Floor drains are common in many areas of a home, such as the floor drain in a shower, utility room, basement, or garage. Severe clogs can affect these drains, and a blockage can lead to flooding in the home.
1. Stuck Trap Seals
Many floor drains, particularly those that feed directly into a sewer main, are equipped with a trap seal that resembles a small ball. If water begins to back up the drain line, then the ball rises and plugs the drain so it doesn't overflow and cause flooding. In some cases, the trap seal can become stuck so water can't flow down the drain either. A plumber must clear the seal from the drain entrance to fix the issue.
2. Hair and Debris
Floor drains can be particularly prone to getting clogged up with hair and other debris. Taking care to keep the area around the drain clear and installing a debris screen over the top can minimize the issue. Fortunately, these clogs tend to be quite shallow, so a plumber can clear the drain with a small auger or with a high pressure spray of water down the floor drain.
3. Biofilm Formation
Biofilm is a mat made of bacteria, mold, and other microbial lifeforms. It grows as an almost gelatinous mat inside of drains, particularly those that tend to remain damp but don't see heavy use. Many floor drains meet the requirements for healthy biofilm growth. Over time, the film will plug up the drain so that it no longer empties properly and backups become more common. A thorough drain cleaning is needed to clear it out.
4. Downstream Clogs
Sometimes the problem isn't in the floor drain, but somewhere further down the main sewer line from the floor drain. It's just that the backup occurs at the floor drain because it is lowest and closest to the downstream clog. A full drain line cleaning may be necessary, either by using a sewer line drain auger or a high-pressure water clearing method like hydrojetting.
5. Scum Blockages
Soap and grease scum are the cause of many clogged drains. Soap scum is perhaps more common in floor drains, particularly bathroom ones. Grease scum can affect garage drains or basement drains on the same drain line as the kitchen drain. When cold water hits scum residue, it hardens in place while remaining sticky enough to catch every bit of debris that passes through, so a huge clog can form. Professional drain clearing is needed to clear it out.
Contact a drain cleaning service if you have a clogged or slow-moving floor drain.