Unclogging drain in walkout basement

Hi,
We recently purchased a house with a walkout basement. After some heavy rain, we discovered that the drain in the walkout does not drain properly. Water pooled during the rain (fortunately, not enough to make it inside) and drained over the course of a few hours.
Any tips on how to unclog this drain? How do I know if it leads to the sewage system? If so, can I just pour Draino into it? I was going to try to open the grate to see if I could fish stuff out.
I'm new to home ownership, so any tips are appreciated.
Thanks, PB
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with goggles and rubber glove protection, loosen the cover on it and have a look in. scoop out any muck with a garden trowel or your least favorite serving spoon into a trash basket with a heavy duty trash bag. there should be a trap like under a sink to separate the sewer gas from the drain you see. but have your neighbors recommend an experienced plumber to snake your drains including any roof and basement connections. let him explain how your sewage system works, and follow his advice. -b
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buffalobill wrote:

Basement floor drain, in most cases, does NOT go to sanitary sewer or septic, if installed properly. (Exception for old urban areas that had or have combined storm/sanitary systems.) It should go to sump pit and/or foundation drains, which should either lead to a drywell or daylight exit. Drano will be useless, since the clog is probably not organic. OP should call local generic roto-rooter company to get the drains snaked, and maybe have a camera run down them, if cleaning the trap right under the grate does not help. BTDT, but in my case the drain pipes themselves had failed, due to rust or heavy minerals clogging them like an old teakettle. Drain Guy's heaviest auger got stuck 3 feet in. Still not sure how I am going to address that, since my sump pit is bone dry even in heavy rains. It would cost thousands to cut the slab and replace them, and would not pay back on resale, so I may just fill the drain holes with sackcrete and forget them.
-- aem sends...
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Does your drain "daylight" somewhere? If oyu know the location oyu could snake the line from there whilst put water up the drain to flush.
Otherwise snake from basement to sump & use a vacuum to suck out the debris. If oyu can access the drain & the sump location it might be possible to pull a "pex-like" re-pipe with minimal digging
cheers Bob
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fftt wrote:

Not sure who you were talking to, but if you were talking to me...
Floor drains and wall standpipe for washer, both no longer work. I think floor drains and foundation drains (if any) used to drain to daylight where driveway used to be, before they plugged up old single car garage door under the bedrooms, and filled in the front yard. I think the washer drain used to go to a drywell, that got destroyed when they did the family room/2 car garage addition on main level. The wall standpipe and floor drains MAY be connected- when I moved in, I tested washer standpipe by running a hose into it for five minutes, and it seemed to work fine. However, an hour later, all the water reappeared on basement floor. At the time, I thought it came up through floor drain, but I now think it came in at base of wall, since I later had some seepage there before I regraded yard. No sign that floor drains are hooked to sump- I think it is just a hole in the floor. As mentioned in previous post, I tried cleaning out the dirt from the drain traps, and having lines powered-augered, no joy.
Bottom line is, I think that along with the floor drains, the foundation drains are failed or missing. (Very sandy around here- they may had decided they were not needed.) Sump pit has been bone dry since I moved in, and my basement slab is above street level, so I'm not terribly worried about groundwater coming up. If I can manage to address some outside drainage issues (like the pipes idiot previous owner put in that direct downspouts straight down along the barely-sealed basement walls, and the improper flashing under the sliders that I can't fix till I tear down the deck), I'm pretty sure basement will stay dry. Thus, it is hard to justify breaking basement slab and installing new drains. Cutting off the wall standpipe with an angle grinder, and mudding it and the floor drains over with concrete, would be the low-buck solution, and make it clear to next owner that only drain from basement is the collector pipe on wall that leads to the septic.
Now if I could just figure out some way to make basement sink usable- right now it just drains onto the floor over the failed drain. Perhaps one of those plastic boxes with the built-in pump. I could route sink and washer into it, since the current extended extra-tall drain hose for washer makes it drain slow.
Aren't undocumented middle-age houses fun? All this would simpler if previous owner hadn't 'finished' the basement. Bare concrete is so much easier to diagnose....
-- aem sends...
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I was talking to you and based on your latest post it seems to me oyu have a good handle on the situation....I was hoping that the drain would daylight somewhere and oyu could it bring it back online.
I think your idea of the "sump pump in a box" is a good idea ......my former boss used one that allowed him to have an "old school" darkroom in is garage.
I got rid of my "undocumented middle-age house"; built in the early 60's / late 50's. It had at least a half dozen owners and was a maintenance / repair nightmare.
I was in the crawlspace doing some re-piping, wet & muddy when I noticed two single conductors (looked like old TW) coming down out of the subfloor & disappearing into the dirt. I had my helper throw the main breaker, finished my work & got out of there.
cheers Bob
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wrote:

