What Causes A Plumbing Drain To Backup Into A Bathtub?

Monday, November 30th, 2015

When your bathtub backs up with dirty water, you may wonder what causes the drain to overflow. Once you know that you have a backup, you need to find the cause and repair it. If you don’t hire a drain cleaning and plumbing service, you may find the backup continues until it overflows out of the bathtub, causing further damage. It is important to understand how a drain works and how plumbing drains backup into a bathtub in order to know what to do about the issue.

How a plumbing drain works

The plumbing drains within your home resemble a tree. Each drain connected to your bathtub, sink, or toilet is a small branch on that tree. These smaller branches are attached to secondary drain pipes that collect the dirty water from one area of the home and move it towards the main drain. The main line, which is like the trunk of a tree, will then take the water out to the sewer system or the septic tank.

Clogs can occur at just about any point in this branch structure. However, most clogs occur in the area right below the drain in the bathtub, sink, or toilet. Clogs in these areas usually cause a problem only at that fixture. These localized clogs are typically easy to repair, so hiring a drain cleaning service would most likely not be necessary in this situation.

How plumbing drains backup into a bathtub

If you find water backing up into your bathtub, the clog is probably further down the plumbing system. For example, you may find the water backing up into your master bathtub. All of the fixtures in the master bath likely connect to the same secondary plumbing drain. If there is a clog in the secondary drain, the water you flush down the toilet drain could backup into your bathtub.

What causes drains to backup into a bathtub? The base of the bathtub is usually lower than that of the toilet or the sink, which gives water flow less resistance. Liquids will take the path of least resistance, so when a drain starts to clog, water will backup into a bathtub first. If the bathtub drain gets too clogged you will start seeing the backup in the toilet and the sink as well.

If you see waste water backing up in multiple tubs or sinks, you have a clog in the main plumbing drain line. Any water you send down a drain has nowhere to go, so it will flow back up through the plumbing fixtures.

What to do when a drain backups into a bathtub

Clogs localized to a single fixture like the kitchen sink are fairly easy to clean by clearing the J-trap under the sink. However, when wastewater is backing up into the bathtub, the clog is much deeper in the plumbing system and could cause more damage. It is best to hire professional plumbers to perform drain cleaning in this type of situation.

Plumbers have special equipment that allows them to clear even the toughest drains in the hardest to reach places. Professionals can do drain cleaning quickly and efficiently. If you experience water backing up into your bathtub, call the professionals at Allen’s Tri-State Mechanical Inc. in Amarillo, Texas. You can call us at (806) 376-8345 or Contact Us by email to learn more about our residential services. You can also stop by our location at 404 S. Hayden St. for more information.