Just the thought of sewage backup in the basement floor drain and water coming up is enough to make you shiver. Unfortunately since you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that it’s not just a thought. It’s a reality that you’re living with.
Fortunately for you, you stumbled upon this article. With our help, your reality will soon be a distant memory. This is because we’ll tell you everything there is to know for you to understand the issue and solve it.
In this comprehensive article, you’ll know the function of the drain hole in your basement floor. Where does it go? Understanding this part is part of understanding the process so this information can prove to be handy.
We’ll of course tackle the issue of sewer water backing up. Why does water come up from the drain after it rains? Fortunately, there’s an explanation for that. We’ll talk about why sewer backup in the basement is happening.
What good is this information if you don’t know how to fix the sewer backup in your basement? Don’t worry, because we’ll also tell you how to fix the sewer backup in your basement.
On this page:
- What is the Function of the Drain Hole in My Basement Floor – Where Does it Go?
- Sewage Backup in Basement Floor Drain – Water Coming Up from the Drain After it Rains
- What Causes Sewer Backup in Basement – Why is it Happening?
- Dangers of a Sewer Backup
- Getting Sick because of Sewer Overflow
- How to Fix the Sewer Backup in your Basement
- Preventing Future Basement Backups
- Other Sewage Backup Problems
- Getting Help from Pros
- Get Quotes from Competing Professionals
Another important thing you’ll learn is how to prevent future backups. Obviously, you don’t want this to become a tradition so you have to know how to prevent it from happening again.
The best way to solve this issue is to get help from the pros. A basement flooded with sewage can be a complicated issue. That alone is a problem. The fact that it can lead to a lot of other problems make it more of an emergency.
We know that hiring professionals comes attached with a cost. It can also be very time-consuming to find the right professional to hire. This is why we’ve developed a service that can help you find the best quote. It’s a free service that will get you in touch with the best contractors in your area that will be sending their best quotes that you can choose from.
What is the Function of the Drain Hole in My Basement Floor – Where Does it Go?
You’ve probably forgotten about this part since it’s inconspicuous. But now that you see an overflow, you want to know what its function is. You also want to know where it goes because you want to know where the water is coming from since you see water coming up through.
This drain hole is actually a very important part of your basement and your home in general. Located at the lowest part of your basement, it’s where leaks and water that shouldn’t be in your home drains so that they don’t accumulate in your basement. It can also be useful when washing clothes in the basement so that the drained water goes out of your home when doing laundry.
So where does the water go? It depends on how it’s set up. It can either go to a sewer system or to a sump pit. In some cases, it can go to a sewer pit that has an ejector pump.
Sewage Backup in Basement Floor Drain – Water Coming Up from the Drain After it Rains
Do you see water coming up from the drain after heavy rain? It’s probably because your drain is connected to the sewer system of your municipality. It can get overwhelmed and the overflowing water has to exit somewhere. Unfortunately, it sometimes backs up into homes via the basement floor drain.
Sewage backup can also be caused by clogged service lines. It can be clogged by grease or waste. In extreme cases, it can also be affected by roots of trees. Vandals can also cause clogging when they drop something into manholes.
Whatever the case may be, it’s a disgusting problem since we all know what’s included in sewage backup. We don’t even have to say it. You just know that it’s disgusting.
Worse, it can also cause health problems. They’re not supposed to go back up. Sewage backup will lead to standing water in your basement – dirty, disgusting and harmful standing water. You have to consider that it’s not just your waste. It’s from other households as well.
Unfortunately, you’re usually at the mercy of the municipal sewer line. It’s something that you can’t really control. Of course, you can do something to help maintain your individual sewer line. Here are some things that you can do:
- Install a backflow preventer. This can help prevent water from backing up into your home.
- Pour a tree root killer once a year when the toilet is flushed.
- Have a professional do routine checks of your individual sewer line.
If it’s a known problem in your municipality, you can put together a petition with the other homeowners. This way, they’ll be forced to act.
What Causes Sewer Backup in Basement – Why is it Happening?
The first thing that you need to do is to check if it’s really a backup. In some cases, it’s not sewer water that has come back up. It can be a case of waste water, say when a bath is emptied, unable to exit your home because something is blocking the line.
Here are some of the more common reasons behind this:
- The line is broken somewhere.
- Tree roots are blocking the line.
- Someone in your household flushed something solid down the toilet.
- There’s a clump of hair that’s blocking the shower drain leading to standing water even after showering.
- There’s flood around your home.
