Sewer Gas Smell In Basement: Causes & Odor Solutions

This article will be looking at sewer gas smell in basements.

This will be an interesting read for persons dealing with septic odor problems. The natural response will be to find urgent solutions to such gas leaks.

Here, we’ll be discussing the danger, causes, and solutions to sewer gas leaks in the basement.

Sewage Smell In Basement

One of the most uncomfortable smells to deal with is that of sewer gas.

It’s not only awful but dangerous and a risk to inhale. Sewer gas leaks will occur when there’s a fault along plumbing lines among other possible causes.

An even more difficult situation is when the smell comes from the indoors.

The danger of Sewer Gas Leaks

Irrespective of where it’s coming from, sewer gas leaks are dangerous and will cause all sorts of health problems when inhaled for a significant period of time.

Speaking of gas leaks, the smell of sewer gas you inhale from your basement comprises multiple gases.

These gases include carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and methane. In terms of danger, not all of these present the same health risk.

As such, we’ll be looking at each of them in the order mentioned.

  • Carbon Dioxide

This is a greenhouse gas that not only has a negative environmental impact but also poses health risks when inhaled. This is one of the constituent gases emanating from sewer gas smells.

It’s colorless, odorless, and non-flammable. Health risks depend on concentration levels.

At higher levels, you may experience headaches, stale & stuffy air, loss of attention, slight nausea, increased heart rate, and sleepiness.

  • Hydrogen Sulfide

The awful smell signaling sewer gas leaks from your basement is largely attributed to hydrogen sulfide gas.

In cases of moderate exposure, you may experience eye irritation, respiratory irritations resulting in coughs, breathing difficulty as well as fluid accumulation in the lungs.

Other symptoms of moderate exposure include staggering, headache, vomiting, and nausea. Higher levels of exposure are fatal and may result in death.

  • Ammonia

Ammonia gas is among the constituent gases that make up sewer gas smell.

Its odor is masked by hydrogen sulfide which has a rotten-egg smell. Like the other gases, high exposure to ammonia gas will result in a wide range of health problems including organ damage and death.

  • Methane

Methane is a highly flammable gas that can become a fire hazard, especially when combined with ammonia.

All of these gases (carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia & hydrogen sulfide) combined are contained in the offensive odor resulting from sewer gas leaks in the basement.

Why Basement Smells Like Sewage

Here are the causes of septic smell in basements.

If you perceive a sewer gas smell in your basement, the normal thing to do is to seek out where such smell is emanating from. In other words, you need to identify the causes.

Now, it’s important to mention that the sewer gas smell is a clear sign of a malfunctioning sewer system.

It’s not a normal situation and shouldn’t be treated as such. Sewer gas smell could be due to several causes. Here, no single cause can be attributed to the smell being perceived.

Whenever you detect sewer gas smell, it can be due to dry plumbing, leaks, or loose toilets.

Other possible causes include a cracked pipe, clogged drains, or blocked air vents. A majority of smelly basements due to sewer gas are due to these.

Let’s further discuss what each of these is about.

  • Dry Plumbing

Dry plumbing is one of the commonest causes of sewer gas smell in the basement. It’s also the easiest to solve.

Dry plumbing problems apply to any drain connecting your basement to the sewer system. Drains are always designed to trap or hold some water.

This water acts as a valve that prevents sewer gases from escaping into your home.

With frequent use, the water is replenished naturally.

However, there are times when a drain isn’t used for a long period of time. During such times, the water in the trap steadily dries up, thus leaving an opening from where sewer gas escapes into your basement.

  • Leaks

Sewer gas smell in the basement can also be caused by leaks in the plumbing system. There’s a remote possibility that plumbing from a nearby septic system leaks out its content.

Outside of that, an improperly installed plumbing system is likely to result in leaks.

Of course when the sewer plumbing system leaks, it’s easy to detect such in your basement especially when it’s installed too close. This may be the case in structures where basic building codes weren’t adhered to.

  • Loose Toilets

Did you know that loose toilets in your basement could be the source of the foul sewer gas odor you perceive?

Usually, a seal is placed that prevents such gases from exiting through the toilet seats. When dislodged, it’s inevitable to perceive the awful smell.

  • Cracked Pipe

Whenever you perceive a sewer gas smell coming from your basement area, part of the likely causes will be a cracked pipe. These sewer lines convey human waste away from the different drains to the main sewer lines for treatment.

However, when such pipes are cracked, the awful-smelling gases from the decomposition of waste products will escape into your basement.

  • Clogged Drains

Clogged drains result from sewage backup. The longer the clog remains unresolved, the more smelly gases are released as a result of decomposing waste. This is likely to fill your basement will awful stench.

  • Blocked Air Vents

Air vents are designed to release toxic sewer gases out and away from your home.

However, there may be a steady buildup of debris within such vents that may go unnoticed. At some point, the air vents get clogged or blocked, thus preventing the outward flow of sewer gas through the right channel.

Sewer gas will find an available outlet to escape. Your basement could present such opportunities.

How To Get Rid Of Sewer Smell In Basement

When a sewer gas smell is detected in your basement, it’s necessary to take immediate steps to have it fixed. One of the most comprehensive ways of resolving the problem is by having a plumbing expert take a look.

In the case of dried plumbing, there’ll be no need to call a plumbing technician as all you have to do is flush your toilets and drains to have lost water replenished.

Once the water trap is filled up, it prevents the further release of sewer gases.

A sewer gas leak in your basement doesn’t have to worsen before taking appropriate action. So far, our discussion has centered on the risks of sewer gas smell, causes as well as solutions.

Related Resources:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *