At the end of a long tiring day, you retire to your basement to have a relaxing movie evening with your family, and you are interrupted with a foul smell. You look here and there and find no means to fix the odor. Despite your best efforts your basement keeps smelling like the sewer.
If that is the case with you, don’t you worry. You’re not alone in this. Many house owners suffer from this same issue. You can call a plumber to look into the issue, which is expensive. Or you can have a go at it with a sewer camera by yourself.
But before that, there are a few other technics that might solve your issue.
In this article, we will explain the cause and solutions of this issue and share tips about how you can solve this problem in the future as well.
Cause-1: Dry Drains and Faulty Drain Fixtures
If your basement remains unused for most of the year or a long stretch of time it is natural for the pipelines to dry up. You may or may not know this but there are a lot of underground drains in your basement. They are meant to help clear out the water if the basement is ever flooded.
There is a layer of water seal in those pipes for keeping the sewer gases sealed. This should ideally prevent any foul smell in your basement. However, like any pipeline, when the basement lines are left unused for a long time, they start to dry up.
Dry pipes and drains give way to the sewer gases to leak inside your home and create an unpleasant odor.
This could also be happening from your drain fixtures. Such as taps, basins, toilets, etc. These drain fixtures hold a little amount of water in them to create a seal and keep odor at bay. But when left unused for a long amount of time, the seal dries up.
Solution: Repairing The Water Seal
As you could have already guessed, if the problem is being caused by the water seal, the solution is to repair the seal. Simple as that!
Luckily, this is a very easy fix. Just put a bucket full of water down the drain to reinforce the seal. For drain fixtures, leave your tap running for about 5-10 minutes to replenish the dried seal.
For toilet seats, just flush it once or twice to fix your issue.
Cause-2: Poor Ventilation
Poorly ventilated houses often give way to foul smells and dampness. Damp and moisture will encourage a lot of mold and mildew to grow in your basement as well as in your pipes. This will create a wet rotten smell.
It is entirely possible for your basement to have poor ventilation even if your house is wide and open. This is the case most often with basements that are prepared after the whole house is built.
It is essential for the basement’s ventilation systems to be tied into the house’s ventilation to give you a dry and airy environment. Anything else can result in a foul smell and unwanted moisture in the basement from time to time.
Solution: Use opposite windows to create a cross breeze
The easiest and fastest way to get around the poor ventilation issue is by using the windows. Try to create an airflow in your basement so the air can move throughout the house.
Make sure to use a window latch if safety is an issue. Having windows across each other will help with faster and better air circulation and it will clear out any foul odor effortlessly.
If you don’t have windows in your basement, take the time to install some. It might be labor inductive but it will be a worthwhile investment in the long run.
Cause-3: Clogged pipes
Clogged pipes are often a major culprit for foul-smelling basements. Any blockage will make the sewer fluids gather in one place and emit a foul odor. This can be a frequent issue for you if you don’t clean your pipes all that often.
Solution: Clear out the blockages
Take a hose or a sewer camera to identify the blockages and then work around them to clear out your drain system. Once you have cleared out the blocks, dump a bucket full of water in the drain to reseal the pipes.
You can also use a DIY technique to unclog the drains if it isn’t too major. Pouring down hot water and baking soda in your drain to eliminate mild blockages can work wonders as well. And it will also save you a ton of time.
Cause-4: Leakage in the Sewer System
This is actually a major issue. Even though a leak in your sewer system or a break in the pipes, seems unlikely, it is not entirely impossible. If you have tried the other methods and the smell still persists, this could be the actual underlying issue.
Notice if the smell is more concentrated in one particular area and where that actually is. If it is directly over a pipe, it’s probably leaking.
Solution: Get A Plumber
This is the kind of issue that needs professional help. If there’s a leak in your sewer system it needs to be checked out immediately. Get a plumber to come to your house and fix the leak for you before it causes any further issues for you.
Tips to solve the problem
- Keep an eye out for water pooling in your sink or other drain fixtures. Keep them in use from time to time.
- Make sure to clean your pipes frequently to avoid blockages
- Make the best use of your windows. Keep them open during the windiest parts of the day to get the best results.
- Remember to recaulk your sinks and toilets in time to avoid foul smells in the future
- Seek professional help if a major issue occurs. Don’t try to handle chemical cleanse or pipe leaks by yourself. It will only do more damage.
If you have read this far, thank you so much for reading along. We hope this article will help you in your journey to eliminate the sewer smell from your basement and make your house smell as good as new.
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