If you’re a homeowner who owns a basement floor drain, you likely want to know where these drains go.
Several places need a basement floor drain. But the most common places where you’ll find them are in businesses like auto servicing, manufacturing companies, or dry cleaners.
Since basement drains are hidden, they may never come to mind until there’s an emergency or a sewer back up. Still, as a homeowner, knowing where your basement drains go, will come in handy when you need them checked or fixed.
Home basement floor drains are usually connected to the sewer system of the whole house. However, in some cases, they can be directly linked to a sump pit from which the water is carried to the exterior surface with a pump.
How Basement Floor Drains Are Designed
Basement floor drains are designed to collect leaking water from home appliances like water heaters, air conditioners, or potential heavy rain.
Basement floor drains can also be connected to the sewer system, meaning they can drain water wastewater from washing machines, including water softeners.
In some instances, basement floor drains are only connected to a sump pit due to regulations that forbid draining of chemicals, salts, and detergents through the water. They can also be connected to sewer pits that have ejector pumps that drain sinks or washing machines.
Basement Drains with Traps
A drain trap is designed to stop gas from drawing back into the house through the drain pipes. Drain traps are similar to those found in kitchen sinks and bathtubs. Usually, they are designed in the form of an extended area that holds water so that when gases from your sewer start drawing back up, the water will prevent it from entering your home.
What Happens If Your Basement Floor Drain Is Clogged?
A clogged basement drain can have a serious negative impact on your home structure. Moreover, clogged drains can cause foul-smelling odours and pose serious risks to your health.
Figuring out whether a basement drain is clogged is simple. If your basement drain is clogged, water won’t travel down properly. This is accompanied by a foul smell from the drain.
Clogged drains should be cleared as soon as possible using a drain tool. Since floor drains have a built-in area through which their traps can be accessed, bypassing this area gives you access to insert the tool into the drain.
This particular opening has a plug that also holds gases. Once this is removed, the gases are released into the house. Therefore, once you have your basement drain cleared, replace this plug immediately to prevent the foul smell from drawing back into your home in the future.
Why Do I Have Standing Water in My Basement Floor Drain?
If you recently noticed standing water in your basement, then it’s likely your basement drain is clogged. A clogged basement drain is a common problem many homeowners share. However, it needs to be fixed quickly.
What Causes a Basement Floor Drain to Clog?
Your basement floor drain is located at the lowest point of your basement. And its sole responsibility is to collect and drain water safely from your house down to the sewer system or municipal storm drain system. This simple mechanism ensures that your basement floor is dry all the time and prevents flooding, which can damage your personal property.
Basement drains clog for a few reasons. It could be a result of a leak in the HVAC system or water heater. Or perhaps be due to a leak in your home’s foundation caused by heavy rain.
Whatever is the cause, just like every other type of floor drain, basement drains are prone to clogs. More than other types of floor drains, basement drains get clogged often because of dirt, pet hair, dust, and other debris that may easily be taken down the drain when water is present.
In some ways, homeowners are also responsible for the clog in their basement drains. Some homeowners make the mistake of sweeping their basement dirt into the basement drain.
A basement drain may also clog due to water flow problems, damaged or broken pipes, or a clog from the mainline.
Problems with Clogged Basement Drains
Clogged basement drains can be complicated over time if left unchecked. When you discover your basement drain is clogged, you can either call a professional plumber to have it checked and fix or you can do it yourself to save costs (though this is risky if you lack knowledge about drains).
If you’re going to do it yourself, never pour harsh chemicals into the drain hoping to clear the clog. Doing this will make the problem worse.
Aside from constantly having standing water in your basement because of your clogged floor drain, you’ll likely experience issues like:
- Damage to your walls and floors
- Damage to your personal belongings, including valuable family items like photo albums
- Mould growth all over your basement, which may pose serious health issues
How to Unclog a Basement Floor Drain By Yourself
First, we recommend that you hire a professional plumber to fix the clog in your basement drain when it occurs. However, should you try to fix the clogged basement drain yourself, we’ve listed some tips below that you must consider. These tips will help clear a minor drain clog and prevent future ones from happening.
- Use a screwdriver to remove the basement drain cover
- Grab a rubber glove, wear it and reach down the drain to pull out any debris around the drain
- Next, pour a pot of boiling water down the drain and wait for 15 minutes.
- After this, grab a plunger from your bathroom. Stick the plunger into the drain and thrust it hard (do this a couple of times).
- If the plunger doesn’t fix it, get a box of baking soda and pour it into the drain. In addition, add a small amount of white vinegar down the drain and see if it unclogs it.
- Suppose the clog remains after doing all this, then you’ll need a mechanical drain cleaning machine to get it out of the way. If you don’t have this, we highly recommend contacting a licensed plumber for this service.
How Does a Basement Floor Drain Work?
Basement floor drains are exactly where they should be — in your basement. They are located underneath the ground surface where they collect water from the house and drain them in the sewer.
Unlike exterior drains, floor drains are usually installed when the house is constructed for the first time. They are built in such a way that the surrounding floor slopes towards the drain. This allows the drain collects water, which is carried away from the house.
In older homes, floor drains are usually directly connected to the main sewer system. However, today, most floor drains are directly linked to a pit. The drains collect the water and dump it in the pit, where it is then pumped out to the surface through a sump pump.
What Are Basement Floor Drains Made Of?
Older basement floor drains are made from clay tiles or cast iron. Newer ones, however, are made from polyvinyl chloride or PVC.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Basement Floor Drains
Though one of the advantages of a basement floor drain is that they collect water from different sources — from a faulty water heater to extensive rainwater — they are difficult to install in existing basements. Most houses install a basement drain during foundation. However, installing one after the foundation is extremely difficult. Plus, it’ll also require breaking up costly concrete.
But on the good side, installing a basement floor drain is now becoming a standard in newer homes. So that means you won’t have to worry whether they are absent, and neither will you break the bank to have one installed.
Finally, even though basement floor drains are an essential part of the drainage system, collecting and draining water, they don’t stop water from leaking through the walls or the ceiling.