3 Common Causes of Drain Backups

When water backs up out of a floor drain, it usually means there is a clog in the drain line, not the floor drain itself. When there is a clog in the main building drain — with water running down the drain from an upper fixture — water will back up in the drain line until it finds somewhere else to come out.

3 Common Causes of Drain Backups

No one wants a sewage or even water backup in their home, but it can happen to anyone. When we get calls from homeowners who need help diagnosing and repairing their drain issue, the cause is usually one of these three things.

1. Toilet Paper, Baby Wipes, Napkins, Etc.

Flushing facial tissues, napkins, diapers and other waste down your toilet creates clogs and backups from other drains. The only thing you should be flushing down the toilet is waste and toilet paper. Make sure to keep a garbage can near.

Stop putting toilet paper into your toilet or septic system
Stop putting materials (from too much toilet paper to cat litter) down your toilet or into your septic system. You will create problems over time.

2. Tree Roots

You commonly find roots in a sewer line. Tree roots can cause a couple of problems for your sewer lines. Firstly, they can grow into the pipes and cause holes and blockages. Secondly, they may wrap around your sewer line and crush it.

Even if you don’t have trees directly in the area of your main sewer line, neighboring trees might be an issue which may lead to a drain backup.

sewer repair tree roots
Tree roots damaging a sewer line; a very common problem that can cause serious main line drain backups of waste water into your home or yard.

3. Broken or Collapsed Sewer Lines

Older homes are susceptible to broken or cracked sewer lines. Unfortunately, this h is due to the type of piping they are made out of. Cast iron tends to rust from the inside out as it ages and clay pipes are easily disrupted by tree roots. These days, it’s more common to use stronger, plastic sewer lines.

When a line is cracked or collapsed, the sewage won’t be able to properly drain through the system—leading to immediate and frequent drain backups. 

Excavated terracota sewer pipe that is broken and made out of clay
Broken or collapsed sewer lines are fairly common, especially in older homes with clay pipes.

What To Do When Your Drain Backs Up

If you only have one sink, toilet, or tub giving you problems, you might only have a clog in that one line. However, if every flush creates a sewage drain backup in your home, you likely have a blockage in your main sewer line.

If you experience a backup from a floor drain or any drain, get help from a professional plumber. A plumber will be able to do a video inspection of your sewer line. They will be able to show you exactly where and what the cause of the clog is. 1-Tom-Plumber can prescribe the most appropriate, safest, and least expensive solution.

Read more about what causes broken sewer lines here.

Call 1-Tom-Plumber

1-Tom-Plumber responds immediately to any of your emergency plumbingdrain cleaning and drain clearing, or water damage problems. We also have specialists who excavate, repair, and replace broken sewer lines. Just send us a message or call us at 1-866-758-6237.

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