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house indoor sewer smell

Hi all,

We have a finished basement in our house with a shower/bathroom, a sink, basement floor drain and washer/dryer. In the last five years, we have never had any sewer smell in the basement. We keep the sink/drain traps full with water, washer discharge pipe all taped up so no air escapes, and right everything seems to drain/flush ok.

But in the last few weeks we are getting this smell on and off, and lately it has been pretty bad. I checked the roof to see if the vent is clogged/iced over, but that's not the case. I checked the catch basin that's behind our house today (first time since the Chicago snow melted).

The water level has never been so low before, this is the first time that I am actually seeing the drain pipes.

Looks like there are two pipes, the one on the top (say 12 o'clock) is facing towards me. The other one (say 1 o'clock) is a lateral pipe, it seems. Although it looks like there is sediment in front of the second pipe I think it is kind of misleading, from where I saw the pipe did not look like it was blocked.

Is it normal that the water level is so low that these are visible? We are five people in the house so I'd assume there is going to be enough water flow with the three showers and bathrooms under use.

Also, do you think the smell is coming into our basement because there is no water and the trap(s) may be dry? If that's the case, filling the catch basin up with water may eliminate the issue?

Thanks in advance.

Re: house indoor sewer smell

Do the process of elimination, and start ruling out one item at a time.

Start with the toilet. Is your wax ring in good shape?

Re: house indoor sewer smell

Thanks. I looked around the toilet, no leaks. I knelt down to smell, and did not smell sewage either. Any other suggestions to verify? I don't want to have to pull out the toilet unless I really have to...

Re: house indoor sewer smell

Sniff the drains, cabinets.

Pay attention to the wind outside and if the HVAC is running....

Perhaps something died in the walls a while back. Is there evidence of rodents?

Re: house indoor sewer smell

Thanks for the response, the smell is really random (sometimes happens when there is wind, sometimes when there is not.) And I had checked the furnace coming on, I am almost certain that it is independent of the furnace coming on.

Rodents: I hope not... I think if it was a dead animal it would smell differently, this smells really like sewer... But I will still check when I get back home.

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