or basement has a washtub basin that resembles a sink and is used to soak clothes. It’s possible that dirt and sediment have blocked the drain. An identical problem can arise in a washing machine, except it might be in the hose.

If you think the obstruction may be sediment or debris, you might try using a plunger cup to clear it. If this doesn’t work, you might need to remove the drain and use an electric snake to clean it. 

It could be challenging to complete this task without help. If you don’t already have one, you can also install a strainer on the drain. Make an appointment with a specialist for assistance if none of these fixes work.

Back-up in the basement floor drain might be caused by tree roots

If there are cracks in the sewage drain line, tree roots will locate moisture there since they enjoy moisture. They will unfortunately keep expanding because they don’t care that it is a sewer line. It will take a specialist to get rid of the tree roots.

The best way to address it is to get a sewer scope examination to check for obstructions, broken or damaged pipes, or tree roots in your sewer line. Costs range from $125 to $300 for this. By blasting away all the sediment and other junk, a drain cleaning device could be able to assist in removing the roots as well. 

The expert will also provide you with strategies to prevent it from happening again if you need to move one or more trees.

Pipe Has Worn Out

The piping material used to make sewer lines has a tendency to rust and shrink. The passage of water and other water-borne sediments becomes more challenging as they contract. There may be clay or concrete pipes in some older homes, and over time, these materials will start to break down.

The sort of pipes you have should be examined by an expert who can also offer advice on what to do next if there are problems.

Depending on whether it is a little or large section of the pipes, fixing it can include replacing the pipes. Due to the fact that the city is in charge of some repairs, it will also depend on where the pipes are. 

For those that originate from the main underground sewer pipe and extend outside of your property lines, the city is in charge. This is the principal sewage pipe.

Floor drains in basements may back up due to obstructions in the drain line

When the ground settles, there will be a dip or flat point in the drain line.

In order to prevent the line from clogging, a hydro jet is recommended; however, if the line needs to be replaced, a mini excavator may be required to dig it up and install the new one.

Improper objects being flushed

Toys can occasionally slip into the toilet when children are playing with them there, and the parent is unaware of this. The flushing of feminine items, napkins, paper towels, or baby wipes can also block the drain and cause a system back-up. 

You might not be aware that some toilet paper varieties can potentially cause a blockage in the toilet and a backup of the drain. One-ply toilet paper dissolves more easily in water than two-ply paper, hence it is preferable to use that.

Use only one-ply toilet paper and avoid flushing any of the aforementioned items down the toilet. That may be difficult for your family to accept, I understand. Scoop the water from the toilet bowl using a disposable cup in case a toy or something important is inside. 

Wearing gloves, pull the item out if you notice it. Use a snake, auger, plunger, or de-clogger if not.

Drying of Drain and Trap

Drains and traps that don’t have water flowing through them can dry out and let sewage fumes out. This can also occur in sinks and drains in the kitchen or bathroom, not just in the basement drain. It’s possible that the basement bathroom’s shower stinks, and possible causes include a dirty or missing P-trap.

How to fix it: Water can be added to the trap and drain to help. You must add a trap if it is not already there. A specialist can assist in solving the problem.

Guide on How to Unclog Drain in Basement Floor

5 Star Plumbing | How to unclog basement floor drain

Learning how to fix a clogged basement floor drain is something you want to know. Below, we discuss a few ways you can go about it.

Get the Trap Clean

Cleaning out the trap is the first step to restoring the intended functionality of your floor drain. Locate the backflow preventer in your basement, take off the cap, then take a chisel and work it around the retaining ring’s notches. 

To remove the foul sediment in the trap, which is probably contributing to the issue, loosen the ring and the backflow ball. Then, use a shop vac to vacuum out the entire trap.

In order to spin a strong wire or cable into the pipe hole after cleaning the trap, connect it to a power drill and remove the cleanout plug from the backflow preventer. If the clog is removed, your water should start flowing normally once more.

