Many homes are equipped with floor drains. You can usually find them in the basement, in a utility room, or out in the garage. These drains hook into your home's main sewer line, so issues with backups in a floor drain can lead to raw sewage coming up into your home. The following maintenance tips can help you avoid this problem.
1. Refresh the Traps
Every floor drain has a trap, which is a bend in the pipe that is designed to hold water. This water acts as a buffer that prevents sewer gas from backflowing into the room. If a trap dries out, the sewer gas may leak and flow backups in the main line may become more likely. If you have a little-used floor drain that may dry out, then make a point to pour a pitcher of water down the drain about once a week.
2. Sweep Carefully
A major cause of clogs in floor drains is debris from the floor. It gets accidentally swept into the drain when you are cleaning. When sweeping in a room with a floor drain, start at the drain and sweep outward from it to prevent debris from getting into the drain. Make sure all debris is swept up before mopping, as you don't want to accidentally push things into the floor drain with your mop.
3. Flush Periodically
Soap scum, dirt, and hair can collect in floor drains. The scum traps the other debris until a major clog eventually forms. This is especially common in laundry rooms and bathrooms where soaps and detergents frequently make their way into a floor drain. Bring a kettle of water to a boil and pour it down the drain. The water loosens up the hardened soap scum and helps flush away any developing clogs. Do this every week or two, depending on how heavily the drain is used.
4. Install Drain Guards
A drain guard or a hair catcher is a mesh cover that allows water to make its way into the drain but keeps other debris out. The smaller the holes in the guard, the fewer items can get into the drain pipe. Just keep in mind you will need to clean off the surface of the guard frequently so it doesn't become blocked.
5. Schedule Periodic Cleanouts
Even with regular maintenance, a floor drain can become clogged. If you notice slow drainage or periodic backups, it's time to have the floor drain cleaned out professionally. A plumber can use an auger or hydrojetting to make sure the pipes are clear.
Contact a plumbing contractor in your area for more help.