You can try using over the counter chemicals to try and free up the drain, but in most cases, you’d need to run a snake. It’s better to use a power snake especially one equipped with cutting blades just in case roots are the problem.
If it’s sewer backup from the municipal sewer system, it’s usually happening because of heavy rain that’s overwhelming it. The water level rises so if your basement floor drain or other drains in your home are positioned lower than the present water level, of course there’ll be sewer backup. Worse cases would have pressure pumping sewer water a few feet out of your drain.
Dangers of a Sewer Backup
Why should you fix a sewer backup? Why should you avoid it in the first place? It’s because it has the following dangers:
- Emission of gas
Sewage has plenty of gas, with hydrogen sulfide and methane being the most common ones. The former is flammable and can also lead to death. Speaking of death, methane can also cause death. You don’t need to inhale a lot to experience its ill effects. A small amount can knock you out and can even kill you.
In addition to these two, here are the other harmful gases present:
- Carbon dioxide
- Nitrous oxide
- Sulfur dioxide
- Deadly pathogens
You don’t have to take our word for it. Listen to the National Resources Defense Council. They stated that every year, almost 2 million cases of people fall sick because of these pathogens.
Needless to say, there are harmful viruses and bacteria present. Here are the most common ones:
- Heliobacter Pylpri
- Dangerous chemicals
Because most homeowners don’t want to be bothered with proper disposal of dangerous chemicals, they end up flushing them down the drain. This means that backup will have these chemicals as well. It’s going to be a mixture of loads of different chemicals from different households.
This is because of the flooding caused by the backup. A flood can mess up your home’s electrical system and you can get electrocuted.
There’s a viral video going around social media of a pipe exploding because someone threw a lighted cigarette in it. As mentioned, some of the gases are highly-flammable. These lines could become an even greater problem for you!
Getting Sick because of Sewer Overflow
With the bacteria, viruses, chemicals and pathogens present, you can get sick from direct contact. You can get sick with a fecal-oral disease. These are diseases that you get when you get fecal matter into your mouth.
How do they get into your mouth? It’s when you touch it and you touch your mouth with your hands, which happens a lot all throughout the day. It can also happen indirectly when you touch something that came in contact with a fecal matter. This is possible due to the flooding caused by the overflow.
You can get sick in as little as a day after coming in contact with the fecal matter. You can experience these symptoms:
While you’re waiting to fix the issue, keep the following tips in mind to prevent these symptoms:
- Sanitize the affected areas.
Use a bleach solution of 8 tablespoons of bleach for every one gallon of water. Clean the area thoroughly. It’s also a good idea to use a dehumidifier. You can launder the affected fabric, but it’s better to just dispose of them properly. Make sure that you place them in a leak-proof bag and label it to show that it contains contaminants.
- Wash your hands properly.
You’ll get sick if you touch the fecal matter and you touch your mouth with your hands. Most people subconsciously touch their mouth with their hands, so it’s best practice to wash your hands properly regularly.
Use liquid soap and run your hands under warm running water. Lather your hands for around 30 seconds before rinsing. Make sure that you dry your hands with towels.
How to Fix the Sewer Backup in your Basement
A lot of homeowners still think that inserting a plug will work. It may work some of the time, but in most cases it will not. Remember that sewer backup sometimes come with intense pressure. This means that the plug will simply be popped out like cork out of a champagne bottle.
You can install a manual gate that will block the sewer backup from flowing out. It works, but you have to manually close the gate. One benefit that it has is it generally has a tighter seal since it has to be sealed manually.
Fortunately, you can automate the process by installing what’s called backwater valves. They prevent backflow automatically because they’re armed with a sensor that determines if water is going the wrong way, meaning if water is flowing back up from the municipal sewer system. Once it does, it will automatically close so that water won’t overflow even if the floor drain is lower than the risen water level.
The fact that it has a sensor is a big deal. This means that you don’t have to manually close the valve which proves to be handy considering that you don’t really know whether the water level is rising or not. You can’t be bothered to manually close it every time it’s raining.
Besides, what happens if it’s in the process of overflowing and you’re sleeping or outside your home? You’ll wake up or go home to a flooded basement or shower. The fact that it works automatically makes the price worth it. Remember that it can prevent flooding that can cause damages worth thousands of dollars.
Some of them are also cleverly designed in such a way that water flowing out of your home cleans them in the process. It has an open design that’s ready to work when needed. The fact that they’re virtually self-cleaning will help them work when needed.
Some municipalities, especially if water backing up is a common issue, require the installation of a backwater valve. Make sure that the following are considered when installing one:
- Make sure to check local municipal codes. There are codes to follow. The last thing you’d want to happen is ending up having to tear up your installation because it doesn’t follow the codes.
