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5 Common Causes of A Basement Sewage Smell

Mar 16 2023
A man covering his nose because of a basement sewage smell

Some plumbing issues are harder to detect than others. However, when it comes to a sewer smell in the basement, trust us—you’ll know right away.

A basement sewage smell can get so pungent to the point that it demands its presence to be known across the entire household (or in every room with a drain, at least).

It’s important to note that there is more than meets the nose. The unsettling sewer smell in your basement is often an indicator of a bigger problem in your home or plumbing system. Eventually, toxic sewer gasses can also take a toll on your health, so it’s never a good idea to let the problem sit without a solution.

Before you pick up the phone to call a professional plumber, let’s discuss the whys of this smelly situation.

What Is Sewer Gas?

Before we get straight to the point, it’s important to define exactly what this invisible and sewer-scented culprit is. After all, in order to defeat an enemy, you need to know them inside and out.

For those who have never had the displeasure of smelling it before, the rancid smell of sewer gas is quite similar to that of rotten eggs. This very distinct odour is a result of hydrogen sulfide, which isn’t just unpleasant but is hazardous to a person’s health as well. Sewer gas is a product of the breakdown of organic materials that are commonly present in sewers.

Along with being harmful to your health, these sewer gasses tend to be flammable too.

A plumber fixing sewage pipes in a basement

Common Causes of a Sewer Smell In the Basement

    1. Seldomly Used Floor Drains

The floor drains in your basement are made with a trap to retain a small amount of water. This design seals the pipe to prevent sewer gasses from entering your home. When these floor drains aren’t used very frequently, the drain dries up, ultimately opening the seal. As a result, the stench spreads.

    2. Sump Pump Pit

When the sump pump in your basement hasn’t been working properly for a long period of time, the water in the pit tends to sit for a long time and becomes stagnant, which leads to unpleasant smells.

    3. Ejector Pit

A sump pump manages groundwater, whereas an ejector pit directs wastewater and grey water from basement toilets and kitchens to the main sewer line.

So, if your basement has an overhead sewer line, the ejector pit needs to be sealed with a cover and vented in order to contain the wastewater. The lack of a lid, a clogged vent, or a weak seal can cause sewer gas to escape into the air.

    4. Vents

Another common cause for that notorious sewage smell in your basement is poor ventilation. If basement fixtures and appliances don’t get ventilated properly, it can trigger sewer gasses to spread indoors.

    5. Drain Pipes

Basement sewage smell can also be a result of damaged drain pipes. If this is the case, the wastewater leak will make its way into the sump pump of your basement.

Drain pipes in a basement

What Are the Dangers of Sewer Gas Smell?

It goes without saying that basement sewage smells are harmful to your health.
As mentioned earlier, the sewage smell in the basement goes beyond the mere tummy-turning smell of rotting eggs. Initial exposure to sewage gas can cause headaches and irritability, among other seemingly mild symptoms. Nevertheless, extended subjection to this stench can trigger more serious manifestations.

Take this as your cue to have your home inspected by a plumber as soon as you detect the sewer gasses. This way, you can protect both your family and your home from suffering the long-term consequences of inhaling toxic sewer gasses.

Escape From This Smelly Situation By Calling 1st Rooter

A sewer smell in your basement isn’t something you should handle on your own; call 1st Rooter for a quick and reliable solution!

1st Rooter is your friendly neighbourhood plumber who can help you solve virtually any sticky (or stinky) plumbing problem in Southern Ontario. Our establishment has been fixing sewer lines, thawing frozen pipes, cleaning drains, and repairing leaks for over 25 years—and counting. You can trust us to banish the smell of sewage and restore the freshness of your basement’s air.

Our team of highly-qualified local plumbers will help you out of this smelly situation in no time! Give us a call to learn more about our reliable plumbing services.

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