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Standing Water In Basement Floor Drain – Is This Ok?

The basement floor drain is one of the most crucial components of your home's plumbing. It might have shocked you if you recently descended the stairs into your basement and discovered standing water in the floor drain. If you're curious about whether floor drains should contain water, don't worry! We've researched this matter and have some answers for you.

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Basements are more susceptible than any other component of your home to absorb water because they are below grade. Standing water in your basement floor drain is normal, and it stops sewer gases from rising through the trap and entering the residential area. The basement floor drain will emit a foul smell if the standing water has evaporated from the trap.

It is crucial to learn the purpose of your basement floor drain. In this post, we will discuss how floor drains work in a basement, how to unclog a basement drain, and whether a floor drain can dry out. Continue reading to learn more.

Water rise on the basement with laundry machine, Standing Water In Basement Floor Drain - Is This Ok?

Standing Water In Basement Floor Drain

Water that accumulates on your basement floor is collected by the basement floor drain. A floor drain is crucial for keeping your home dry. It is one of your first lines of defense in the event of a flood or malfunctioning equipment.

It acts as an exit for stormwater that can infiltrate your basement during severe downpours. It properly diverts any water from the house and into the sewage or local storm drain system.

It also provides an outlet for any excess water, including condensation from your HVAC system, heavy rain, or a leaking water heater.

A basement drain is set into a concrete floor, typically during the initial construction of the house but occasionally afterward as well.

Most basement floor drains are located in the center of the floor and slope downward so that any water entering the basement is directed down the drain. 

The basement floor is typically hardscaped with a fast-drying, waterproof, or water-resistant material. Your basement's lowest point is where your floor drain is located.

Standing water is typical for the main drain in the basement. The water's function is to stop sewer gases from rising through the trap and entering the residential area from the sewer line.

However, you might smell something nasty if the trap underneath the drain is dry or if the cleanout stopper is missing. Pouring water down the drain can solve the issue quickly.

As a result, the standing water will drain and make way for fresh water in the trap.

parents basement drain in St. Louis Missouri

How Do Floor Drains Work In A Basement?

PVC piping is used in most of today's drains, especially for the drainpipe. Cast iron is a material that was used to build old drains.

A washing machine, a water softener, or a basement laundry sink can all be drained through drains connected to the sewer system. A removable protective grill is always present on the drain.

The basement floor drain gathers any extra water and safely transfers it to a sewer or storm drain to prevent flooding. Through a pipe, water exits the drain and flows downward.

After entering the drain, water passes through a trap, which acts as a vapor barrier to keep sewage aromas out of the house, before going down a drainpipe that leads to a public sewer. 

A sump pump in a home basement-plumbing repair

A circular drain unit with a trap and a cleanout is embedded in the concrete below the grill. In addition, floor drains include cleanouts just below the grate that avoid the trap and let you or the plumber access the line in case of a clog.

A catch basin, a drainpipe, and a plumbing trap will be located underneath. A cap that covers a cleanout is typically removed for servicing.

If the city sewer system backs up, certain floor drains contain valves that stop water from pouring back into the basement. However, remember that drains should only be partially submerged in water.

An overflowing drain may send a lot of water backward. It can result in the same problem with odor, rats, and insects entering your home. 

Backflow is a hazard when the floor drain is linked to the sewer. A float in the valve will rise with the water or sewage when it backs up, sealing the drain. Also, draining any water containing chemicals connected to a sump pit is against the law.

How Do You Unclog A Basement Drain With Standing Water?

Installation of a new sump pump and the removal of the old obsolete rusty one

Basement floor drains are susceptible to clogging like any other drain in your house. Debris and residue can build up and cause blockages. A clogged basement drain is an issue many homeowners deal with, and it needs to be resolved immediately.

A leaking water heater, damaged pipes, and mainline clog are a few common reasons for water in the basement. There are various methods to solve a clogged drain in your basement:

1. Pour Water Into The Rain

By pouring water into the drain, you may determine whether it is clear or clogged. Grab a bucket and pour a few gallons of water down the drain.

No matter the amount of water you pour down the drain, the water level shouldn't rise if the drain is not clogged.

Hot water is an additional helpful solution for mild blockages. Pour water that has been heated to at least 200 degrees together with a dish soap. 

Fill the traps roughly once a month if sewer gas is an issue and there isn't much water in your floor drains. A dry drain is a dead-end obstruction for waste because it will continue accumulating toxins that release carbon dioxide as it sits there. 

2. Snake Tool

You can clear clogs using a plumbing snake tool. Don't forget to put on gloves, goggles, and a face mask to protect yourself from the bacteria that may be present in the backed-up sewer water.

Remove the drain cover. Use the snake to clear the obstruction.

The snake's tip is inserted into the drain while being continually rotated. Stop rotating when the snake reaches its terminus. Pull the snake back slowly, cleaning out the ending debris.

Avoid having debris wash down the drain. Remove any leaves, dirt, or other material from your basement drain.

Click here to see this Snake tool drain cleaner on Amazon.

3. Plunger

A drain plunger clears obstructions by providing suction that applies pressure to the obstacle, forcing it loose. After a few forceful plunger pumps, a slight obstruction ought to disappear.

You must make an airtight seal around the drain for a plunger to function. Then push the handle in and out to plunge the drain until the obstruction is cleared. 

Minor debris that may be obstructing the drain can be cleared by using a plunger.

Click here to see this plunger on Amazon.

4. Baking Soda and Vinegar Solution

If you don't have a plunger handy, this straightforward home cure is a fantastic solution for unclogging minor obstructions.

Take immediate action to clear the obstruction if it seems slow or clogged. Consider putting baking soda down the drain, followed by a good dose of white vinegar.

Pour one cup of vinegar and a half cup of baking soda into the drain. Wait for 10 minutes while the drain is sealed. Note that this solution has trouble dislodging stronger obstructions.

Click here to see this pure baking soda on Amazon.

5. Commercial Drain Cleaner

Drain cleaners help clear hair, leaves, and other organic material-related clogs. Utilizing a drain cleaner with enzymes that have been activated will chew through the clog and sewage waste.

However, commercial drain cleaners may melt pipes and degrade the glue holding PVC piping together.

Click here to see this Drano drain clog cleaner on Amazon.

To have your drain professionally cleaned, contact a sewage and drain cleaning firm.

Can A Floor Drain Dry Out?

Floor drains that aren't used very often will dry out, allowing smelly odors to escape. A dry drain may eventually become filled with debris, causing your sewer line to clog.

In Closing

Water rise on the basement with laundry machine

A basement floor drain must be installed and maintained to preserve the overall condition of your home. You should familiarize yourself with how a drain functions to know the best strategies to avoid future issues.

You should reach out to experts if you are unsure how to fix your basement floor drain issues. We hope the details above have helped you with your concerns.

Before you leave, check out these other posts that might interest you:

Water Coming Up From Basement Floor—What To Do?