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Sewer Gas Smell in Basement

Q: Sewer Drains.  Hello, Wondering if you can provide advise/information on how to eliminate the sewer gas smell from our two floor drains in the basement as we recently purchased our 80 year old home and are unfamiliar with the procedure. Is there something we can pour into the drains on a monthly basis to reduce this odor? The house has been remodelled over the past few years and a bathroom was added long after the house was built. The house was built by a builder many years ago and it was my understanding that he intended to someday put in a toilet in the basement so he planned the plumbing system the way it is. I feel that possibly the water level in the drains must stay at a constant level to avoid odours, but not sure of the requirements of doing such. Any assistance or information will be greatly appreciated. Thank You! -- Lacey14K Reply (Ref:0177)

Answer#1: Sewer Drains. Hi. I don’t know how long ago you left this message about your 80 yr old home and the basement floor drain or if the problem was fixed, but here goes anyhow. In order to keep the sewer gasses (including possibly flammable methane) from getting into your house, all waste pipe openings must be preceded by a trap. (also called a “P” trap). This is to keep a level of water to prevent gasses and sometimes sewer pests from getting into your house. In this instance, the toilet assembly actually contains the trap. If the toilet is not there, neither is the trap, so an airtight seal should be placed over the opening. I’ve not looked for one recently but Home Depot or Lowes type stores should be able to help. If a specific cap is not available, heavy plastic and duct tape should do the trick at least temporarily. Regards, -- GEORGE RAUDENBUSH Comment

Answer#2: Ordinary Chlorine Bleach will quickly neutralize smells coming from sinks undiluted or diluted 1:1. Sometimes sinks smell because the water trap in a "u bend" is not effective -- DE 

Answer#3: Floor Drains. Floor drains should have a U-shaped trap. The trap holds water to block sewer gases from escaping. If drains are not used much at all, the water in traps will evaporate over time. Solution is to pour water or a water solution with disinfectant on a periodic basis. -- Dennis W. Grau. Comment 21/06/10

Others have suggested that perhaps the Clean-Out Plug has not been replaced. It is also been suggested that it is possible to use a mineral oil layer floating on the surface of the water as this will prevent evaporation into the basement. - Ed

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