Being a homeowner means making a plethora of decisions, some more difficult than others. Ranging from whether to refinish your hardwood floors or install tile to whether you should purchase a new refrigerator or keep your old one, there are many choices that, as a homeowner, you just have to make.
Some of these decisions are seemingly small but can significantly impact your home – like whether or not you can have a toilet and shower share the same drain. And with that said, is it okay to do so?
Well, now that you’re here, I believe that’s exactly what you want to know. And actually, you aren’t alone. It’s a question most people have at some point. But don’t worry! Herein, we’ll cover everything you need to know about that topic. Let’s get started!
Do Toilet and Shower Use the Same Drain?
Yes, you can connect your toilet and shower to use the same drain. Toilet and shower connection will not create any significant problems as long as you have a properly installed and well-maintained plumbing system. One thing to ensure, though; use a different waste trap for each of the two to avoid cross-connection contamination.
The rule of thumb is that every plumbing fixture needs to have its trap. A trap is a U, S, or J-shaped pipe installed below or within a plumbing fixture to prevent noxious gasses and odors from entering your home through the drain.
The component works by capturing a small amount of water after each use of the fixture. This water forms a seal that prevents the gasses from passing through. So, each time you flush your toilet or shower, the water in the trap is replenished, and the seal is maintained.
Even so, we know that the water coming from the shower and the one from the toilet don’t carry the same level of filth. In other words, the water from your toilet is dirtier than that from your shower.
That’s why it’s essential to have two different traps for each appliance – one for the toilet and the other for the shower. By doing this, you will be sure that the water from each appliance will not mix, thereby preventing contamination.
Greywater Vs. Blackwater
Greywater is any household water that doesn’t come into contact with human waste. This type of water includes the one from your showers, bathroom sinks, and washing machine.
On the other hand, blackwater is any household water that comes into contact with human waste, like the one from your toilet.
Your home has two types of water. We have the greywater, and there’s the blackwater. And just so you know, blackwater contains more filth than greywater. That’s why for sanitary reasons, you just can’t connect the water coming from your toilet to that from your shower, at least without putting in place some extra precautionary measures.
And one way to do that is to install a common vent. The vent helps to remove the waste gasses and odors from getting trapped within the plumbing system. So, by installing a common vent, you will be sure there is no backflow of sewage gasses into your shower or toilet.
Why Connect the Shower and Toilet Drain?
Connecting the shower and toilet drain will significantly reduce the cost of your plumbing project. This is because you won’t have to individually connect each appliance to the central sewage outlet – which can be pretty expensive.
Additionally, having separate pipes for each fixture isn’t always practical. That’s because it can create an extensive network of pipes that can be difficult to manage – especially if you have a small home.
So, by connecting the shower and toilet drain, you can save both money and space. Of course, you must ensure that the drains are adequately ventilated. Otherwise, you may encounter problems that could leave you regretting why you even decided to connect the drains in the first place.
Does Every Drain Need a Vent?
Yes, every drain needs a vent. The vent helps to keep the sewer system working properly by allowing air to flow into and out of the system. That prevents the formation of a vacuum, which could lead to airlocks and other problems.
Additionally, vents help to keep the system balanced by equalizing the pressure between the inside and outside of the sewer pipes. This helps to prevent wastewater from being forced back into your home – which could lead to serious health problems.
So, if you’re thinking about connecting the shower and toilet drain, make sure you have a good venting system. Otherwise, you may end up regretting your decision later on.
And it’s not just about having proper venting in place. It also needs to be well-installed. Having an improperly installed vent is as good as not having one in the first place. So, ensure that you get a plumber who is well-experienced in installing vents.
Otherwise, you may end up experiencing slow drainage, gurgling sounds, sewer odors, and even bubbles in your toilet bowl.
What Happens If There is a Clog in the Sewer Line?
When there’s a clog in the sewer lines, the wastewater leaving your home doesn’t have a place to go. So, water will build up in your plumbing system and may start to back up into your home – through the lowest drain in the house. That’s not only unsanitary, but it can also lead to expensive repairs.
