Few things look creepier than bubbling water rising from your floor. Backed up drains with nauseating smells can instill fear in homeowners hearts and are the stuff of nightmares.
Rarely is the problem the drain itself, though. The pipes and mechanics you cannot see cause the problems.
You can prevent a disaster with your floor drain if you follow a few basic maintenance steps.
Dump the Floor Drain
When you notice a foul odor coming from a floor drain, do not think the worst. You do not have a backed-up floor drain until you actually have tangible backup material. Gas does not count.
Plumbers construct floor drains like any other drain. Your drain will have a trap in it, designed to hold water and to prevent gasses from rising to the surface. When your trap does not have water in it, gasses rise from the drain and assault the nose of anyone within smelling distance.
Thus, to maintain your drain, begin by dumping water down it. Have a small bucket nearby that you can fill with tap water regularly. Then slowly pour the water down the drain.
To maintain your drain, regularly pour water down it. This will keep the odors at bay and help you know if the drain is compromised before you have a bigger problem.
Basic tap water is your first line of defense. However, if the smell persists, perhaps you have a bigger problem.
If the basic tap water doesn’t eliminate the rising, foul odor, you may need to up your game with the right chemicals. Perhaps you do not just have sewer gasses rising but rather a partial plug obstructing the flow and causing the odor.
Start organic. Begin with hot water and dish soap. Pour boiling water and then a squirt of dish soap down the drain.
Then pour one cup of baking soda and then one cup of distilled vinegar down the drain. You will hear a fizzing sound at this point as the vinegar and baking soda react.
Wait five minutes, and then pour an additional two cups of hot water down the drain. Hot water will help create the pressure necessary for adequately cleaning crud from your pipes.
The baking soda and vinegar solution will not solve the problem of a completely blocked drain, however. Sometimes you need to get even more aggressive with commercial chemicals.
Commercial chemicals with bacteria-killing enzymes can help you deal with aggressive clogs in your drain. These chemicals have the potential to eat through stubborn, organic matter.
Once a month, use the vinegar and baking soda combination to maintain your drain. This will give it a good cleaning and prevent buildup.
If you have more than just a foul odor but something blocking your drain, then you may need to move to a mechanical solution.
Plumbers like to use snakes, the mechanical kind, to clean out your drain. This device is more like an auger than anything else. It will literally grind away at whatever is clogging your drain.
Mechanical maintenance isn’t a bad idea if you want to keep your drain running smoothly. If the baking soda and vinegar cleaning aren’t keeping your drain clear, then run a snake through it once a month as well to prevent excessive buildup.
You can buy or event rent augers and snakes at local hardware stores. Make sure you use the auger designed for your size of drain since these tools come in varying sizes.
Running the Auger
If you’re using a manual auger, put its end into the drain and then twist down. Lower the auger slowly until you feel resistance, and then twist it back. Go back and forth through the clog until you dislodge it.
If you have trouble, pull the auger out, clean it, and start over again.
If you’re using an electronic auger, follow the same procedure, but just press on the foot pedal to run it.
Be patient with this procedure. Some clogs take more time than others to breach
Also, prepare your stomach when you snake your drain. This particular task isn’t for the faint of gut. You never know what kind of organic treasures you’ll pull out of the drain.
Typically, when your floor drain begins to back up, the problem is not the floor drain itself but what lies beneath. So if you can break up the crud in your pipes, you’ll maintain your drain and avoid even bigger problems.
If you don’t have the time of the stomach to maintain your drain, you always have the option of having your drain professionally cleaned. Professional plumbers understand your pipe systems and how to make them work as efficiently as possible.
To have the most efficient drain for your system, consider hiring a plumber to come in once a year to clean your drain. These guys have commercial chemicals and the industrial-strength augers and snakes that put domestic solutions to shame.
Avoid Bigger Problems
Sewage clean up services cost thousands of dollars, and often this is money a homeowner does not have and damage insurance does not always cover.
When you take the time to maintain your drain, you save yourself the thousands that backed water would cost. Even the annual cost of a plumber to clean your drain would save the heartache of losing belongings and the cost of cleaning up a smelly water mess.
For all of your plumbing needs, including drain maintenance, contact us.