Improving My Home Repairs

« Back to Home

Three Reasons For An Overflowing Basement Drain

Posted on

An overflowing basement drain can be a major cause for alarm, especially if you don't know whether it is simply wastewater or raw sewage bubbling up into your home. The following can help you determine the cause of the backup so you can choose the right course of action to fix the problem.

Tree roots

By far the most common cause of a blockage, if you have trees or shrubs on or near your property, they are the likely culprit. The roots find entrance into the pipes through the seams as they seek out moisture. Eventually, these small roots become so large or dense that they block the drain. If the waste coming up appears to be from your own home – in other words it isn't raw sewage – then tree roots are the likely cause. You must bring out a plumber with a power auger to ream the roots from the drain. Then, you will need to either have the drain augered or use a chemical root killer annually to prevent future problems.


If the wastewater backup appears to be just from your home but you are positive that there are no troublesome roots, then something else has blocked the drain. There can be several likely causes – solidified grease, paint down the drain, feminine hygiene products, diapers, or even a buildup of soap scum that is trapping everything else. Chemical drain cleaners will sometimes clear the clog, particularly if it is scum or grease related. Otherwise, augering is still the best option, followed by taking care that nothing that results in a clog goes down the drain in the future.


Backflow is a more alarming problem, since this means raw sewage is generally coming into your home. The most common cause is a high water table. Many people suffer from a backflow problem after heavy rains or extensive snow melt. This overwhelms the municipal sewage system and the excess flows back into your home and out the basement drain. Due to the dangerous nature of sewage, you should call in a plumber. They can help clean up the mess and then install a backflow preventer to ensure that the problem never occurs again. These pretty much close the drain in the event the pressure begins to build from sewage trying to make its way back up the drain.

For more help, contact a drain cleaning service in your area.