Laundry Sinks and Floor Drains

utility sinks & basement drains

Utility drains are the drains in garages, laundry rooms, basements, and outdoor areas. Most of these areas will have drainage of some form, the most common being a basic drain in the floor leading to the wastewater line for the house.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Sinks in utility areas are often different than those found in kitchens and bathrooms. Utility sinks in most homes are deeper basins with a separate stopper plug, unlike bathroom lavatory basins. Laundry sinks also usually lack a disposal unit as you find attached to many kitchen sinks. Some utility sink setups even forgo the standard U-trap, and instead dump into or near a floor drain nearby. This may sound crude, but in areas where the floor is easily and frequently washed, catching and collecting all the waste matter that is rinsed down the sink can prevent larger problems from arising.

Patio and Pool

Outdoor drains, such as found on patio surfaces, will be different than indoor floor drains, and need to be maintained to remain clear of obstructions. In all drains meant to prevent flooding & damage from water backup, regular checking for proper function is crucial, but drains in outdoor pool areas are vulnerable to leaves or other debris.

  • How to Unclog a Laundry Sink
    Utility sinks are the deep basins found in garages and laundry rooms

    Often the drain will be narrow with a screen to catch debris. If this area has been cleared, but the drain remains slow or stopped, then a clog has formed in the U-trap or even farther down the pipes. In these cases a plunger or handheld drain auger is the proper tool for the job, but some clogs can be cleared without the need for either.

  • How to Unclog Floor Drains
    Cleaning floor and basement drains

    Clogged floor and basement drains pose special problems.  Access to the pipes from below is restricted. Basement drains and any drain that may flow either directly into the ground or to storm drain runoff should always have backflow prevention devices installed. Backflow prevention devices work by plugging up the drain if water starts to flow the wrong way, thus preventing water backing up and flooding your basement.

    Most floor drains however will be connected to pipes carrying wastewater and sewage away from the house. When this is the case, the drain will have a trap somewhere nearby along the line. In sinks, showers and tubs the trap is just underneath, but floor drains may flow horizontally some distance before meeting the gas trap. Floor drain traps are U-shaped, with pipes flowing to and from the drain meeting the U on the sides. The U itself is capped on both ends with threaded plugs, which can be removed to provide access to the pipes surrounding the trap. Floor drain traps often have only these end-caps exposed, with the pipes running below the floor. To find the U-trap for your floor drain, look nearby for two large capped end-pipes.

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