I have the EXACT same setup and situation as you aem only with an unfinished basement and it isn't any easier to diagnose...I can get a hose out past the daylight wall but is plugged or whatever futher out..Here in Maine it is illegal to have anything running into the cellar drain and have a dry cellar so I haven't bothered with it...Had to pipe the washer and water softener discharge into the septic line when I renovated to bring it up to code...Did away with the utility sink...I miss it too but can't justify the expense of a pump to push it up to the septic line..Garage drains are illegal here too as I found out when I had mine built...Had to pitch the slab toward the doors...Maine...The Nanny State....
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Thanks again for the advice. I've opened the drain and started scooping some of the gunk out. As suspected, what I've found is a lot of muck, mostly soil, within there. I forgot to bring my serving spoon (we don't live there yet), so I couldn't finish doing my scooping, but will continue that later.
I'm hoping that after finishing scooping the stuff out I'll be in good enough shape that I don't need a plumber to come and snake.
Thanks, PB
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PB2 wrote:

plants in the basement, where did the dirt come from? That indicates to me it is likely a drain pipe failed, and it is sucking in the dirt from under the slab, or the floor drains are tied into the foundation drains, and the whole system is full of dirt.
-- aem sends...
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I may have imprecisely described the situation. This drain is actually outside the house. The basement has a door that opens to the backyard, with 3-4 steps up to get to ground level. The drain I'm describing is at the bottom of those steps, but outside the house. Water pools there whenever it rains, simply because it's outside the house. I'm assuming the buildup of soil is from years of rainwater with small amounts of soil.
Does that make sense? Am I missing something here? Are the concerns you've described valid given the above scenario?
Thanks, PB

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PB2 wrote:

foundation perimeter drains. Or it could just be a grate over a foot of gravel under the steps. Precast stairwell, brick, or something else? An outside drain like that would not be likely to be tied in to sewer. Do downspouts from gutters spill into yard, or do they vanish into pipes into the ground? If the latter, the stairwell drain probably goes to the same place.
Keep on diggin'. If it is simply dirt and yard waste that collected down there, once you have dug out all you can, a power auger should be able to cut it with no problem.
-- aem sends....
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And im sure they knew about it and didnt tell you, I wonder if you have signs of basement flooding, like new paint.
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I would start with seeing if the trap is blocked. These often get full of gunk. Ususally walkouts dont connect to a sewer system. They just drain to outside somewhere, maybe a drywell or just out on the ground in a lot of cases. The fact that it is not draining may be the least of your worries. You need to be more concerned about how the water is getting in. Hopefully water is backing up your drain. This happened to a friend when she terraced the back of her yard. The rainwater pooled on a terrace where the drain emptied out and backed up into the basement. This would be the best you could hope for.
Jimmie
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replying to PB2, Iposter2016 wrote: Hello, I was wondering what you ended up doing. I am having almist exactly same thing going on in my house. I also have walkout pato/backyard, whete my basement is 2 steps down from ground and there is a drain at the door front, lowest point. My guess is I don't have a dry well or undersuzed if there is one. A sewer guy snaked it once but didn't solve the problem.
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I hope he has found an answer after 7 years........................
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