How to Eliminate Basement Odor and Sewer Smells

Elimate Sewer Smells

As you walk into your basement you notice a scent that smells like sewer gases. We can all agree that sewer gas is one of the most unpleasant smells known to man. It is important to understand why your home, or basement, in particular, smells like sewer and cleaning your drains. Failing to remedy the cause of sewer smell could lead to damages to your home and health.

Eliminating Basement Sewer Smells - Tips and Tricks

First, it’s important to have an idea of where the odor is coming from. Here are a few other common sources of smelly drain odor:

  • Sewage: As sewage decomposes in the city sewers it releases noxious fumes and gases. These gases are unpleasant and smell like old sewage. Sewer gases can permeate through your drains when there are empty drain p traps. Usually, sewer smells occur in the winter with irregularly used of the drains.

  • Mold and Mildew: Mold and mildew smells are directly attributed to the existence of mold or mildew near your drains. Usually, the mold and mildew smells occur in drains when there is a leak in the drain or pipes that connect to it.

  • Plumber Error: Plumbers, like everyone else, aren’t perfect. Sometimes they make mistakes. Simple errors — like forgetting to install drain traps or sewage vents — can cause severe drain odors.

Luckily, taking care of drain clogs is relatively easy. You can clean out your drains yourself, or hire our team of professional plumbers to do it for you.

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Finding the source of the basement smell

If you notice a foul sewer smell in your house or basement, here are the five possible causes in order of probability:

  • Floor Drains

    You have a water trap under a floor drain, laundry tub or wash basin that has dried out from lack of use. Water in any trap under unused drains will eventually evaporate. That would allow sewer gas to come up through the drain into the room. Solve that problem just by dumping a pitcherful of water into the drain to restore the trap water. If you follow that up by pouring a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil into the drain, a floating seal of oil will keep the water from evaporating so fast next time.

  • Cleanout Plug

    Check for a cleanout plug inside the floor drain to get rid of a sewer smell in bathroom or laundry room. Remove the grate that covers the opening and make sure there’s a plug inside the drain bowl. If the plug is missing, there’s a direct path for sewer gas to bypass the water trap. Sometimes, the plugs are removed to clean sewer lines and not replaced. Buy a replacement plug at a hardware store.

  • Toilet

    It’s less likely, but the water in the toilet trap also could have evaporated. Weeks of disuse could cause this. Of course, simple flushing will restore that water.

  • Toilet Wax Seal

    Another culprit for a sewer smell in bathroom could be a bad wax ring seal between the toilet flange and the base of the toilet. This wax ring can occasionally leak, sometimes because of a rocking toilet that has broken the seal. With a leak in this seal, sewer gas will find its way out from under the toilet. If that’s the case, you’ll have to remove the toilet and replace the wax ring. If the toilet rocks, use plastic shims between the stool and the floor and caulk the joint. This will ensure that a rocking toilet doesn’t ruin the new wax ring.

  • Cracks in drains

    A more serious prospect for the sewer smell in your house would be a broken or cracked sewer line or even a loose connection joint in the ceiling or buried in a wall. If you’ve addressed the four easier possibilities, use your nose to start investigating, starting with all visible joints. If you can’t detect the leak, contact a plumber who specializes in hunting down leaks.

How to Clean a Smelly Drain

There are various ways to eliminate foul odors from a sink drain. Many people find that combined methods work best. Start with the simplest options and work your way toward the more complicated ones.

  • Pour boiling water or vinegar down the drain: Bring a pot of water or white vinegar almost to a boil, and pour half of it slowly down the drain. Wait for a few minutes, rinse the pipe with cold water to solidify any lingering gunk, and pour the rest of the hot water or vinegar down the drain to wash it away.

  • Pour baking soda and vinegar down the drain: Run hot tap water for several seconds, and then turn the water off. Dump one cup of baking soda down the drain followed by two cups of hot vinegar. Let the concoction fizz. After one hour, flush the drain with hot tap water.

  • Clean the P-trap: Put on rubber gloves and remove the curved portion of the plumbing beneath the sink with a wrench. Empty any water and gunk from the trap into a bucket. Take the P-trap outside and rinse it out with a garden hose. Reassemble the plumbing before using the sink again.

  • Clean the drain vent: In most houses, all drain vents terminate in a single opening on the roof. Climb up a ladder and clear away any leaves or other debris clogging the drain vent.

It's frustrating to have a stubborn basement drain odour that doesn't seem to go away no matter what you try. If this is the case, it's time to call an expert. Our professional drain cleaning service can save you from enduring the repulsive smell of sewage any longer.

Get A Quote 514-316-1043

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