When it comes to fumes in a home, there are few odors more obnoxious than a sewer smell in the basement. Fortunately, the common causes are generally easy to remedy. Here’s a guide to finding the possible sources of the problem and fixes you can do yourself. 

  • The water trap under a wash basin, laundry tub or floor drain can dry out if you don’t use these fixtures regularly. Dry drains sometimes emit sewer gas. Pour a bucket of water down the drain to reseal the water trap. Then pour a tablespoon or two of cooking oil down the drain to keep the water from evaporating quickly.
  • Remove the grate over the floor drain, and make sure the cleanout plug is in place. If it’s missing, sewer gas can come up. Replace the plug if it’s gone. Sewer plugs are available at most home-improvement and hardware stores.
  • If you have a toilet that doesn’t get used frequently, the water trap may have dried out. A simple flush will do the trick.
  • A toilet that is not level can rock. When this happens, the wax seal at the base of the toilet can become broken. Sewer gas can then make its way out from under the toilet. You’ll have to restore the wax ring. If the toilet rocks, you’ll probably have to add shims underneath it to keep it in place.
  • If you’ve checked the water trap, the cleanout plug, and the toilet, and they’re all OK, you might have a cracked sewer line or a loose connection. This is a job for plumbing professionals.

A basement sewer smell is something you want to get rid of as quickly as possible. Contact the professionals at Comfort Systems in Wichita for fast service and efficient treatment of your problem. We’re licensed, bonded and insured, and we offer 24-hour emergency service. Whatever your plumbing needs–big or small–give us a call. We’re happy to help.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about basement sewer smalls and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.