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Thread: Garage floor drain

  1. #1

    Default Garage floor drain

    Hi all,

    Like many, we got a lot of rain yesterday. We were out running an errand when a 10 minute downpour happened. When we arrived back home our garage floor drain had sort of backed up (maybe 1-2" of water in a 12' diameter area around the drain). After the rain stopped all the water drained and everything seemed fine. [note: we're on city water/sewer]

    Is this something I need to be worried about? We've only lived in this home since Dec 08 (it was built in 1985) so this is my first experience with something like this. Is it just a slow drain that got overwhelmed? Anything I can/should do to prevent it from happening again?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Plumbing Designer FloridaOrange's Avatar
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    I would be concerned, try having the line snaked as a first step. Talk to your neighbors who have been around to find out if the city sewer has been a problem for them.

    Does your city share sewer/storm lines?
    Matt
    Semi-professional plumbing designer
    Enjoying life in SW Florida

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the feedback. I don't believe any of my neighbors have a garage drain, but I'll ask around. A few of them have lived there long enough to possibly know whether or not this was ever an issue for the 1st or 2nd owners.

    A regular plumber wouldn't be right for this I'm guessing. Should I find a Roto-Rooter sorta place?

  4. #4
    Plumbing Designer FloridaOrange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pjsammy View Post
    Thanks for the feedback. I don't believe any of my neighbors have a garage drain, but I'll ask around. A few of them have lived there long enough to possibly know whether or not this was ever an issue for the 1st or 2nd owners.

    A regular plumber wouldn't be right for this I'm guessing. Should I find a Roto-Rooter sorta place?
    I'd rather deal with a full service plumber rather than RR.
    Matt
    Semi-professional plumbing designer
    Enjoying life in SW Florida

  5. #5
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FloridaOrange View Post
    I'd rather deal with a full service plumber rather than RR.
    Yea! Avoid the premium pricing...

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default drain

    One thing about garage drains is that they are NOT supposed to connect to the sewer system unless they have a grease/oil/sand separator to keep those materials OUT of the sewer system. So yours may not be a sewer problem as much as it could be a overflow from someother cause. If you have a basement, or the garage is on the same level as the rest of the house, it should not have backed up WITHOUT causing problems in the house itself.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    One thing about garage drains is that they are NOT supposed to connect to the sewer system unless they have a grease/oil/sand separator to keep those materials OUT of the sewer system. So yours may not be a sewer problem as much as it could be a overflow from someother cause. If you have a basement, or the garage is on the same level as the rest of the house, it should not have backed up WITHOUT causing problems in the house itself.
    blast! that's what I was afraid of. I'll take a picture this weekend. There's a PVC outlet pipe near the top of the drain. The rest of it just looks like a deep "well". I have no idea how it's supposed to work (built in 1985).

    I did check all throughout the basement and didn't see any other apparent problem. That's not to say everything was 100% fine, though.

    Will continue to do some research and may end up calling in a pro.

    Thanks for the help and tips to avoid the RR type of place!

  8. #8

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    update: So a plumber was out here w/ a snake this morning. We determined the garage floor drain ties in with the two downspouts near the garage. And it appears they meet at a "t" rather than a "y". Near that "t" is where the blockage is. I think we know where abouts that its and I'm planning to literally do some digging to see what's up.

    We put my garden hose down the outlet pipe of that drain and after running for 5-10 mins it started to backup. Within 2 minutes of turning the water off, it fully drained (so we're dealing with a partial clog I guess). I'm thinking about not even doing anything b/c it's only an issue if it rains so much that the downspouts get overwhelmed too. based on the number of trees we have and the previous owner's lack of common sense & maintenance, I'm thinking the downspouts are not running at peak efficiency. I guess I'll dig for about 20-30 minutes. If I can't locate the pipe, I'm done

  9. #9
    Journeyman & Gas Fitter Doherty Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pjsammy View Post
    update: So a plumber was out here w/ a snake this morning. We determined the garage floor drain ties in with the two downspouts near the garage. And it appears they meet at a "t" rather than a "y". Near that "t" is where the blockage is. I think we know where abouts that its and I'm planning to literally do some digging to see what's up.

    We put my garden hose down the outlet pipe of that drain and after running for 5-10 mins it started to backup. Within 2 minutes of turning the water off, it fully drained (so we're dealing with a partial clog I guess). I'm thinking about not even doing anything b/c it's only an issue if it rains so much that the downspouts get overwhelmed too. based on the number of trees we have and the previous owner's lack of common sense & maintenance, I'm thinking the downspouts are not running at peak efficiency. I guess I'll dig for about 20-30 minutes. If I can't locate the pipe, I'm done
    There is a good chance your storm water goes into a rock pit. Their is either a restriction (probably leaves and dirt) or the ground got so saturated it lost most of it's peculation rate and couldn't absorb any more water. Doubtful in a 10 minute storm.

    It is also possible that the rock pit has failed itself. This isn't good but is also unlikely!

    Have you had the lines inspected with a camera snake?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doherty Plumbing View Post
    There is a good chance your storm water goes into a rock pit. Their is either a restriction (probably leaves and dirt) or the ground got so saturated it lost most of it's peculation rate and couldn't absorb any more water. Doubtful in a 10 minute storm.

    It is also possible that the rock pit has failed itself. This isn't good but is also unlikely!

    Have you had the lines inspected with a camera snake?
    Good info - thanks.

    We have not had a plumber come out w/ a camera snake.

    How would I know if we have a rock pit? The only thing I can confirm is that there's one "daylight" for the downspouts on the opposite side of our house (it goes into the ditch in our front yard). I was able to dig and find the drainpipe from the garage and at least one downspout, but it seems to run away from that daylight (ie, it is pitched in the opposite direction).

    My guess is it runs down near our driveway, but I haven't seen a daylight on that side of things.

  11. #11
    DIY Member Dorrough's Avatar
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    Default slow drain

    When you say the drain connects to two downspouts, what do you mean? Are two downspouts from the roof gutters tied into the garage drain system? Or are you saying the drain ties in to other pipes in the flooring and runs to the daylight?

    We had a similar problem ... tried out basement drain for the first time recently and water backed up, only drained very slowly. That drain connects to another foundation drain under the basement slab, and water does come out of those. Snake couldn't find anything. Wondered if maybe when they connected up the drains, they forgot to take off the duct tape that was protecting dirt from getting in the drain during the pour. At least then we'd only have to dig up at the edge of the footer, not dig up the whole floor if the plastic drain had collapsed during the concrete pour.

    Not to worry, because blasting the drain with the air compressor blew out whatever was in there. We're leaning with the duck tape theory. Drain works great now.

    Once you get your fixed, there are two things you should do. One is to put screen, coarse hardware cloth over the ends of the drains so mice, critters, birds don't get back up in there and build nests and clog up the drain. Two, make sure your homeowner's insurance has a rider for water in the basement. This is different from flood insurance. Flood insurance covers you if there is an actual flood that invades your house. But if you get storm water backing up because of very heavy rain, that's not considered a flood and any damage isn't covered.

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