Attempt vinegar and baking soda

If a blockage isn’t too difficult to remove, vinegar and baking soda can occasionally help clear it. Pour 12 cups of baking soda down the drain after dumping a saucepan of hot, boiling water down it first. 

Wait a few minutes, then sprinkle baking soda with a solution of one cup vinegar and one cup of extremely hot water. Allow it to sit for five to ten minutes before giving it one final flush by pouring boiling water.

Water backing up in basement floor drain

Baking soda and warm water may help clear a water backup in your basement floor drain clog. Dish soap should be poured down the drain and left to sit overnight if that doesn’t work. Water backing up in your basement drain could be caused by a washing machine or bathtub backing up, tree roots encroaching on the drain line, deteriorating pipes, or incorrect objects being flushed.

Floor drain in basement Kitchen Sink Backs Up When Draining

You most likely have a partial clog if you observe your basement drain backing up when a sinkful of water is drained from the kitchen sink located above the basement. It would be better to have a professional come take a look at this as it might be related to plumbing problems.

Back-up in basement floor drain following shower

Your main drain line may be partially clogged if your drain backs up after a shower. Unless there is a root issue with a segmented drain line, you will need a professional’s assistance to address this problem. In that case, you require a long, heavy-duty plumber’s snake.

Poop is backing up in the basement floor drain

A clog in the drain line is frequently to blame for a floor drain backing up with waste. Cleaning out any material from the tank’s bottom should be done first. Next, examine the tramway for obstructions. In that case, you ought to hire a licensed plumber. If left unattended, a clogged basement drain with feces can cause other major problems in your house.

Drain in the basement floor when it rains

A lot of water and debris wind up in sanitary sewers in towns and cities when there are heavy rains or quick snowmelt. If it is too much, it overflows into your home’s sewer line and then overflows into your basement drains if the system is unable to handle it. Installing a sump pump is an excellent approach to prevent flooding caused by prolonged periods of heavy rain in your basement.

Septic system backing up in the basement

There could be several factors at play if your septic system is backing up in your basement. Problems with the main sewer line are the most frequent cause of them. If you are just experiencing a backup in one basement drain, that may be the source of your issue.

Basement Floor Drain Backing up during Laundry

A blockage, more precisely a clogged drainpipe, is the most typical reason why the basement drains back up when washing clothes. Sometimes, a small drainpipe may be the culprit, necessitating an immediate replacement.

When the toilet is flushed, the basement floor drain becomes clogged

Something that shouldn’t have been flushed is the most frequent reason for sewer blockages after flushing your toilet. Tree roots entering the sewer system can occasionally be another factor. The water pipe needs to be turned off to stop further obstructions. The shut-off valve must be located. 

Usually, this happens inside your house or on the street side next to it. Next, you’ll need to get in touch with experts because a sewer line blockage can harm the city’s sewage system, which can increase your costs.

The next important step is to contact a professional if you’ve tried everything else and still can’t resolve the sewage backup in your basement on your own. Make sure to call as soon as you see a sewage clog in your drain because drainage issues seldom go away on their own and sometimes worsen.

After a sewer backup, how to clean and disinfect the basement floor

The impacted area has to be cleaned after the backup has been resolved and your sewer drain has been cleared. Put on safety gear and use a wet dry vacuum to remove any remaining water. Usage old towels that you’re willing to discard after use or even paper towels if there isn’t a lot of standing water. To avoid mold growth, be sure to drain the excess water from the sewage as much as possible.

After you’ve drained the water, use a sweep or shovel to collect any solids and place them in a thick rubbish bag with any objects that can’t be salvaged. Objects that have come into contact with sewage, such as books and plush toys, should be discarded.

The area needs to be cleaned up after that. You should be able to utilize the cleaning supplies you already have in your home, which is fortunate. The germs in sewage, for instance, are killed by bleach, so use a bleach solution after a thorough cleaning with hot water and dish soap. Then, wash it away after 20 minutes.

