8 Reasons Why Your Toilet Is Backing Up Into Your Tub

By |Published On: December 10th, 2021|Categories: Residential Plumbing, Sewer Systems|

If your toilet is backing up into your tub, you’re in the right place. Follow along! By the end of this article, you’ll know eight reasons why your toilet is backing up into your tub, four ways to fix a clog, and two ways to fix a broken sewer line.

Bathtub with modern faucet in green bathroom

8 Reasons Why Your Toilet Is Backing Up Into Your Tub

One of the main reasons why your toilet is backing up into your tub is because your sewer pipe is clogged. So, why is your sewer pipe clogged? Here are eight reasons why.

  • Tree roots are inside your pipes – Tree roots love to break into cracked and leaking pipes. Once they’re inside, they will grow until they clog up your pipes.

  • Cast iron pipes are rusting – Commonly found in homes built before the 1970s, cast iron pipes are a strong, durable material. Unfortunately, if they’re not maintained, they will rust and corrode over time.

  • Clay pipes are cracking – Also known as terracotta, clay pipes date back to 4,000 BCE. Mainly used because they were cheap and widely available, terracotta pipes are very weak and prone to tree roots. Clay pipes started to lose their value during the 60s and 70s once PVC and ABS pipes were developed. ABS stands for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, and PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride.

  • Shifting soil – If the soil in your yard or under your home suddenly shifts, it can induce pressure on your sewer pipes and cause them to crack. Soil can shift if your property experiences rapid weather changes, such as extensive rain, drought, or freezing temperatures.

  • Fats, oils, and grease – Do not pour fats, oils, or grease down your drains. The liquid fat will harden and stick to the inside of your pipes as it dries.

  • Drain cleaners – If you use a drain cleaner that contains sulfuric acid, you could be damaging your sewer pipes. The acid can corrode stainless steel, aluminum, and galvanized steel pipes.

  • Flushable wipes – Did you know that “flushable” wipes will clog your sewer pipes? It’s true. The wipes were only designed to be flushed down your pipes. They won’t break apart like regular toilet paper. It’s best to throw wipes in the trash.

  • Flushed toys – Make sure all of your kid’s toys are accounted for. If it’s small enough to flush, it’s large enough to clog.

Plumber cleaning hair from drain in bathroom

4 Ways To Clear A Clogged Tub

We’ve outlined four ways to fix a clogged tub, starting with making your own natural drain cleaner to hydro-jetting.

Natural drain cleaner – You can make your very own drain cleaner using common ingredients found around your home. You can use any of the following items:

  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Borax
  • Cream of tartar
  • Lemon juice
  • Dish soap
  • Hot water
  • A wire coat hanger

By combining these products and pouring them down your tub drain, you can effectively clear simple clogs. Read more about home remedies for a clogged drain.

Use a plunger – Plungers are the best option for clogs close to the drain surface. If the clog is deeper down your sewer pipe, a plunger won’t be very effective, and you should skip this step.

  1. First, plug the overflow drain if your tub has one.
  2. Place the cup of the plunger over the drain, creating a tight seal.
  3. Using firm pressure, push and pull the plunger vertically without breaking the seal.
  4. Plunge the drain for about 20 seconds.

If you still can’t remove the clog, use more force or move on to the next method.

Use a sewer snake – There are different types of sewer snakes for different clogs and pipes.

  • Manual cable drain snakes – These sewer snakes work like a corkscrew. You twist the snake manually to make the opposite end of the cable drill into the clog. Once you find the clog, you reverse the motion to pull out what’s blocking your pipe.
  • Flat tape snakes – These sewer snakes are meant for pipes less than 2 inches in diameter.
  • Power snakes – Hooked up to a motor, power snakes can clear out harder clogs.
  • Toilet closet snakes – These snakes are designed for toilet clogs and can be electric or manual. Toilet closet snakes have very flexible cables capable of navigating complex toilet plumbing.

You can buy any of these sewer snakes at your local hardware store or online. If you don’t feel comfortable using them yourself, you can always call a professional.

Plumber unclogging a tub drain with an electric auger.

Call a professional for hydro-jetting – Hydro-jetting is a sewer pipe cleaning solution only available through professionals. Hydro-jetting uses a self-propelled nozzle that shoots up to 4,000 PSI of water into your pipes, clearing away tree roots, sludge, or other types of build-up. It’s safe, environmentally friendly, and non-invasive.

The best way to tell you have a clogged pipe is by scheduling a CCTV sewer camera inspection. If the above solutions don’t work, the problem is probably a broken sewer pipe.

2 Ways To Fix A Broken Sewer Pipe

If you have a broken sewer pipe, call a professional. They’ll likely recommend two different solutions depending on the severity of the damage.

Traditional trenching – If your sewer pipe has collapsed, disintegrated, or is back-pitched*, professionals will suggest trenching and manually replacing the old pipes. The process is very invasive, but it’s the only solution in this case.

*Sewer pipes must be sloped down to the city connection, allowing gravity to help move sewage down the line. If the pipes are sloped the wrong way, the waste will flow towards your home in the wrong direction. This is called a back-pitched pipe and if you have one of these, it will need to be fixed using traditional trenching.

Trenchless sewer repair – There are two types of trenchless sewer repair; pipe lining and pipe bursting. Both don’t involve any trenching at all. Pipe lining creates a new pipe directly inside the old pipe, while pipe bursting pushes a new pipe into the old one.

Learn when it’s time to replace a sewer line.

Who To Call For Help

If your toilet is backing up into your tub, it’s time to call a professional. Get in touch with New Flow Plumbing. We’ll get you started with a CCTV sewer camera inspection to determine where your problems come from. Then, we give you a free repair estimate, followed by available repair options. If you live in the Greater Los Angeles area, New Flow Plumbing is perfect for you!

About the Author: New Flow Plumbing Inc.

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