Basements are already well-known for being one of the coldest, dampest places in your home. What we don’t always like to talk about is the occasional sewer smell in basement areas caused by pipes and standing water. It isn’t a pleasant experience for any homeowner to deal with, primarily when most of us use our cellars and basements regularly.
So, where are these awful odors coming from, and how do you make them go away? Unfortunately, the sewage smell in the basement is probably caused by, well, sewage, which means taking action somewhere along with the plumbing system.
Rather than running the risks of the health concerns that often accompany these foul smells, like sinus infections, bronchitis, and headaches, put a stop to intrusive smells by learning how to get rid of basement odor on your own. It saves you the unnecessary hassle and money of calling a professional. If you’re ready to flush those nasty sewer gas odors down the drain, then follow these helpful tips.
How to Get Rid of Basement Odor
If your house smells like sewer, it’s important to find the source and take care of it quickly. Gases like hydrogen sulfide and methane cause the rotten egg smell commonly associated with raw sewage.
Not only are these sewer gases difficult on the senses, but they’re also toxic and even explosive when packed in tight spaces in large quantities. Here are some common health issues you may encounter that relate to that yucky sewer odor.
As a result of these issues, the moment you recognize that rotten egg smell in basement areas, plan your next steps for getting it out of your home. Areas closer to the ground are more likely to show signs of sewer leaks, but a dark crawl space may also hide puddles and leaks that need tending.
Identifying Sewage Smell in the Basement
When it comes down to identifying the origin of the sewer gas smell in your home, most of your efforts come from trial and error. You first need to know what causes sewer gas smell to leak into your home and where to look beyond a leak in the septic tank.
The most natural place to start when it comes to any plumbing problems are drains, vents, and the pipes themselves. Keep some of this equipment on hand when searching for sewage leaks and concerns.
Note that you may encounter a few cobwebs on your journey to find the source of the smell. Have a ready method on hand for getting rid of spiders in basement while you try to determine where the odor is coming from.
Depending on the actual cause of the problem, you may not need to use all of these supplies. However, it is essential to wear some protection if exposed to the gas for a long time. Since you may spend a while looking for and resolving the source of the problem, all the while being in the presence of toxic gases, a face mask is critical.
Other common causes arise from washing machines located in the basement. You also want to make sure you cross out any other possible issues as well, such as mold and mildew.
Many of the same physical problems also occur as a result of molds, such as breathing complications and allergic reactions. If you suspect mold might be the cause, treat small areas with bleach. Otherwise, call a professional for infestations.
Check the Water Trap
One significant possibility your basement smells like poop is due to a dried-up water trap. These are located on the basement floor inside drains and keep the room from flooding. These traps regularly hold a small amount of water to seal the pipe line and keep out that foul odor wreaking havoc on your basement.
If the water trap is left unused for long periods, however, it dries out and loses the protection that keeps the odors at bay. Luckily the issue resolves with just a little hot water.
Pour approximately one gallon of water down into the dry trap, mixing in some mild dish detergent for an additional fresh scent. This strategy also works for fixing sewer smell in shower drains.
Eliminating Sewer Smell in Basement Drains
Another common source of sewage smell in your floor drain may come from the cleanout plug. This tool directs sewage water to flow down into the sewage pipe rather than collecting it inside of the drain itself. If something damages the plug, or it cracks with typical wear and tear, then there’s nothing preventing the sewer gas from coming back up into your home.
The simplest solution is to replace the cleanout piece. Remove the grate on the drain to check the condition of it first. If it’s cracked or missing altogether, then purchase a new one from the store. Otherwise, search for other causes of the bad smell.
Fixing Problems Caused by Appliances
If the location of your laundry room is just above your basement or is in the basement itself, then one issue to look out for is improper venting. The vent system for most appliances traps regulates the flow of sewer gases through the vent stack and out into the air outside the home.
If the drain on your washing machine is clogged by hair or not hooked up properly, then it causes these basement drain smells to leak back into the house. The most effective solution is to check the pipes and clear out any clogs with bleach.
This problem occurs in numerous appliances, including air conditioners whose HVAC system may improperly connect to a sewage vent pipe. It may also be the result of fixtures in other parts of the house that are either nearby or have pipes that connect somewhere inside the basement.
A broken p-trap on a toilet or kitchen sink, for example, may push the sewer gases back up into the air instead of trapping them in the pipes as their design intends. Equally, a damaged toilet flange or wax ring causes just as many problems.
If the seal is broken, replacing it is crucial. The same goes for the caulk around the base of the toilet. If it’s dry and cracking, replace it as soon as possible.
Replacing Broken Sewer Line
One leading cause behind basement smells comes from the sewer line itself. There are numerous complications with the line that may cause these noxious odors, including a broken ejector pit or damage to the piping itself. The ejector pit requires a firm seal to keep out the gas, so check it for cracks and potential damage.
Another issue arises from cracks in the pipes. The wastewater leaks down into the ground from the sewer system and into the sump pump. This sump pump is what keeps your basement dry from the beginning.
If this accumulates too much of the sewer water, then that smell leaks into your home. This issue typically requires professional help from a plumber to prevent further damage to your home’s soil and foundation, so keep their phone number handy, just in case.
How to Get Rid of Basement Odor in Water Heater
Horrible basement smells may also come from your water heater. The same sulfur smell triggered by a leaky sewage drain system is also the byproduct of anaerobic bacteria. In most cases, resolving this on your own is no problem and requires a little bit of patience and hydrogen peroxide.
First, start by shutting off the cold water valve and draining out some of the water from the heating unit. Next, disconnect the metal hose and place a funnel to pour in the hydrogen peroxide.
Add in one cup of hydrogen peroxide for every ten gallons in the unit. Reattach the hose and turn back on the cold water valve. Allow the tank to refill and let it sit for several hours before running again.
Prevent Drain Clogs with Vinegar
So you’re probably wondering, “How do I protect my basement from future plumbing concerns?” One way to accomplish this task is by being proactive with your plumbing fixtures by using cleaners to regulate the flow of water.
This recipe removes a clog in the drain line and keeps the septic system running smoothly. Use this basement odor eliminator with the dynamite duo of vinegar and baking soda whenever you notice an unpleasant smell or if water is draining too slowly in sinks, showers, or the toilet.
To use this natural pipe cleaner with common household ingredients, start by pouring the baking soda down the drain. Next, add the vinegar and plug up the drain with the seal or a towel to allow the two ingredients to react with one another inside the drain pipes.
Leave this mixture to sit for approximately 30 minutes before removing the plug and pouring hot water down into the drain. A variation of this DIY recipe is also an excellent way to kill gnats in drain pipes.
Use this mixture for sewage smell in bathroom areas or for floor drains in the basement. If one application doesn’t seem to do the trick you can try it again to completely eliminate the problem.
Using these simple techniques for identifying and eliminating the sewage smell in the basement, you are well on your way to reviving the fresh scent in your home and dismantling nauseating odors that are unpleasant for everyone.
No matter what the source of the problem, these easy-to-follow tips provide all the information you need to regulate basement smells and ensure your home is running smoothly, as well.
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