Foul basement smells? It could be your sump pump

Foul basement smells? It could be your sump pump

Foul basement smells? It could be your sump pump

Unpleasant odors can ruin a home. A strange smell can quickly spread through your house’s ventilation system, making it hard to located the source. However, if the smell is strongest in your basement, the culprit could be your sump pump.

Most homeowners don’t spend a lot of time thinking about their sump pumps, but the units do require proper maintenance to function properly. A bad smell can be an indication that your pump needs some minor attention, or it could indicate a more serious problem in your sewer line.

Excess water
If there is some stagnant water in your sump pump don’t be alarmed. Some excess water should always remain in the pump and as long as the water level is below the cutoff line, you won’t have a problem. However, if you’re going through a dry season and the pump hasn’t kicked on in a while, mold, mildew and bacteria will begin growing in the pump’s pit, creating a foul odor.

Luckily, this is an easy problem to fix. Often, adding a small amount of diluted bleach to the pit will clear up the smell. You may also try removing the stagnant water with a wet/dry vacuum and scrubbing away any grime remaining in the pit. Just make sure you add new water up to the fill line once you’re done. The water actually helps to trap the foul odors, so if the pump is completely dry, you’ll also experience bad smells.

Sewer line breach
Unfortunately, a bad smell coming from the sump pump could indicate more than stagnant water.

Sump pumps are designed to pump excess water out to the home’s lawn or the street where it will enter the storm drainage system. However, on some older homes the sump pump may be discharging directly into the municipal sewer system. This setup is illegal and can flood the sewer system, causing sewage to back up into the pump.

Alternatively, if there is a leak or blockage in the sewer line outside the house, the sump pump could be drawing in sewer water that has seeped in around the home. If the leak is in the public sewer line, the municipality should repair it, though you will likely need to locate it first.

If you’re experiencing a foul odor from the sump pump that you believe is caused by a faulty setup or a leak in the line, call the experts at American Leak Detection. They will do a pipeline video inspection to determine the cause of the odor so you can quickly get it repaired.

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