- Talk to a professional. If you talk to local, licensed contractors, they’ll be familiar with these codes. They can also make recommendations on the right model to use. They can also install it for you. At the very least, they can present you the benefits and downsides of all your options so you can make an informed choice. Besides, most municipalities require that it’s installed by a professional anyway.
- It’s not enough that you install just one at the basement floor drain. You have to install it at all pipes that are deemed lower than potential water lines when it rains.
- You should also have the sump pumps checked since they’re connected sometimes to the drain lines underground. While it’s not entirely impossible to seal them off, it will require professional assistance.
Preventing Future Basement Backups
As mentioned, a sewage backup is unavoidable if it’s a municipal issue. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t do something to lessen the chances of its happening. These tips can help you do just that and lessen the negative effects in case it does happen:
- Take out the washing machine, toilet, sink and the likes out of the basement. These can add to the issue since they sometimes lead to backups.
- Install a sump pump. This can help pump out water buildup in your basement.
- Seal all the cracks in your home’s foundation. It’s also a good idea to waterproof it.
- Hire a professional to check and inspect your sewer line. They will check for tree roots and other blockages.
- Install a backwater valve.
Other Sewage Backup Problems
It’s not just sewage backup in the basement. Water backing up can also happen in other drains in your home. Here are other common problems to worry about:
- Toilet water backing up the shower drain.
This is weird and disgusting. You see water backing up the shower drain every time you flush. This is because there’s a clog in your sewer line somewhere. Since the waste water can’t go out of your home, it will go back up.
It’s not just in the shower drain. It can also back up your bathtub. Imagine having to use your bathtub with the mental picture of flushed waste water going up your bathtub.
- Toilet overflowing when taking a shower.
On the flipside, it’s also possible for your toilet to overflow when you’re taking a shower. It’s basically the same issue. Your sewer line is clogged.
You can try using a snake to clear the sewer line of the clog. But in most cases, it’s better to call in the professional.
Getting Help from Pros
You might be tempted to do the work yourself so you can save a bit of money. We’re here to tell you that it’s generally not a good idea to do so. Here are some reasons why it’s better to get help from the pros:
- You’re dealing with a major problem.
A backup may seem like a minor problem especially if not a lot of water is backing up, but it’s a result of a huge problem. It could be your sewer line. It could be the municipal sewer line. Either way, it’s usually above your skillset.
There’s also a good chance that you don’t have the right tools for the job. Sure, you could have a snake somewhere, but what are usually needed are a power snake and a few attachments. You can invest on it, sure, but why invest on something that you don’t know how to fully utilize?
- You could do more damage.
The pipes are very fickle. You could easily do more damage if you don’t know what you’re doing. Besides, delays can easily cause more damages. If you’re not a professional, there will be delays as you try and fail different methods to solve the problem.
- You’ll be putting your health and your family’s at risk.
As mentioned, water backup can cause a lot of health problems. Do you really want to expose yourself and your family to these health problems? All it takes is contact and you can easily expose yourself. Exposing yourself is exposing your family. Before you know it, you could be facing a hefty hospital bill. Worse, it can lead to death.
- It’s an emergency that needs immediate expert attention.
Yes, it’s an emergency so it should be treated as such. While you can afford to postpone work on non-emergency DIY projects like maybe a creaking window, the dangers brought upon by a sewage backup and the potential for a catastrophe make it an emergency. This is why the job has to be done right immediately.
Get Quotes from Competing Professionals
We have advice to homeowners that are concerned about being ripped off by sewer contractors. What you can do is to shop around for the best deal. Ask the best licensed contractors in your area that specialize on sewage backup in the basement floor drain for their best quote while letting them know that you’ll be comparing their quote with the quotes of their competitors.
Professional contractors wouldn’t take this against you. They’d do the same if they’re in your shoes.
What this does is it encourages these contractors to send the best quote that they can offer because they know that you’re after the best deal. You’re basically pitting them against one another. This will lead to you choosing among the best quotes.
It sounds like a lot of work, though, and it is. This is why we made the process easier by setting up a free service that you can take advantage of right now.
You see a form on this page. All you need to do is to complete the form with the basic details asked. The best contractors nearest you will receive your details. They’ll put together an itemized quote with an understanding that they need to send their best quote if they want to be considered. This is because they understand how this free service is set up. They know that their competitors will also receive your details.
There’s no commitment involved to using this free service. Try it today!