Continuous floor drains are a great investment in basements and garage areas, especially if you have a washing machine or other equipment in the room. These drains help to keep the space free of standing water. Unfortunately, when a floor drain clogs, it backs up into the room and causes standing water. This can damage the floor and all of your belongings in the room. The best thing you can do is clean the drain out as soon as you notice it draining slowly. Here are some tips to help you clear a backed up floor drain.
Exposing the Drain
Before you can clean the drain, you'll need to remove the cover to expose the drain pipe beneath. Most floor drain covers are secured with screws, so you'll need a screwdriver to take it off. Once the cover is off the drain, you'll need to pull the clean-out plug. This plug blocks sewer gases from backing up into your house, so make sure you put it somewhere safe so you don't forget to put it back when you're done.
Flushing with Hot Water
If you catch the problem early, you might be able to flush the drain with scalding hot water to get things flowing again. Only do this if the drain is actually flowing and just running slowly. Sometimes, the hot water can break up whatever is clogging the pipes to get things flowing properly. To do this effectively, you'll want to have about 2 gallons of water boiled. Pour both gallons quickly down the drain to try to force the clog to break free.
Using Baking Soda and Vinegar
If your drain is still flowing partially and the hot water doesn't completely free things up, you can try to eliminate the residue in the drain by flushing the entire drain with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. The reaction between the two creates a heavy bubbling mixture. Put equal amounts of baking soda and vinegar down the drain and let the bubbling start. Once you see the bubbling appear in the drain, follow the mixture with three or four cups of boiling water. Then, once the bubbling stops completely, follow it with a couple more cups of hot water. If the drain still isn't flowing clearly, you might want to have it evaluated by a plumber.
Snaking the Drain
A plumber's snake is another good way to clear drains, and is often used when the drain in question is completely backed up. Plumber's snakes come in a couple of sizes, most notably in small sizes for sinks and smaller drains. You'll need the larger snake style for floor drains, so make sure that you get the right one.
Insert the snake into the drain and then turn the handle to move the snake further down the pipe. When you feel it stop or you feel heavy resistance, pull backward and then try again. This should break up the clog and force things along.
If you're not comfortable tackling the snaking process on your own or you want to have the drain inspected, talk with a local plumber like Doctor Fix-It for help.