The garage is an impressive structure that can serve several different purposes. It can protect vehicles and other belongings from outside conditions. Or it can serve as an entertainment area, workout space, workshop, or hobby area.
Being that it can serve so many functions, it’s a good idea to have a floor drain in your garage to collect and redirect any water or liquids that may leak or spill. Of course, dirt and debris also find their way into the garage floor drain, which can lead to a clog.
Most garage floor drain clogs can be resolved by eliminating the solid blockage. This can be easily done by removing the grate, retrieving debris, and flushing the drain with hot water.
How to Unclog a Garage Floor Drain
Before we get into the steps, it’s important to point out that there are two main types of garage floor drains. The most common one is a round floor drain, which as the name implies, has a round hole in the concrete floor (about a foot in diameter) that’s covered by a grate. The second type is a trench drain with a long, rectangular opening on the floor to collect water. Trench floor drains are typically more expensive to install but are less likely to clog.
Round Floor Drains
Round floor drains are the most common type of garage floor drains. This is because they are cheaper and easier to install. Round floor drains usually have a metal grate that is set into the concrete. You’ll mostly find them in the middle of your garage and they often measure about a foot across.
Trench Floor Drains
Trench floor drains are a bit more complicated due to their style of construction. These drains are usually installed in the corners of a garage or close to the door and they measure several feet long and are rectangular in shape. Their trenches are set into the floor and you’ll find them covered up by a grate. They’re also known as channel drains, are more difficult to install, are less common, and are also more expensive than round floor drains. Because of the way they are made and installed, these drains do not clog as easily as the round floor drains.
Irrespective of the type of garage floor drain you have, most clogs can be eliminated with the same basic procedure.
If your floor garage becomes backed up or clogged, follow these steps to fix it.
- First, locate the drain (using the descriptions we provided earlier) in your garage. Remember that the concrete floor will slope toward the drain to divert water in that direction.
- Take off the grate. You will either need to unscrew or pry off the metal grate that covers the drain. If the grate itself is covered in debris, that may be the cause of the clog in the first place.
- Inspect the drain for a blockage. For this step, you’ll want a pair of gloves, a flashlight, and a small tool like a trowel or screwdriver. Look into the floor drain and see if there is debris in the pipe, such as leaves, pet hair, paper products, clumps of dirt, or any solid objects. Use your tool to remove as much (for lack of better words) gunk out of the drain.
- Flush the drain with hot water. Once you have removed as much debris as possible from the drain, pour hot (but not boiling) water to break up any remaining sediment and push it through the pipe. Important note: do not use chemical drain cleaners.
- Reattach the grate. Clean up the area and keep an eye on the drain to see if it is still clogged or gets backed up next time it collects water or liquids.
What Causes Clogged Garage Floor Drains?
There are a variety of causes for clogged garage floor drains, and the most common ones include:
• Leaves and Debris: Leaves, dirt, and other debris can easily be washed into your floor drain during rainstorms or when you’re cleaning up in the garage.
• Hair: Long hair from pets or humans can often get stuck in the grate of a floor drain, blocking the opening and making it difficult for water to pass through.
• Paper Products: Toilet paper and other paper products such as paper towels can also easily make their way into your garage floor drain.
• Grease and Oil: Cooking grease, oil, and automotive fluids can solidify when they enter the drain, leading to clogs and backup.
• Freezing Temperatures: If the temperatures in your garage dip below freezing, the pipes can freeze and expand, leading to clogs.
Taking proper precautions can help prevent common causes of clogged drains in the garage. Make sure that you always properly dispose of debris and paper products, that you watch for clogs in the drain grate, and that you keep your garage heated if possible. Doing these things can help ensure that your floor drains remain clear and functioning properly.
When to Call a Plumber to Unclog Your Garage Floor Drain
If this simple approach doesn’t fix your clogged garage floor drain, you might have a larger plumbing problem on your hands – which requires a professional. At Rick’s Plumbing, we’ve been helping homeowners in New Haven and Fairfield Counties since 1992. To schedule a garage floor drain clearing, call us today at (203) 874-6629.