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Basement floor drains - can see standing water

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  • Feb 24th, 2011 11:10 am
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Deal Addict
Mar 12, 2008
1439 posts
113 upvotes
Toronto

Basement floor drains - can see standing water

With all the melting going on in the last 2 weeks I've been keeping an eye on my floor drains in the basement of my new house.

I noticed that in both drains i can see standing water approx 6" below the drain cover.

As ive just moved in i cant really tell if this is standard behavior for the house. It was original built in 1915 in the south end of York(war home) so i have no idea what type of drain system is there. The house has been renod extensively so its hard to know if any work on the drainage has been preformed.(my guess is not)

What i want to know is can i just jam an auger down into the drain and see if theres a clog? Are there any old drain pipe systems that i can damage with an auger? Or would i just run into a situ where it wont go any further in.

Or should i just pony up the 100 bucks for a plummer to inspect the drain system in my house. (would this be more then 100?)

thanks all
11 replies
Newbie
May 13, 2009
77 posts
2 upvotes
There is supposed to be water in those drains. Drains are meant to trap water in order to prevent harmful sewer gases from entering your home. Toilets have them, your sinks have them...

To test, just pour a glass of water down the drain. The water level should not rise no matter how much water you pour down the drain.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 12, 2008
1439 posts
113 upvotes
Toronto
anoopi wrote:
Feb 23rd, 2011 9:59 am
There is supposed to be water in those drains. Drains are meant to trap water in order to prevent harmful sewer gases from entering your home. Toilets have them, your sinks have them...

To test, just pour a glass of water down the drain. The water level should not rise no matter how much water you pour down the drain.

Thanks! i did not know that. i will give that a try when i get home.

I still would like to know though if i can put an auger in there as i have no idea if the previous owner ever cleaned there drains.
Deal Fanatic
May 29, 2006
7159 posts
673 upvotes
if your wanted the plumbing inpected, you do that before you remove your conditions, since it could cost you 1000s of dollars to fix if a problem is found
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 12, 2008
1439 posts
113 upvotes
Toronto
rocking23nf wrote:
Feb 23rd, 2011 10:09 am
if your wanted the plumbing inpected, you do that before you remove your conditions, since it could cost you 1000s of dollars to fix if a problem is found


i asked about cleaning the lines but thanks for your post... :facepalm:
Deal Fanatic
May 29, 2006
7159 posts
673 upvotes
redzone wrote:
Feb 23rd, 2011 10:41 am
i asked about cleaning the lines but thanks for your post... :facepalm:

you said

"Or should i just pony up the 100 bucks for a plummer to inspect the drain system in my house. (would this be more then 100?)

thanks all"


and I replied that if you are going to buy a new house, these concerns are best addresses in the inspection before removal of conditions.

anyways im not here to argue, good luck with your issue.
Deal Guru
Dec 10, 2004
10994 posts
868 upvotes
Kanata
redzone wrote:
Feb 23rd, 2011 10:02 am
Thanks! i did not know that. i will give that a try when i get home.

I still would like to know though if i can put an auger in there as i have no idea if the previous owner ever cleaned there drains.

You could put an auger in there if you wanted to but if you really want to know what's going on, get it scoped out. An auger won't tell you if you have a crack/break or something else going on in the drain.
Sr. Member
Aug 27, 2009
996 posts
196 upvotes
Oakville
If your house was built in 1915 then the main sewage line to the street probably has a trap in it. The problem with this design was that over time the trap usually accumulated sediment & debris and would clog, backing up the entire house. Contemporary plumbing has the main drainage pipe as a straight run to the street with individual traps for each and every drain in your house.

As to why you can see water in your basement drains? Who knows, maybe it's always been that way in your house but if you are really worried about it, do as others suggest and hire a plumber to scope it.
Sr. Member
Jan 30, 2006
618 posts
33 upvotes
RETD wrote:
Feb 23rd, 2011 6:11 pm
If your house was built in 1915 then the main sewage line to the street probably has a trap in it. The problem with this design was that over time the trap usually accumulated sediment & debris and would clog, backing up the entire house. Contemporary plumbing has the main drainage pipe as a straight run to the street with individual traps for each and every drain in your house.
Thats interesting. In Australia they have three - a boundary trap at the edge of the property, local traps on each fixture and an additional trap and overflow onto the ground beside the house. The boundary trap is vented, it is a simple phone call to get the trap cleaned free by the water and sewage provider. The plus is you don't get the gas from the rest of the system into your house. The negative is you can't have a basement, which is normal there.
Newbie
User avatar
Mar 15, 2010
34 posts
1 upvote
redzone wrote:
Feb 23rd, 2011 9:56 am
With all the melting going on in the last 2 weeks I've been keeping an eye on my floor drains in the basement of my new house.

I noticed that in both drains i can see standing water approx 6" below the drain cover.

As ive just moved in i cant really tell if this is standard behavior for the house. It was original built in 1915 in the south end of York(war home) so i have no idea what type of drain system is there. The house has been renod extensively so its hard to know if any work on the drainage has been preformed.(my guess is not)

What i want to know is can i just jam an auger down into the drain and see if theres a clog? Are there any old drain pipe systems that i can damage with an auger? Or would i just run into a situ where it wont go any further in.

Or should i just pony up the 100 bucks for a plummer to inspect the drain system in my house. (would this be more then 100?)

thanks all

redzone, so far, the best advice is from anoopi. It is normal to have a water seal, especially for your main drain(s) in the basement. So, if the water level does not change while you pour water down the drain, than, there is no reason for concern. Why tinker with something, if it works fine? If the house is as old as you say, it most probably has clay drainage pipes. An auger could damage them. On the other hand, if it was HOH style renovated, the pipes might have been changed to ABS. To scope the pipes is closer to $500 and not to $100. And who knows what he/she discovers? You might open a can of worms...(or should I say roots)... :)
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 12, 2008
1439 posts
113 upvotes
Toronto
agreed about dont fix if it aint broke.

my main reason for looking into the drains is i want to put laminate in the basement (to replace the cold tile) but im not going to put it down if theres a problem with the floor drains. i will jsut monitor for the next year and see how they handle the spring thaw.
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