Another Basement Drain Question

Old 08-21-18, 07:18 PM
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Another Basement Drain Question

I realized that I probably posted this in the wrong plumbing forum. Please forgive the rookie mistake.

Greetings. I am a new member who is an accountant by trade but I have lived through enough flooded basements to understand the importance of proper drainage. With that introduction, I wanted to describe a situation that I stumbled upon in my home, relative to a floor drain in my basement, to get the collective wisdom of this forum. I am not sure if this is normal or a budding problem that needs attention.

My home was built in the 50ís and is located in a suburban area. We have city sewers, both storm and sanitary. All drains in my home go to the city sewer. We do not utilize a sump pump or anything tricky (septic, French drain, etc.). So far, everything with my plumbing is working properly.

I have two drains in my basement floor. One is at the far end of the basement away from any appliances, laundry, etc. I have been using this floor drain to run a hose from a portable dehumidifier. I have been draining the dehumidifier this way for several months with no problem. Last weekend I discovered a puddle near this drain but it wasnít clear if the drain had a problem or if the hose simply got dislodged and ran all over the place.

After cleaning up the mess, I poured a couple of buckets of water into the floor drain and the water slowly disappeared. Here is the interesting part. The bottom of the drain is about 9Ē from the surface of the basement floor. The seems to be sediment in the bottom of the drain. I can put a long screwdriver in the drain and the tip of the screwdriver goes about an inch, maybe less, into the sand at the bottom of the drain. The other thing that is interesting is that I canít find a pipe exiting the drain. When I fish around it seems like there is some sort of irregularity in the wall of the drain in the direction of the storm sewer but I havenít been able to get a snake or anything else in this so I canít be sure.

Iím assuming that there is some type of trap involved but I canít find the exit. The water is going somewhere but where and how? There is water about 4.5Ē from the bottom of the drain. Iím thinking that this is the natural water level with the trap. I am thinking that it might be worthwhile to remove the water and as much of the sediment as I can with a shop vac and see it that reveals anything.

Thank you if youíve made it this far. Based on what I described, does it sound like there is an issue or are things ok? We have had a ton of rain and not a drop of water in the basement so that is encouraging but where is this water draining to and why canít I find an exit from the drain to the sewer?

Thanks in advance for any insights you can offer.
Old 08-22-18, 06:15 AM
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It sounds like a rusted out cast iron drain pipe. Do you have visible cast iron plumbing?
Old 08-22-18, 09:50 AM
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Can you tell at what height your sanitary sewer exits the basement? Is it underground, or above your basement floor level? Also, how deep is your basement floor from the exterior grade?

I ask because older houses sometimes have a floor drain that just drains into the dirt. It's fine for helping some errant water in the basement, but of course isn't a proper drain. They did this to not have to dig a sump, add a pump, etc.

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