Basement Drain Plug

Basement Drain Plug

One of the most common plumbing defects that I find in old Minneapolis and Saint Paul houses is a missing cleanout plug in the floor drain – especially during Truth In Sale of Housing Evaluations. A missing cleanout plug can allow hazardous sewer gas in to the home, and often indicates a clogged floor drain. Every plumbing fixture has a trap. The purpose of a trap is to prevent foul-smelling sewer gas from coming back in to the house. The diagram at right shows a P-trap, which can be found at sinks, showers, and bath tubs. The left side of the trap connects to the plumbing fixture, and the right side connects to the sewer. The ‘sewer’ side will have sewer gases present, but the water sitting in the bottom of the trap prevents the sewer gases from entering in to the house. Floor drains are no exception. The photo at right shows a floor drain, as viewed from the side. The shaded portion shows the trap where water will always sit, which prevents sewer gas from coming in. When you look at an installed floor drain, all that you typically see is the grill on top; the rest of the drain is always buried in the basement floor. When the drain line gets clogged If the drain line for the floor drain gets clogged, it needs to be cleaned out with a drain cleaning tool. The floor drain has an area which bypasses the trap, which will allow a tool to be inserted in to the drain. I’ve highlighted this bypass in the photo below, left. Normally a plug is installed here, because this is an area where sewer gases dwell. When the plug is removed, sewer gases come in to the house. After the drain gets cleaned out, the cleanout plug needs to be replaced. The plug is circled in blue in the photo below, right. What if the threads are destroyed? On some older floor drains, the threads that used to accept the cleanout plug are damaged or badly rusted, to the point that it’s impossible to screw in the cleanout plug. The only acceptable repair for this situation is to install a rubber plug. One type of plug is a piece of rubber that is sandwiched between two pieces of metal that expand the rubber when tightened together. The two photos below show a rubber plug before it’s tightened and after it’s tightened. Another type of rubber plug can be found at Real-Tite Plugs – a company located in Golden Valley. A missing cleanout plug usually means one of two things: The drain was clogged, someone removed the cleanout plug to clean the drain, and they forgot to put the plug back in. The bottom of the trap is clogged, and someone removed the cleanout plug to allow water to drain directly in to the sewer, instead of going through the trap. When the cleanout plug is missing it needs to be replaced, and the floor drain may need to be cleaned out or replaced. If the drain cannot be cleaned, the entire floor drain needs to be replaced. When I perform re-inspections on homes in Minneapolis that have had missing cleanout plugs, about one in five floor drains need to be replaced because the drain couldn’t be cleaned out. This is an expensive repair, as it involves breaking up the concrete in the basement floor, replacing the drain, then pouring new concrete. Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections – Email – Minneapolis Home Inspector Older Post Training Advice For Future Minnesota Home Inspectors Newer Post Buying A Flipped House? Here Are The Problems You'll Find.
basement drain plug 1

