Water backing up from a floor drain typically indicates a blockage or clog in the drain line rather than the floor drain itself. When there is a blockage in the main sewer line drain and water is routed down a drain from an overhead fixture, the water will back up until it finds another way out. That will be the fixture at the lowest point. When you get a basement floor drain backing up, it is because that is usually the lowest fixture in most homes. Even if a property lacks a floor drain, water will still back up from the lowest plumbing fixture if there is a clog farther down the drain line. This might include a bathtub shower, sink, or another sewer drain in the basement. Backwater valves can help with some of the backing up, but over time backwater valves can still allow backups.

Backups in Floor Drains

When a floor drain in your home begins to drain slowly or back up from heavy rains or clogs/blockages due to tree roots, it may be a major source of frustration for any homeowner. This can be frustrating and may be difficult to resolve. This article provides information on determining the issue of your backup. In most circumstances, your blockage resolution will require the help of a skilled plumber. Sewer gases from the sewer system not only smell terrible but can also be extremely dangerous. While a plunger is always a good DIY tool to have on hand, when you have a clogged drain such as a main sewer line, the clog will require the help of a professional plumber with a large plumber snake/drain cleaning machinery and tools to make sure the water flows again.

Floor Drain

A Summary of Floor Drains

Not every house has a floor drain. Drain fixtures are often installed at the lowest point in the basement of a home to help prevent flooding, including a backup of wastewater. Floor drains can be circular or square, with a grate covering that allows water to flow into the pipe. Floor drains range in size from six to twelve inches in diameter. The size of the drain is determined by the size of the space and the risk of surface water.

Locations of Floor Drains

Floor drains are typically located close to the water fixtures in your basement. For example, they are usually near the water heater or the washing machine. Because of the higher potential of wastewater, commercial buildings often have several drains. Floor drains are also commonly placed in bathrooms, commercial kitchens, shower rooms, and swimming pools.

Why is My Floor Drain Backing Up?

How are Floor Drains Connected to My Home’s Plumbing?

Usually, the only time a floor drain is not connected to your plumbing is when there is a trench drain. A trench drain is used to transport rain to a dry well. Without a trench drain, a floor drain is installed and connected to the home’s general plumbing system. The purpose of a sump pump is to guarantee that standing water is cleared quickly. Homeowners frequently install a sump pump beneath the drain grating and above the sump pit. The sump pit’s plumbing links the floor drain to the main drain in the house. The sump pit is where the main house drain links to the city’s sewer. The main home drain sump pit is usually two feet deep.


Why Do Floor Drain Backups Happen?

As previously said, floor drain backups can be perplexing. However, some common problems can cause your floor drain to back up.

Cleaning and Upkeep Issues

Keep track of drain maintenance and stay on top of cleaning tasks to avoid costly plumbing problems. You should clean the grate covering the floor drain regularly to ensure it is clear of foreign debris. Furthermore, oil and soap products can harden over time, causing a blockage. When grease solidifies, removing the obstruction can be far more complex. In these circumstances, you should contact a master plumber who can clear the drain for you.

In addition, you must clean the sump pit beneath the floor drain. The sump pit will occasionally fill with debris and cover the exit line. If this occurs, the water in the pit has nowhere to go making it appear that the floor drain is to blame. However, there is no obstruction in the pipe in this circumstance, and the sump pit needs to be cleared of foreign debris.

grease clogged pipe

Failure of the Sump Pump

If the home’s floor drain has a sump pump, a faulty or damaged sump pump could cause a backup. A sump pump is a mechanical device that may require replacement due to being faulty or aged. Maintaining your sump pump using the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance protocol is essential. You can also call Smedley Plumbing to perform your sump pump maintenance. Furthermore, if your sump pump is not installed correctly, it can cause a floor drain backup. To determine the proper size of sump pump you need for your home, you should call Smedley. When the wrong sump pump is installed, with the incorrect size or power, the lifespan will be shortened, resulting in frequent backups.

Failure of a Drainpipe

Although drainpipe failures are the least likely cause of floor drain backups, they occur. If the pipe connecting the floor drain to the sump pit cracks, it will create an opening allowing in debris. Call a professional if you think this might be the source of your home’s backup. Do not try any do-it-yourself plumbing solutions if you suspect a main sewer line drain problem. When conducted by inexperienced or do-it-yourself plumbers, this might result in even more costly emergency service repairs and clean-up that could have been avoided in the first place with a master plumber.

sump pit with water

What to Do If Your Floor Drain Is Backed-Up

As previously stated, floor drains seldom produce blockages on their own. Because they are located at the home’s lowest point in the drain system, they are frequently the first evident site of an issue with the drain system. A floor drain backup is not the most common cause of wastewater backing up. A professional plumber should address any plumbing concerns with the house’s main drain line.

However, below are some non-invasive things that homeowners may consider trying.

Unclog the Drain

Clogged drains can cause water damage to your home, so it is important to take care of the issue right away. Remove the filter and backflow preventer to access the floor drain trap if the drain has one. If there is a large amount of buildup, it may be the cause of the backup. First, try cleaning out the buildup to see if it resolves the problem. If not, contact a plumber. Your plumber may use a drain auger or a hydro jetting machine to help remove the clog.

clogged floor drain

DIY Cleaning Solutions

Pouring liquid drain cleaner down the floor drain is a bad idea. However, if a suspected grease or soap-blocked pipe needs immediate attention, pour a quart of boiling water down the drain. Then wait fifteen minutes, giving the boiling water time to soften the grease. Next, create a solution of 1 cup of baking soda, 1 cup of white vinegar, and 1 cup of water. Mix the solution and pour it down the drain. Wait ten minutes and follow up with another quart of boiling water. This might help in the short term but will not resolve the issue. To fully unclog the drain, it is imperative to call a professional plumber.


We Are Here to Help!

Keeping your floor drain clean and free of debris is the first step to avoiding backups. Protect your water pipes by never pouring grease down the drains in your home, as the grease can solidify and cause a blockage. Additionally, never flush foreign objects. The health of your home requires regular maintenance and care. At Smedley Plumbing, our master plumbers have residential and commercial plumbing expertise. So, if you’re searching for a dependable, high-quality plumber in the Kansas City metropolitan area, you should call Smedley Plumbing. Contact us to schedule an appointment.