What to do when your basement smells like a sewer.
We have a love-hate relationship with basements. They make a great use of square footage, and are a great spot for your furnace, water heater, and other critical machinery to keep your house running. They can also be a great hang out spot for nights with your friends. However, basements do come with their own problem: leaks, condensation, mold, and funky smells.
Here are a few sources of foul basement odors:
A stinky water trap under a floor drain or laundry machine. If a drain hasn’t been used in awhile, the water can evaporate which would let in odorous gas from your sewer line to leak into the room. A simple solution is to pour fresh water down the drain. Another sneaky tip: after pouring fresh water into the drain add a spoonful of clean cooking oil. This will keep the water from evaporating so quickly. If you do not use a certain drain very often, it is recommended to run the water for five minutes every few weeks. This keeps water in the drains from evaporating. Make sure to do this if you do not use a sink or toilet very often. Flush toilets that you do not use often. Keeping your plumbing system in the best condition will help prevent bigger issues from happening. If you try these tips and they do not work, do not hesitate to call a professional plumber if you cannot figure out the culprit. We can diagnose the problem in no time. Just call 307-316-7634.
A missing clean out plug from the floor drain. The whole purpose of a trap is to prevent a foul smell from coming back into the house. Therefore, if this happens then you have a small problem. P-traps can be found at sinks, showers, and bathtubs. The left side of the P-trap connect to the fixture, and the right side connects to the sewer. The ‘sewer’ side will have sewer gases present, but the water sitting in the bottom of the trap prevents the sewer gases from entering in to the house. A missing clean out plug can also lead to clogs in your drains. If your floor drain doesn’t have a clean out plug, it allows sewer gases to escape into the room. Open up the drain grates and check to see if the clean out plug is there. If it is not, your local hardware store will help you find a replacement.
Evaporated water from a toilet trap. If your basement toilet has not been used recently, the water in the toilet trap may have evaporated. A simple solution to this problem is to flush a toilet that is not used very often every few weeks. This keeps the water effective and prevents the water from evaporating. It can be hard to imagine that toilet water can evaporate, but this is actually fairly common when a toilet is not being used. Many homes have bathrooms in the basement that do not get used often. Simply flushing the toilet every few weeks can help prevent this.
A broken wax toilet ring. The toilet’s wax ring helps create an airtight seal that helps prevent sewer gases from rising up in your living space. Sewer gases typically contain hydrogen sulfide gas, which has an odor similar to that of rotten eggs. Besides smelling terrible, these gases can be harmful to your health. If these odors are invading your home, wax ring damage is likely to blame. Wax rings sometimes break down or harden over time, or they may break for other reasons and must be replaced If the toilet ring between the toilet flange and the toilet base breaks, sewer gases can leak into a room. To fix this, remove the toilet and replace with a new wax ring.
If you’ve investigated these possible causes and still haven’t found the culprit, you might have a cracked or broken sewer line. This is a serious problem and should not be left unattended. Marv’s Plumbing and Heating can help detect and fix a broken sewer line. If you think your sewer line is broken, call us immediately. We will send a sewer specialist to diagnose the problem and help you find an affordable solution. You can call us at 307-316-7634.