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Basement Floor Drain Backed Up? All You Need to Know!

Updated: Jul 26, 2023


Basement Floor Drain

Tony Tomaro Construction and Waterproofing are a locally owned and licensed waterproofing company with 28+ years of experience serving the Cleveland and Akron area. Our waterproofing team of experts will help you understand all that you need to know about basement floor drains.


In this article we’ll cover,

  • what a basement floor drain is

  • the common causes of a clogged basement floor drain

  • how to fix a drained that is backed up

  • and more!


But let’s start with the basics…


What is a Basement Floor Drain and How Does It Work?


Your typical basement floor drain is a plumbing fixture that is installed in the lowest part of the floor in your basement or crawl space. Its purpose is simple. It is designed to collect and remove water from your basement that may accumulate, either from rainwater or other sources such as a leaking pipe or a washing machine.


Most drains consist of either a circular or square-shaped opening in the floor and have a grate or cover that prevents any debris from entering. The goal is for the drain to remove water, but not collect dirt, coins, or anything else that might be left on the ground.


Under the grate is what is called a trap. The trap is a U-shaped pipe that holds water to prevent sewer gasses from entering the basement. The trap is connected to a pipe that leads to the home’s main sewer line or septic tank.


Basement floor drains may be equipped with a backwater valve, which helps prevent sewage backup in the event of a blockage in the main sewer line. No one wants sewage in their house!


During a heavy rain pour, there's a chance that a basement can experience a water backup problem. A backwater valve allows water and sewage to only flow in one direction. Basically, the valve will close automatically if anything decides to go in the wrong direction.


Overall, a basement floor drain works to keep water out of your basement. A working basement floor drain will prevent water damage and maintain a safe and healthy environment in your basement.


What Causes a Basement Floor Drain Clog?


Have you ever had the unfortunate experience of walking down into your basement and seeing water standing in the basement floor drain? A backed up floor drain is a problem that any homeowner will need to fix as soon as possible.


Our basement waterproofing team has seen it all, and there’s usually a few different reasons why a basement has drainage or flooding issues.


The most common causes of a clogged basement floor drain are:

  • A blockage commonly occurs when dirt, debris, or other solid materials get into the drain.This can happen if the grate or cover is damaged, missing, or improperly installed. It could be something as simple as a child’s toy that got past the grate or dirt that’s accumulated over the years.

  • Our sewer and drain experts have occasionally seen tree roots as the reason for a blocked basement drain. Tree roots can grow into the drain pipe and cause a blockage. This is more likely to be seen in older homes where the pipes are made of porous materials.

  • If you’ve intentionally flushed materials down the drain other than water, it can cause a blockage. Food scraps, grease, oil, soapy water from a washer machine, and other materials can build up in the pipes over time and cause it to clog.


It's important to keep your basement floor drain clean and free of debris to prevent clogs and ensure it functions properly.


Regular maintenance is key to helping prevent clogs. Homeowners should occasionally flush the drain with hot water and drain cleaner to help prevent clogs and keep your basement dry and safe.


The Importance of Fixing A Clogged Basement Floor Drain Today


Maybe you don’t have the time to fix a clogged drain yourself or perhaps you’ve got your fingers crossed that the drain will take care of itself. But leaving a basement floor drain clogged isn’t a good idea!


If a basement floor drain is left clogged for an extended period of time, it can lead to several long-term issues. Here are a few reasons why you should fix your clogged basement floor drain today.


Water Damage

If water cannot drain properly, it can accumulate in the basement and cause water damage to the walls, floors, doors, and other structures. This can lead to mold growth, wood rot, and other problems that can be very expensive to repair or remediate.


Structural Damage

Water damage can weaken the foundation and other structural elements of the home, leading to cracks, sagging floors, and other problems that can compromise the safety and stability of the building.


Health Risks

Stagnant water in the basement can create a breeding ground for mold, bacteria, and other harmful organisms. Protect your family from health problems such as allergies, infections, and respiratory issues by keeping standing water out of your basement.


Plumbing Issues

A clogged floor drain can put stress on the plumbing system and cause other pipes in the house to back up or clog. This can lead to more serious plumbing issues that require expensive repairs.


Sewage Backup

If the clog is caused by a blockage in the main sewer line, sewage can back up into the basement and cause serious health and safety hazards.


Overall, it's important to address a clogged basement floor drain as soon as possible to avoid these long-term issues. Regular maintenance and cleaning can help prevent clogs and ensure your basement remains dry, safe, and healthy.