The sewer line connects your home’s plumbing fixtures – including the toilet, sink, shower, and washing machine. So, it’s undoubtedly essential to your home’s plumbing system.
That said, a sewer line clog will significantly impact your home. It will affect all the fixtures connected to the sewer line, which is why we consider it the backbone of your plumbing system.
And if there’s a backup, you can expect all sorts of problems – from foul smells to overflows. It may even mean shelling out a lot of money for repairs. So, it’s best to avoid a clog in the sewer line in the first place.
Why is Sewage Coming Out of My Shower Drain?
Sewage coming from your shower drain signifies something is wrong with your plumbing system. It could be anything from a blockage in the individual fixture to a problem with the main sewer line. Either way, ensure you address the problem as soon as possible to avoid foul smells and waterborne diseases like cholera.
Some of the common causes of sewage backup are:
1. Clogs Resulting From Severe Pipe Damage
Damaged pipes can create a blockage that prevents the wastewater from flowing out of your home. So, the next time you see sewage coming out of your shower drain, check the pipes for any damage.
If you find that the pipes are severely damaged, you’ll need to replace them as soon as possible. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may even need to hire a professional plumber to do the job.
2. Tree Root Infiltration
Tree roots can grow into the sewer lines as they search for water. Once they’re in, they can cause a blockage that prevents the wastewater from flowing out. The roots can also damage the pipes, which will only worsen the problem.
3. Flushing Wrong Items
You’d be surprised at the things people flush down the toilet – from sanitary pads to wet wipes. Unfortunately, these items don’t break down easily and can cause a blockage in the sewer lines. So, if you see sewage coming out of your shower drain, it’s likely that someone has flushed the wrong thing down the toilet.
4. Sagging Sewer Line
A sagging sewer line happens when the sewer line isn’t adequately supported, which can cause it to sag. This can create a blockage that prevents the wastewater from flowing out and may lead to a backup.
What are Signs That the Plumbing Vent is Clogged?
Some signs of a clogged plumbing vent include slow drainage, gurgling sounds, and a foul smell. Additionally, you may also notice that the toilet tanks are emptying slowly. If you notice any of these signs, it’s one way to know something’s wrong with your plumbing vent.
A plumbing vent plays a pivotal role in your home’s plumbing system. It regulates the air pressure in the sewer lines, preventing wastewater from backing up into your home. However, it can develop clogs, and that can cause serious problems.
Sometimes the clog will begin small before it gradually builds up and causes a backup. So, it’s essential to be on the lookout for the early signs of a clog, which include slow drainage, gurgling sounds, and a foul smell. Act as soon as you can once you notice these signs to avoid a backup, which ushers us into the next section.
How To Unclog The Vent Pipe?
You can unclog the vent pipe yourself or hire a professional plumber to help with the job. As long as the clog doesn’t look like anything serious, doing it yourself should suffice. But it’s always best to hire a professional for more severe clogs.
The first thing you need to do is identify the vent pipe. It’s usually located on the roof, and the pipe sticks out. Once you’ve found it, you next need to cover it with your hand as someone flushes the toilet. If there’s no suction, then you have a clogged vent pipe.
And in case of a clog, try using a plumber’s snake to get rid of it. You can as well opt to flush everything out using a garden hose. Attach the hose to the vent pipe and turn on the water. Let it run for a few minutes before turning it off.
After that, check to see if the clog is gone. The check is similar to the initial – putting your hand over the vent pipe as someone flushes the toilet. If there’s still no suction, you may need to repeat the process several times. But if you can feel the suction, the clog is gone, and you can now use your plumbing system as normal.
Once you try that several times without success, it could be a sign that the problem could be more severe than a simple clog. In that case, the best thing to do is to call a professional plumber. It will cost you a little bit more money, but it’s worth it to avoid further damage.
You can indeed connect your toilet and shower to the same drain. You’ll find it more cost-effective and convenient. However, ensure that you consider the necessary precautionary measures. For instance, stick to a separate waste trap for each appliance. Sticking to precautions will help keep your home more sanitary and prevent any sewer line issues.