You may have been surprised, recently, when going into your basement and discovering standing water in the floor drain. Floor drains should contain some water, so don’t be worried.

Basements are more susceptible than any other areas of your home to absorb water because they are below grade, and standing water is typical for the main drain in the basement. The water’s function is to stop sewer gasses from rising through the trap and entering the residential area from the sewer line. The basement floor drain gathers any extra water and safely transfers it to a sewer or storm drain to prevent flooding. Through a pipe, water exits the drain and flows downward.

Your basement drain also provides an outlet for any excess water, including condensation from your HVAC system, heavy rain, or a leaking water heater.

A floor drain is crucial for keeping your home dry. It’s one of your first lines of defense in the event of a flood or malfunctioning equipment.

The drain acts as an exit for stormwater that can come into your basement during severe downpours by properly diverting any water from the house into the sewer or local storm drain system. After entering the drain, water passes through a trap that acts as a vapor barrier to keep sewage odors out of the house, before going down a drainpipe that leads to a public sewer. 

If your city sewer system backs up, certain floor drains contain valves that stop water from pouring back into the basement. However, drains should only be partially submerged in water. An overflowing drain may send a lot of water backward.

How Do Basement Drains Work?

A basement drain is set into a concrete floor that is typically hardscaped with fast-drying, waterproof, or water-resistant materials. You’ll find it located in your basement’s lowest point, the center of the floor, and slopes downward so any water entering the basement is directed down the drain.

A circular drain unit with a trap and a cleanout is embedded in the concrete below the grill. In addition, floor drains include cleanouts just below the grate that avoid the trap and let you and your trusted plumber access the line in case of a clog. A catch basin, a drainpipe, and a plumbing trap will be located underneath. A cap that covers a cleanout is typically removed for servicing.

Common Basement Drain Issues and How to Solve Them

Just like any other drain in your house, basement floor drains are susceptible to clogging. Debris and residue can build up and cause blockages. A clogged basement drain is an issue many homeowners deal with, and when this happens, it needs to be resolved immediately.

A leaking water heater, damaged pipes, and mainline clog are a few common reasons for water in the basement. 

There are various methods to solve a clogged drain in your basement including:

  • pouring water into the drain
  • clearing clogs using a plumbing snake tool or plunger

If you don’t have a plunger handy, there is an easy at-home cure for unclogging minor obstructions. Consider putting baking soda down the drain, followed by a good dose of white vinegar. Pour one cup of vinegar and a half cup of baking soda into the drain. Wait for 10 minutes while the drain is sealed. Please note this solution will likely not work for dislodging stronger obstructions.

Drain cleaners can help clear hair, leaves, and other organic material-related clogs, and utilizing a drain cleaner with activated enzymes will chew through the clog and sewage waste. However, commercial drain cleaners are not recommended for regular or heavy use because they may melt pipes and degrade the glue holding PVC piping together. 

A basement floor drain must be installed and maintained to preserve the overall condition of your home. You should familiarize yourself with how a drain functions to know the best strategies to avoid future issues.

We Help Homeowners

Flader Plumbing and Heating is uniquely suited to assist you in determining the solution that best fits your home and family’s needs. We’ve been serving your neighbors and our community for over 100 years and 4 generations. 

The Flader Difference

Only Flader Plumbing and Heating delivers:

  • The most responsive service. We’re here for you 24/7.
  • Personal attention from certified and licensed technicians.
  • The most dependable equipment and parts.
  • Money-saving maintenance agreements.
  • 100% satisfaction guaranteed.


Flader Plumbing and Heating recommends equipment, models, and brands proven to have the fewest problems and service calls. We specialize in:

Comprehensive Services

Whether you’re noticing bubbling on your ceiling, you need a new water heater, or your furnace needs cleaning, we are knowledgeable and provide expert service. Our professional technicians arrive on time, listen to your concerns, and answer your questions. They will recommend the right solution and deliver as promised.

Flader technicians average 15 years of experience and are EPA certified.

Expert service, quality parts, and satisfaction guaranteed. There is no reason to compromise. Call us at 847-491-6980. 

Doug Flader

Doug Flader, a fourth-generation leader at Flader Plumbing & Heating Co., upholds the company's long-standing tradition of excellence. While continuing to provide top-quality plumbing and heating services to Libertyville, Mundelein, and Vernon Hills, Doug proudly takes care of his community by supporting local youth programs around the Chicagoland area.

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Flader thrives on exceeding expectations of our residential and commercial customers.  We deliver cost effective solutions for homeowners and businesses.  Our Service Centers in Evanston and Libertyville are ready to serve.  Call us today at 847-491-6980.

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A long-term commercial customer needed an upgrade on their air quality system.It required two 20-ton and two 10-ton Carrier units mounted on the rooftop, plus piping and custom sheet metal inside their manufacturing center. The Flader Team went skyward with a huge crane to land the units on the rooftop.In just 2½ days, the transformation was completed.Click “See our Work” to view more success stories.

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Flader continues supporting local youth programs. We proudly sponsor EBSA and events at Robert Crown Community Center. It teaches teamwork, builds confidence, and strengthens our community.

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