Bathtub Backing Up or Overflowing: Here’s Why…


Most homeowners get confused between the bathtub overflow and bathtub backup even if they take very good care of their drainage system. Before discussing why backups occur you must now difference between the two situations, let’s dive in.

Bathtub backups can be defined as – accumulation of water into the bathtub due to drain waste water flowing backwards into the tub. The backups happen for many reasons (we’ll go over these below). On the other hand, the overflow occurs when the tub is filled beyond its capacity and starts spreading out of its limits. This is caused by a tub drain pipe clog or blockage. Here are some common reasons of bathtub backups and overflow for your consideration.

Bathtub backups:

  • Breakage in drainpipe: A collapsed drainpipe will not allow the water from your drains to flow to the sewerage system causing bathtub backups. For instance, your laundry drain water can be flowing backup the pipe into your bathtub.
  • Blockage in drain pipe. Sometimes unwanted objects like baby wipes, greasy substances, tissue papers, hair etc. are block the main drain stack. The drain waste water from your sink and other drains collects in your main drain pipe without your realizing it, after some time the water has no where to go but out from a tub drain.

Bathtub Overflow

  • A clog in a tub drain pipe, usually caused by soap, hair, and other waste.
  • In addition to drain pipe clog, tub overflow safeguard not working as it drains via same piping

Taking some careful steps can prevent these common reasons of bathtub backups and overflow. In fact sewers are designed for the disposal of some particular things. If one starts disposing each and every thing through kitchen or toilet drainage system then no doubt it will cause bathtub backups and overflow due to blockage in the drainage pipelines. Your drainage system is made to carry away only the water, human waste and toilet paper only. But most of the people flush many other things that can easily block the pipeline to cause bathtub backups or overflow.


The Dont’s

You should not flush greasy substances like oils and fats, medicines, rags, baby wipes, condoms, sanitary napkins, paper towels or napkins, plastic and food items of any kind, facial tissues, hair, dippers, dental floss and other garbage disposals to prevent the bathtub backups or overflow. Illegal plumbing connections can also cause bathtub backups or overflow. Connecting downspouts, sump pumps, food control systems and French drains to the sewer system come under illegal plumbing category, which is objectionable.

The Do’s

You can prevent the bathtub backups or overflow by flushing human waste and toilet papers only. Drain cleaners, ammonia based household and bathroom cleaners etc. can also be drained through your sewer system. In order to avoid bathtub backups and overflow you can install backwater valve in your drainage system, as it will stop the water from coming in.

Thus taking some careful steps can prevent common reasons of bathtub backups and overflow.