Tony Tomaro Waterproofing & Construction Can Help!


No one wants their home and belongings to be damaged. If your drain is clogged, our sewer specialists can help you unclog it! If you don’t have a basement floor drain, our team can waterproof your basement and install a basement floor drain so that water and moisture stay out of your basement.


Tips for Unclogging a Basement Floor Drain


If you would like to unclog a basement floor drain yourself, here are some tips for unclogging it:

  1. Remove the cover or grate from the drain and inspect it for any visible blockages, such as dirt or debris. While wearing gloves, remove any dirt, debris, etc. from the grate so that water can freely pass through.

  2. Use a plunger to try to loosen and dislodge any stubborn blockages. Make sure the plunger is large enough to cover the entire drain and create a tight seal. Pump the plunger vigorously several times to create suction and try to break up the blockage.

  3. If the plunger doesn't work, try using a plumbing snake. Insert the snake into the drain and turn the handle clockwise to push it through the pipe. When you feel resistance, turn the handle counterclockwise to break up the blockage.

  4. Use a wet/dry vacuum to suck out any standing water in the drain. This will help make it easier to access and remove any blockages.

  5. If none of these methods work, it may be time to call Tony Tomaro Construction and Waterproofing. We have the experience and tools necessary to handle the most stubborn of clogs and prevent further damage to your plumbing system.


Remember to take safety precautions when attempting to unclog a basement floor drain, such as wearing gloves and eye protection, and avoiding the use of harsh chemicals that can damage pipes or harm your health.


Floor Drain


How To Fix a Smelly Basement Floor Drain


In some cases, the trap may become dry and lose its seal allowing sewer gasses to enter the basement. This happens when the drain is not used frequently or if the water level in the trap drops below the U-shaped bend in it.


If you're smelling an odor that’s coming from your basement floor drain, it's likely due to bacteria, mold, or other organic matter that has accumulated in the drain.


Here are some ways you can fix a smelly basement floor drain:

  1. Pour hot water down the drain to flush out what may be causing the odor.

  2. Use a tool called a snake to break up any blockages that may be causing the odor. If there is a blockage, it's likely that water is not flowing through the drain as it should. Stagnant, unmoving water, allows bacteria to grow which is where the smell could be coming from.

  3. Mix equal parts baking soda and vinegar in a bowl and pour it down the drain. The mixture will create a chemical reaction to break up organic matter and remove the odor.

  4. Use a drain cleaner and pour it into the basement floor drain. It can eat away at the organic matter causing the odor. Follow the instructions on the label and allow the cleaner to sit in the drain for the recommended amount of time.

  5. If the odor continues, it may be necessary to replace the trap, which can become contaminated with bacteria over time. Our basement floor drain experts can help replace the trap and prevent future odor issues.


In addition to these steps, it's important to keep your basement floor drain clean and free of debris to prevent odor and other plumbing issues. Keep your basement smelling fresh by keeping up with regular basement drain maintenance.


Having Drainage Issues with Your Basement in the Cleveland, Ohio Area?


Our team of waterproof experts can help you with basement floor drain issues today! Whether your drains are clogged or your basement is flooded, we have the experience and knowledge to fix it.


We’re waterproof and sewage experts offering a variety of sewer and drain services in the Clevand and Akron areas. We are fully licensed and insured providing services such as:

  • Installing new sewer lines

  • Drain and sewer unclogging and cleaning

  • Sewer inspections & diagnostics with camera

  • And more!


In addition to handling basement floor drain installation and repairs, we provide basement waterproofing solutions to keep water and moisture out of your basement. Whether you live in Cuyahoga, Medina, or Summit county we can help!


If you’re tired of dealing with a wet basement or crawl space, our basement waterproofing experts can figure out where the moisture is coming from and prevent it from coming back in.


Our Cleveland and Akron Basement Waterproofing and Floor Drain Services


All of our waterproofing and sewage service work is 100% guaranteed – no subcontracting. Our waterproofing company is fully insured and licensed in Ohio. We take each and every waterproofing job seriously and want to ensure that it is done right. And you don’t have to take our word for it! We are well established in the Cleveland and Akron area with over 35+ years of experience. Check out our Google reviews and you will see that our previous customers rate us as a 5-star contractor.


Have more questions about our basement floor drain and waterproofing services in Ohio? Contact us via form, email, or phone and we’ll have a team member reach out to you shortly.


Finished Basement in Cleveland Ohio

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