Backed Up Sewer Line In Basement: Causes And Cures

Backed up sewer line in basement problems are much more complicated to diagnose than one may think. First of all, the point of the back up frequently is not related to the point of the clog or pipe defect. Water under pressure, such as from a sewer back up, seeks the easiest and lowest point to escape. That is why waste water backing up from a basement sewer line frequently appears out of a floor drain, or the main house trap. That is even though neither is usually the point of the defect.

floor drain

Typical area floor drain

Backed Up Sewer Line In Basement Causes

Sewer water backing up in your basement can be from numerous causes, and it typically takes a professional to figure out the root cause. In addition, a novice searching for the cause of a basement sewer back up can frequently exasperate the situation. Tampering with any piece of plumbing without the proper knowledge usually leads to trouble, and drain lines are no different.

  • Wash tub basin back ups

wash tub basin trap

Typical sink or wash tub basin trap

A back up out of a wash tub basin usually means the strainer is clogged and needs to be cleaned. This a case where a homeowner can it themselves. If you do not have a strainer of the drain, install one. In other cases sediment and debris may have clogged the trap under the basin. You can try a plunger, but you may need additional help. Frequently a trap clog requires an electric snake, or the trap to be removed and cleaned by hand. It’s usually best to hire a pro for these “seemingly” easy chores.

In some cases a wash tub basin back up is a sign of something more serious. If the basin is the lowest plumbing fixture in your basement, then it is the easiest way for backed up sewer water to escape. In those cases the clog or defect may be further down the line in your drain system. This becomes another case where a backed up sewer line in basement cause, doesn’t match its obvious appearance.

  • Washing machine back ups

Washing machines can sometimes back up, and can involve a large volume of water. The first step is 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, revert back to the paragraph above. In all likelihood it is a trap stoppage.

  • Floor drain back ups

A floor drain back up in your basement is almost never due to the floor drain. As most floor drains rarely take in any water, the usual problem is the opposite. That is to say, the drain and trap dry out, then let in sewer gases. The cure for that is simply dumping some clean water into the drain to refill the trap.

When water is backing up out of a floor drain, the causes are many. It typically means the house drain under your basement floor is full of water. That can mean a rainstorm has surcharged the drain system, or even the public sewer system. If there hasn’t been a recent heavy rain, the there is probably a main line clog. A main line clog can be in the house drain, house trap, or house sewer. In any case, always call a professional who has an array to tools and the expertise to figure it all out.

  • House sewer trap clogs and seepage

main house trap

Main house sewer trap

Water emanating from your house trap must be dealt with carefully. Do not just randomly start removing the plugs n your main house trap. That can truly lead to a drain disaster. For instance, removing the street side plug when the 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 is when the trap itself is clogged. That is cured by opening the street side plug, then the house side plug. that 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 of 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 handy special usually is just a waste of time, and frequently results in sewer gases escaping into your home.

house sewer trap plug

A test plug is form fitting and water tight

  • Basement showers, bathtubs, or toilet backups

A backed up sewer line in basement becomes visually apparent from low lying plumbing fixtures. So again, a tub, shower, or toilet in your basement may be the first place you see a back up, but not the cause itself.  Resist trying to play around with delicate plumbing fixtures unless you are absolutely 100% sure they are clogged. Just like a basement floor drain, the root culprit of the clog is probably further down in your drain system.

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 electronic sewer snake down the clogged drain line. In some cases a HD sewer camera can pinpoint the cause and 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 of a prolonged period of time.

backed up sewer line in basement

Grease blocked main house drain

Preventing A Backed Up Sewer Line In Basement

There are a few ways to prevent basement back ups. Each serves to address a particular issue, none is a “cure all”. Before making a hiring decision, make 100% sure you know the true cause of your drain problems.

  • Routine maintenance

If you have periodic back ups routine maintenance by a drain cleaning professional is a great idea. A maintenance program is pre-scheduled annually before you have a problem. In addition, it is always at a discounted rate to a “one time” emergency call.

  • A water tight house sewer trap

A water tight sewer house trap with tight fitting plugs is a vital key to keeping a dry basement. Sewer traps do become worn over the years, especially if you’ve had frequent sewer back ups and cleanings. Even more frequently the plugs become worn and ill fitting. Click this link to learn even more about your sewer trap.

broken sewer trap

A broken and worn house sewer trap

  • Sewer valves

If you suffer from basement sewer back ups during heavy rain or city sewer surcharges, a sewer valve may the ideal long term solution. In the field of sewer valve installations, Balkan is the expert in NYC. Sewer valves come in a variety of styles, for a variety of applications. To learn more about sewer backwater valves, click this link. The cost of installing a sewer check valve, or automatic sewer flood gate valve, is typically much less than the damage from one sewer surcharge entering your basement.

If you need expert advice or s site visit, contact Balkan Sewer And Water Mai Service. All site visits are free, and without any obligation to hire us. After hour and weekend site visits are also available.

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Balkan Plumbing is the largest sewer and water main company in NYC. For over 60 years, our family's 10 year guarantee* means we stand by our work long after the job is done. For sewer and water main issues throughout Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx contact Joseph L. Balkan, Inc. today for 24/7/365 service. Paul R. Balkan, NYC Licensed Master Plumber 01281

Ph: (718) 849-0900 | Espanol (718) 943-5720 | Fx: (718) 849-9570

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