Sewer water backing up into the bathtub can be a potentially serious plumbing problem. It also affects your daily routine and prevents you from enjoying your showers, which is another reason why you should resolve it as soon as possible. But why do these issues even happen in the first place?
How Does a Bathtub Drain Work?
We could describe a bathtub drain as the third level of the overall plumbing in your home. This drain is right below the tub, and it’s where the water you use in this fixture goes. It then proceeds to the secondary drain setup, which collects water from all bathroom fixtures. That means all the dirty water from the toilet, sink, and bathtub heads from here to the main sewer line.
Your main line collects the dirty water from the entire home and excretes it outside. The end destination can be a septic tank or sewer system, but the important thing is that the water left your main line.
Signs That Your Sewer Drains Are Clogged
These signs can help you to figure out a potential issue with the drains:
- You hear gurgling from the toilet and the pipes overall.
- The water pressure considerably dropped in the bathtub and the kitchen sink.
- You smell a funky odor coming from the drains.
- The water doesn’t go away down the drains as fast as it used to.
- There is standing water in the bathtub.
What Causes Water Back Up into Your Bathtub?
Here is why dirty water might show up in your shower:
- Something caused a clog. This is the most common reason for a sewer backup. It could be that soap scum, hair, and grease built up and caused a clog, or a toilet paper overload happened. Even random items that don’t belong in the water pipes could accidentally end up there and lead to this problem.
- Your piping system might be old. Drains and lines in poor condition have a higher chance of cracking. Shrubs and tree roots might puncture them, which leads to sewer backups.
- There was heavy rainfall. If too much rain falls quickly, there could be a line overload. This might lead to a temporary problem, which should resolve on its own soon after the rain stops.
How to Deal with a Bathtub Backing Up Dirty Water
Nine out of ten times, clogs are the reason why you are dealing with this problem. You begin with a visual inspection of the drain, but make sure to put a pair of gloves and check underneath it, too. Reach as much as you can and remove any hair clumps or other items that don’t belong there. Grab a flashlight and see if there are any other clogs further down the drain.
These tips can also help to deal with a shower drain clog:
- Put a whole pot of boiling water inside the drain. Hot water can help to dissolve soap scum, which often gathers around the pipe’s edges.
- Try a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. Grab a cup and mix vinegar and baking soda until you notice some fizzing. Add the content to the drain and allow it to sit for up to 60 minutes. Pour hot water to help the clogged mixture pass down the drain pipe.
- Use a drain snake. You can buy a plastic or metal drain snake, which is a drilling tool used by plumbers. This tool has a wire that you send down the drain pipe while holding the hand crank. If you come across the clog, try to pull out whatever causes it or push it down the drain.
When Should You Call a Professional Plumber?
A clogged pipe is an isolated incident that many homeowners manage to fix without the help of a professional. But if you are dealing with a main line blockage, you’ll need a trustworthy plumber to detect the issues and carry out professional drain cleaning .
These signs are the best indicators that the problem is serious:
- You see water backing up into the bathtub even when you use other elements. If you flush the toilet or use the kitchen sink and the water backs up in your shower, it indicates the clog is in the main line. The same applies if the toilet overloads when you use a washing machine.
- There’s a distinct sewage smell coming from drains. You’ll recognize that smell because it’s hard to get rid of it, and it’s highly unpleasant.
- The DIY fixes didn’t work. If you tried the quick fixes from the previous section and the problem still persists, the problem is somewhere in the main line.
Make sure to call the plumber as soon as you suspect an issue with the main sewer line. That’s the best way to avoid severe problems like pipe breakages. A professional might use different techniques, such as hydro jetting and video inspection, to resolve the issue. The replacement of the main line is something that only happens in extreme scenarios.
How to Clean After Sewage Backup
You might think unpleasant odors are your biggest problem, but the focus should be removing dirty water. It can contain germs, bacteria, and other contaminants, which is why you need protective gear, including gloves and rubber boots. It’s imperative to avoid skin or eye contact with the sewer water. If you have any sores or cuts, make sure to cover them properly.
These are the steps to follow in the sewer cleanout process:
- Remove the dirty water, debris, and soil. You can use a mop, wet/dry vacuum, or even a pump if necessary. If there’s any soil or other debris, collect and throw them away immediately.
- Get rid of destroyed items. It’s time to examine the items affected by the contaminated water. The smartest thing is to get rid of as many things as possible. If you have an item to save, remove it to an isolated area to clean later.
- Wash the area and any contaminated objects. You want to use soapy and warm water, while you can disinfect the surfaces and items with a mixture of water and bleach. Make sure to follow the instructions for the bleach.
After the cleaning process, look for mold throughout your home. Sewage backups often cause this issue, which is why it’s smart to search for a potential problem right away.