Health Risks of Basement Sewage Backup

Making your property safe and habitable again depends on thoroughly cleaning the region where a sewage drain is clogged. Experiencing dysentery, salmonellosis, and hepatitis A are just a few of the health concerns connected with sewage leaks.

The flooding brought on by sewage backups raises serious concerns about electrocution as well. Before going into a flooded basement, make sure you’ve turned off the gas and the electricity.

How to Avoid Backups in the Future

5 Star Plumbing | How to unclog basement floor drain

You’ll never want to go through a sewage backup in your basement drains, such as when a toilet backs up into a basement drain. To avoid a repeat, follow these recommendations:

Pipes made of plastic

Invest in some fresh plastic pipes. Installing new tough plastic pipes will resolve the sewage backup issue and make it significantly less likely to occur again in the future if the issue that led to the basement drain clogging in your basement was broken pipes. Even if it is a costly choice, investing in your health and safety is a wise move.

Keep Drains Free of Clogs

Changing your family’s behavior to prevent clogged drains entirely is a lot simpler (and less expensive) approach to implement. Paper towels, feminine products, and wet wipes—even those marked “flushable”—should not be flushed. Instead of rinsing it down the kitchen sink drain, dispose of unwanted grease and oil that was left over after cooking in the trash or a disposable container.

Maintaining your Sump Pump

Verify that your sump pump isn’t sitting on any material, like gravel or silt, as this could damage the motor if it gets sucked up into the pump. Instead, set it on something stable and flat, like a brick. To keep trash out of the basin, a filter fabric is required around it.

dismantle any unauthorized plumbing connections

Check your city sewer line for any unauthorized plumbing connections. This covers flood control measures like French drains and sump pumps. Your sewer systems may become clogged with debris as a result.

If That’s Not Working

In situations where you can’t find a way to prevent future backups, you should call a plumber from 5 star plumbing. A professional can always provide you with better solutions.

Do Sewer Backup Costs Get Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

In most cases, sewage backup is not covered by your homeowners’ insurance. Sewage damage insurance is an optional extra that can be purchased for a fee. You can check our policy for more information.


It is okay to try to do it yourself whenever you have issues with your sewage systems. However, it is best to call for a professional plumber whenever there is a case that may require professional solutions.

You can order 5 star plumbing services here.


Why is the floor drain in my basement backing up?

When there is an issue with the sewage line, wastewater will typically try to find a way to escape by backing up into the basement floor drain.

Will plain vinegar clear a clog in a drain?

Because it contains acetic acid, which can dissolve grease, hair, and other organic things that form clogs, straight vinegar can be an efficient way to unclog drains. Pour a cup of baking soda and a cup of white vinegar down the drain. After the combination has sat for 15 to 20 minutes, flush the drain with boiling hot water. Other techniques, such as a plunger, drain snake, or chemical drain cleaning, may need to be taken into consideration if the obstruction persists.

Is it safe to let vinegar and baking soda sit in the drain all night?

You can leave baking soda and vinegar in the toilet overnight without harming clogged pipes. Leaving baking soda and vinegar will not harm your drains.

Mike Joshua

Mike Joshua, a 33-year-old plumber based in California. With a passion for solving complex problems and a commitment to his trade, Mike has dedicated the past 8 years of his life to honing his skills as a professional plumber. After completing technical college Mike quickly secured a job in a plumbing company and has been working steadily ever since. Mike's experience includes not only households but industrial gas and plumbing systems and installation, repair the equipment for different types of business He is known for his attention to detail, strong work ethic, and ability to complete projects on time and within budget. He is always striving to improve his skills and stay up-to-date with the latest industry developments and advancements. In conclusion, Mike enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and camping. He also has a passion for DIY projects around the home and is always looking for new challenges to tackle.

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