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Bathtub Drain Backing Up

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  • 12-03-2019

Do you have problems with your bathtub drain backing up? Find out how to stop my bathtub backing up and what causes the problem.

It is quite common to see sediments such as soap scum, hair and other debris in your bathroom sink or tub. There is no cause to worry. However, when you drain water, and the water backs up, this should raise the alarm because it means that there is a clog in your drain.


It is important to note that your toilet sink, shower and bathtub drain the dirty water into the sewer line. The sewer line connects to these three and runs out to the city's sewer line or your septic tank. If you notice that the dirty water is coming up in your bathtub, and reeks of raw sewage, this is an indication that there is a sewer line problem. It could lead to some severe issues with your plumbing system, and failure to address this would lead to grave damage.

The leading cause for clogs in the sewer line is flushed items, grease build-up and among others. In such a case, plunging does not work because it is only meant for unclogging the toilet itself and not the sewer line.

If you suspect you have a main sewer line clog, get a professional plumber to check and sort the problem right away it could be a significant problem like a tree roots in your underground sewer pipes. It is an essential step on how to solve water coming through the bathtub drain.

The following are three messy signs to check out to see whether there is a clog in your main sewer line.

woman using plunger to unblock sink

Problems when using plumbing fixtures

Water can only go back up to your home whenever there is a main sewer line clog. There is a possibility of such a clog when you:

  • Notice bubbles coming from the toilet when you run the sink closest to it, or  the water level in the toilet rises.
  • Flush the toilet, and the water backs up into the shower drains or bathtub
  • Use your washing machine and notice the toilet overflowing or water backing up into the bathtub or shower.

Bad sewage smell coming from your drains

When there is dirty water coming from your shower drain or bathtub and reeks of raw sewage, then that is a definite sign of a clog in your main sewer line. This smell is quite unpleasant; it will be hard to miss it.

Why is Water Coming up Through Bathtub Drain?

Let's be honest. The chances are, you didn't expect to see sewage water coming up through the plughole in your bath.

There is a chance that you have noticed a bad smell in your bathroom coming from your bath. If you noticed a foul odour, this was a warning that something was wrong with your drainage system.

To resolve the problem and prevent this from happening again, you need to understand the issue is with your sewer pipes and not your bath.

How to Fix a Sewer Line Clog

Turn off the WaterAs soon as you notice a clog or blockage in your sewer line, turn off your water at the mains stop valve (otherwise known as a stopcock). The last thing you need is an extra flow of water in the areas of your home that are already clogged or backed up.
Check your Vent PipeSoil vent pipes are installed to take the wastewater from upper floor toilets, sinks and baths into your properties underground drainage system. A common tell-tale sign or problem with a blocked soil vent pipe is a sluggish flow of water out of baths and sinks. If you think you have a blockage or it's clogged in your vent pipe, it is best to call a professional to inspect it. They have all the correct tools to enable them to do the job, and of course, the know-how.
Snake the DrainDrain snakes are beneficial when you are trying to clear a clog or blockage in your sewer line. It would be best if you fed the drain snake down the toilet, turn it clockwise on its way down, be cautious as the drain snake might cause marking on your toilets finish. When you are pulling the drain snake out carefully twist it anticlockwise.
Once you have completed this process, remove the screws on the showers drain cover and remove it. Use the same technique as you did on your toilet and repeat the process. If the drain snake has been successful, the blockage will have been broken, and the bath and toilet will drain.
Call in BackupIf you have tried to remove the blockage yourself and it is still there, the next thing you should do is call a professional.

Common Causes of the Problem

Some of the most common things that can cause blockages in your sewer pipes are items being flushed down your toilet like baby wipes, sanitary products, nappies, cotton buds etc. It would be best if you disposed of these items in the correct, environmentally friendly manner. 

Hair and soap scum can pose a problem for baths and showers. It is best to clear these regularly to avoid problems in the future.

How do I Stop my Bathtub Backing up?

The best way to avoid this issue is by using a hair trap. These are inexpensive to purchase and will either fit over your plughole or rest slightly in the drain. They work by catching the majority of excess hair that tends to wash down the drain after a bath or shower. It is easy to clean them out and can save you costly problems and time in the future.


Are you experiencing a bathtub drain backing up? Have you tried every DIY method? If you require an emergency drain unblocking in North London follow the link below for professional drain clearance services.