Friday, June 20th, 2014

Forget diamonds. Floor drains are a girl’s best friend

Square-shaped or pear-shaped, floor drains keep your home great shape. Truly a wonderful invention and a signature of thoughtful design, floor drains are highly sought after in basements, laundry rooms, garages, pool/shower areas, and even driveways.

Advantages of Floor Drains
If you have ever worked in a garage or basement without a floor drain, you understand how much nicer life is with them.  Floors can be hosed down easily and spills and minor leaks are a quick cleanup with a bucket of water.  In pool and shower areas, floor drains are a safety feature, keeping wet areas dry and reducing the risk of slips and falls.

Floor Drain Care and Feeding
Floor drains are covered by a “strainer”, generally made of brass. Strainers add to the aesthetics of the drain and serve to keep people from tripping into or dropping foreign objects down the drain.

On occasion, homeowners may notice an odor of sewer gas coming from the floor drain.  If your basement area is dry, it’s possible for the drain trap to also become dry, meaning that sewer gas can leak back into your living space.  The easiest solution is to prime the drain by pouring a bucketful of water into the drain, thereby re-filling the trap with water and blocking the inbound gases.

Floor Drains – The Canary in the Sewage Line
On the flip side, odors coming from floor drains can signal trouble elsewhere in the sewer line.  We recently had a case where a homeowner reported an unbearable smell of paint thinner coming from the floor drain.  As it turned out, a restaurant in the next block had used chemicals to strip their floors, then poured the leftover chemicals into the floor drain – a BIG no-no.  The only thing that should go into a floor drain is water, and perhaps soap suds.
As mentioned, floor drains can highlight areas in your plumbing that need attention.  If you notice sewage leaking up through the floor drains, you have trouble that may require professional attention.  Basements are the lowest point of your home, and are subject to water issues.  One of the biggest is tree roots – a common problem in Cincinnati, with its beautiful neighborhoods of stately and mature trees.  If you are thinking tree roots might be a problem, you have limited options:  use less toilet paper, contact a professional to set up a schedule of chemical-based root treatments (typically, copper sulfate powder), or replace the sewer line.
Like Diamonds, One Floor Drain is not Enough.