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Thread: garage floor drain question

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member alaskapanic's Avatar
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    Jul 2011

    Default garage floor drain question

    1st post on the forum

    garage floor drain backing up when wife washes clothes. we have a private well and septic. after the wash is done it does go back down, but if i shine a flash light i can see water standing(down in the pipe a ways). in alaska some people recommend pumping their septic every year. don't know if that's overkill, but that's what i hear. anyway, skipped pumping last year and don't know if that's coincidence or related? question is what to do? try buying a snake? not sure if you snake in the floor drain itself or down in the crawlspace where all the plumbing is? any other suggestions appreciated

  2. #2
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Land of Cheese


    A floor drain should have a trap, so you should see water in the pipe.

    You can snake it, but you would be wasting your time if the holding tank needs to be pumped.

    If I were on a septic system, I would know how to check the tank level.

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009


    Septic systems aren't meant to be pumped annually, if you need to pump them that often there is something else wrong.

    Do you dump bleach and all kinds of other chemicals into your drains or what?

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona


    If your garage drain is connected to the septic tank, you probably do have to pump it every year, if for no other reason than to rejuvenate it. All the road "scum", salt, and oil that accumulates on the car and then melts into the drain is NOT good for a septic tank. It is also not good for a municipal system either, which is why most municipalities do NOT allow garage drains connected to the sewer system.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member schustermarie54's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012


    I've seen commercial floor drains built to code. What they look like is a large square hole in the garage floor with a grate over the top of it. A stand pipe comes up in the middle of the hole, flips around forming a trap and then comes straight up to within a few inches of the grate. This forms a large indoor pool to try to trap any fluid contamination before it can get into the sewer system or groundwater.

    It also doesn't work worth a damn, as they fill up with stagnet water and stink to high-heaven.

    Obviously the most important thing is to keep polutants, solvents, contaminants, etc. away from your floor drain. It's not like a dry well is a water treatment facility. If you put anything other than water down that drain, you'll be polluting your own property and likely the water table for the surrounding area.

    Now that you've decided to be careful and only allow water (and maybe a little soap) down the drain, you need to ask yourself why you need a 55 gallon drysump. What I did was run 4" DVW out to a 9" grated box in my yard (about a 9" cube), drilled holes in the box. Ran 10' feet of perferated 4" tile out of the box into a trench, and backfilled the whole set up in a bunch of 11B's. People around here would call that a "French Drain". People in France likely call it something else.

    The way it works, the grate serves as an overflow to let any excess flow into the yard, rather than back up into the garage. I hooked one of my downspouts into the same line.

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