Have you ever noticed a mystery smell coming from one of your drains, especially a floor drain in the basement? Or maybe it’s in one of your bathrooms. It may smell like a sewer or some other unpleasant odor.
You may be able to check out some possible causes and save a service call from your plumber. Most times, the solution is simple and something you can explore yourself.
- If it’s a damp, sour smell that is not present all the time, it usually a dry trap. If it’s coming from a double sink, make sure you run water down both drains regularly. The P-trap on fixtures that don’t get used very often can dry out. If it’s from a floor drain or toilet in the basement that isn’t used often, pour a few gallons of water down it or flush the toilet at least a couple of times a month.
- If the smell is coming from a toilet, it could be a broken seal on the toilet wax ring. Check to see if the toilet wobbles; then you’ll need to have the toilet re-seated with a new wax ring. If you’re handy this won’t be a problem, otherwise give Jake a call.
- If the toilet looks to be solidly seated, it could be a venting issue. A blocked or improper vent in the piping causes water in the traps to dry up. You’ll probably need Jake to come out and work on the venting.
A trap is designed to seal sewer gas in the pipes so it doesn’t get into your home. If the water level in the trap gets low, sewer gas comes back out of the pipes and into the room. Here’s a handy diagram about how a P-trap and vent system works: