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Why Is My Toilet Backing Up Into My Bathtub?

Toilet Backing Up
Reading Time: 2 minutes

There’s not much worse than the sound of gurgling in your tub or shower when you flush your toilet. That heavy feeling of dread settles over you because nobody wants sewage in their tub. So, what exactly causes your toilet to back up into your shower or bathtub?

The Problem: The Toilet Backs Up

A toilet that works correctly drains into the sewer line in your house out to your main sewer. When wastewater backs up into your shower, there’s a blockage somewhere in the waste stack under the location where it connects with the tub drain. Luckily, this problem is easy to fix.

The drains in your sewer system are similar to a river and its streams. Each smaller stream represents a secondary line in your sewer. These secondary lines all converge to form the main sewer line in your home. When something obstructs the primary sewer line, it causes backups in the secondary lines. A clogged drain can impact the entire plumbing system in your house.

Causes of Sewer Line Clogs

There are many problems associated with clogged drains but here are some of the more common causes of clogged sewer lines:

  • Hair

    It’s inevitable. Even though we don’t notice it, our hair falls out regularly during showering or bathing. Over time it can form a net that catches other materials that would usually pass through your pipes unhindered get caught in these nets. This accumulation slows or completely stops all drainage in your sewer pipes.

  • Tree Root

    Tree roots are a significant problem because they can cause fine cracks and breaks in the pipes underground. Pipes leak moisture through the cracks and attract tree roots. Tree roots can even grow inside the pipes and break them or stop drainage completely.

    Only trained professionals such as Art Rooter, Sewer & Drain Cleaning should deal with severe drainage problems like tree roots. Their training includes solving plumbing issues like drains clogged or broken by tree roots.

  • Grease

    Grease, fat, and oil make their way into your sewer line while you wash dishes. They can navigate in the same plumbing pipes that waste from your bathroom travels through. These substances build up in your pipes over time and can completely clog the lines.

  • Flushed Objects

    Your toddler is enamored with the flushing action of your toilet so he flushes everything that he can get his hands on down the toilet. Uh oh. Now there’s a clog. Foreign objects also include feminine products, paper towels, flushable wipes, toys, etc. You should only flush human waste, water, and biodegradable toilet paper down your toilet. Flushing other things may cause severe damage.

  • Pipe Scale

    Gradually, a mineral layer composed of magnesium or calcium grows in your pipes. These materials come from the water in our sewer system and can build up on any surface. Eventually, the layers obstruct the pipes and clog your drains.

How to Unclog Your Drain

It’s best to call plumbing experts if water is backing up into your bathtub. Plunging is probably not going to dislodge whatever is blocking your sewer lines.

Professional plumbers can use a camera to inspect your pipes and look for obstructions or cracks. They can also mechanically or chemically clean the lines. It’s best to call an expert to help you unclog your drain because they are trained to deal with complicated plumbing issues. If you attempt to fix the problem on your own, you may cause more damage.


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