Basement Drain Plug

Let me start by describing my house. We are on city water and sewer, and the three floor drains in my basement are connected to the sanitary sewer system. That branch of sewer runs out at the front corner of our house and connects to a branch of our sewer line that handles the toilets and sinks in the main floors of our house out in the front yard. There is also an old well at the back of our house that was connected to the cold water supply in the house when we moved in (a pump in the basement draws water to a small tank in the basement), but I disconnected it and now have the well only connected to an outside spigot. We never had any water in the basement in our first 11 years in the house. That changed two years ago, when out of the blue the whole basement flooded, with water two feet deep at the low point. The water came out of the basement floor drain in the front corner of the basement. Three lines come together at this drain: the one that goes outside, the one that connects to the middle drain and the third that goes straight back. Not sure where this connects to. Possibly the third drain at the back of the basement, below the well pump? Two attempts to have the drain going outside snaked did not fix the problem, and water came in the basement through that front drain a few more times. The only thing that saved me was the use of a floor sump pump, but it took a few days for the water to do down far enough to let me stop running the pump. A company came in November 2011 and did an extensive review and found that the section of sewer line where the two branches connect in the yard was crushed, and found holes in the sewer line handling the toilets and sink where it exits the basement. They fixed both problems, costing me almost $4,000, and the problem seemed to be fixed. Until spring, when the basement flooded again. I should note that before and after the big fix, water would run continously through the basement floor drain, with it running a little deeper if we had rain. I had the sewer guys out again in the spring and they snaked the line and appeared to have fixed the problem. But two weeks ago we had a bad storm and water came up through that front drain again, flooding half the basement. I ran a sump once the power came back on and it got rid of the water after a few hours. Then last week we got hit with several inches of rain. My basement filled quickly; so strong that water shot out of the front drain a few inches high. I needed three sump pumps to keep ahead of the water, and it took a full three days to get all of the water out as it kept coming in, although at a slower rate. I called the drain guys again. They spent four hours checking things out and said they ruled out wastewater coming back into the house, but believe it must be a spring behind the house because the water was cold and clear. They tried plugging the floor drains, but when they did water forced its way up from the floor drain by the back of the house and some came in from the base of the back wall. So am I to believe there is a spring somewhere in the backyard that’s causing water to rush in? Is that well in the backyard a possible culprit? Is there something else I’m not considering? Please help as this is becoming a growing problem and we’re at our wits end. Thanks
basement drain plug 2

Basement Drain Plug

Let me start by describing my house. We are on city water and sewer, and the three floor drains in my basement are connected to the sanitary sewer system. That branch of sewer runs out at the front corner of our house and connects to a branch of our sewer line that handles the toilets and sinks in the main floors of our house out in the front yard. There is also an old well at the back of our house that was connected to the cold water supply in the house when we moved in (a pump in the basement draws water to a small tank in the basement), but I disconnected it and now have the well only connected to an outside spigot. We never had any water in the basement in our first 11 years in the house. That changed two years ago, when out of the blue the whole basement flooded, with water two feet deep at the low point. The water came out of the basement floor drain in the front corner of the basement. Three lines come together at this drain: the one that goes outside, the one that connects to the middle drain and the third that goes straight back. Not sure where this connects to. Possibly the third drain at the back of the basement, below the well pump? Two attempts to have the drain going outside snaked did not fix the problem, and water came in the basement through that front drain a few more times. The only thing that saved me was the use of a floor sump pump, but it took a few days for the water to do down far enough to let me stop running the pump. A company came in November 2011 and did an extensive review and found that the section of sewer line where the two branches connect in the yard was crushed, and found holes in the sewer line handling the toilets and sink where it exits the basement. They fixed both problems, costing me almost $4,000, and the problem seemed to be fixed. Until spring, when the basement flooded again. I should note that before and after the big fix, water would run continously through the basement floor drain, with it running a little deeper if we had rain. I had the sewer guys out again in the spring and they snaked the line and appeared to have fixed the problem. But two weeks ago we had a bad storm and water came up through that front drain again, flooding half the basement. I ran a sump once the power came back on and it got rid of the water after a few hours. Then last week we got hit with several inches of rain. My basement filled quickly; so strong that water shot out of the front drain a few inches high. I needed three sump pumps to keep ahead of the water, and it took a full three days to get all of the water out as it kept coming in, although at a slower rate. I called the drain guys again. They spent four hours checking things out and said they ruled out wastewater coming back into the house, but believe it must be a spring behind the house because the water was cold and clear. They tried plugging the floor drains, but when they did water forced its way up from the floor drain by the back of the house and some came in from the base of the back wall. So am I to believe there is a spring somewhere in the backyard that’s causing water to rush in? Is that well in the backyard a possible culprit? Is there something else I’m not considering? Please help as this is becoming a growing problem and we’re at our wits end. Thanks Reply

Basement Drain Plug

Basement Drain Plug
Basement Drain Plug
Basement Drain Plug
Basement Drain Plug

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