First, try not to panic. We actually hear this question a lot.
Second, it may require a little investigation on your part, but the foul odor emanating from the lower level of your home is most likely the result of one of the following.
IT COULD BE A DRIED-OUT FLOOR DRAIN.
Beneath every drain in your house is something called a trap. The trap looks a little like a sideways letter “P” and it’s there to ensure that water can drain properly.
However, these traps also have another purpose: to keep hazardous sewer gas from coming in. They do this by using water to create a seal that prevents the gas from entering your home—which means if the water evaporates and the trap dries out because a drain is not used very often (e.g., a guest bathroom or shower), the gas can seep in and pretty soon you’re holding your nose.
If the smell is not remedied by running water into the drain, it may be time to call a professional.
YOUR DRAIN PLUG IS LOOSE (OR MISSING).
Inside each P-shaped trap is a cleanout plug. If this plug has become loose or if it hasn’t been replaced for some reason, sewer gas can easily escape into your basement. You can check to see if the plug is in place by removing the drain grate. If you need a replacement plug, your local hardware or home improvement store should have one.
IT COULD BE A CASE OF A TOILET SEAL GONE BAD.
Does your toilet seat wobble when you sit on it? This could indicate a bad wax seal between the base of your toilet and the toilet flange (the small piece of hardware that connects the bottom of the toilet to the drain pipe in the floor). This can happen if the seal dries out or if the toilet was reinstalled improperly after a project such as laying new flooring.
Because a leaky seal can allow sewer gas to escape, you may need to replace it by removing the toilet and installing a new seal.
YOU HAVE EJECTOR PUMP ISSUES.
Similar to a sump pump, which collects groundwater to prevent flooding in your home, an ejector pump collects wastewater from your basement area. When it reaches a certain level, the wastewater is pumped out to the septic tank or sewer system.
Because ejector pumps deal with waste and sewage (and not just groundwater) a crack, clog or improper seal in the system can allow sewer gas to leak out and permeate your basement.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T IGNORE BAD SMELLS COMING FROM YOUR BASEMENT
We’ve touched on a few of the most common reasons for an unpleasant odor in your basement, but other issues such as poorly vented fixtures or damaged sewer lines may also be to blame.
The most important thing to remember: DON’T IGNORE THE SMELL.
Leaking sewer gas is never good. Aside from the stench, the gas may contain harmful bacteria that can cause health issues including headaches and nausea. Also, in case you need a reminder, sewer gas consists mainly of methane, which is highly combustible. (Read: you definitely don’t want your basement blowing up.)
WE TAKE YOUR ODOR PROBLEMS SERIOUSLY.
When bad smells and other plumbing problems happen, it’s always best to seek the help of a professional.
At Paradise Valley Septic, we know exactly what to look for when you call us to investigate your basement odor. Our experienced technicians will do a thorough inspection and walk you through the next steps so you can put your mind at ease knowing your problem is expert hands.
Call or send us a message today to experience our Grade “A” service firsthand!