If you have a sump pump in your basement, you know how invaluable it is for keeping water from accumulating. But when a funky, sewer-like odor emanates from the sump pit, you may wonder what died down there!
"Why does my sump stink" is probably the question on your mind if you're reading this blog. It can mean any number of things, from backed-up sewer lines to a clogged impeller.
A bad-smelling sump pump is never a good sign. Here's a look at some common causes and solutions for eliminating the nasty sump pump smells plaguing your basement.
A few key things can cause a sump pump to emit unpleasant odors in your home:
If you smell a rotten egg odor coming from the sump pit, chances are your main sewer line is backed up. When this happens, sewage can backflow into the sump basin. The bacteria and decomposition from waste cause hydrogen sulfide gas, which smells like rotten eggs or sulfur. This is one of the worst sump pump smells, but identifying it quickly helps you address the root problem - a sewer line blockage.
Stagnant water is a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and other fungi. Sump pumps deal with lots of water, so it's common for the basin to get slimy. The musty smell of mold developing in the pit can permeate your basement. Routine cleaning and maintenance help combat this issue.
Gunk-like silt, bits of debris, and even spider webs can build up on the impeller over time. This restricts water flow, causing more stagnation. Stuck impellers can burn out motors too. The debris collects bacteria, causing putrid scents. Simply cleaning the impeller removes the clog and bad smell.
Sometimes mice, snakes, spiders, or other critters make their way into the sump pit...and can't get back out. As decomposition sets in, the stench of a decaying animal spreads through your home's air ducts. Rodent poison also emits an unpleasant odor when the animal dies. Checking for dead pests and removing them solves this problem.
No, not the fart kind (although we all need a little comic relief regarding stinky sump pumps!) Some homeowners put activated charcoal or eggshells in sumps to help control odors naturally. If those items sit for too long, the organic matter rots and causes nasty smells. It's best to remove any organic odor absorbers and restart fresh.
Now that you know what causes the sump pump smells, here are some step-by-step troubleshooting tips for tackling the problem:
Carefully remove the sump pump cover and shine a flashlight inside to visualize the situation. Look for debris, sludge buildup, signs of pests, and anything else out of place. Troubleshooting starts with inspection.
Flush a toilet, run some sinks, and check if the smell worsens or water bubbles up from the basin. If so, sewage is likely backing up into the sump pit. Call a plumber to diagnose and unclog the main sewer line.
Remove the impeller and thoroughly clean it with a wire brush. Use a bleach solution to scrub and disinfect the sump basin walls. Rinse everything thoroughly. Put the pump back together when dry and test it.
Disconnect the discharge pipe from the pump and snake it with an auger to remove any gunky buildup. Reattach the discharge line once it's clear. Check that the check valve is working properly too.
If cleaning doesn't remove odors, the pump motor itself might be failing. Burning electrical smells indicate it's time for a replacement. Choose a 1/3 hp cast iron sump pump for best durability.
Specialty enzyme products for sump pumps can help digest organic matter and reduce odors naturally. Some even contain beneficial bacteria that further aid decomposition. Follow product instructions carefully.
With some diligent troubleshooting and sump basin maintenance, you can eliminate unpleasant odors and enjoy fresh basement air again. Be persistent and inspect the pump regularly to prevent future stench issues.
A little prevention goes a long way when it comes to avoiding sump pump smells before they start:
Do sump pumps need to be cleaned? Yes! With proper maintenance and care, your sump pump can keep performing the tough job of water removal without raising a stink! A little attention to detail keeps the basement air smelling fresh.
A stinky sump pump can make your home's air unbearable. Still, with some diligent troubleshooting, maintenance, and preventative care, you can eliminate unpleasant basement odors. Identify the root cause, whether it's sewage backflow, clogged impellers, mold growth, or dead pests, and target your efforts accordingly. Implement proactive measures like routine cleaning and using odor absorbers to prevent future sump pit stench. With a bit of elbow grease and vigilance, you can keep your sump system running smoothly without raising a stink.
About Grand Rapids Foundation Repair Pros
As a decades-old business, Grand Rapids Foundation Repair Pros has maintained a five-star reputation for excellence within the local community. Turn to the team for residential and commercial foundation services like house leveling, crack repair, and FREE inspections. Are you all set to schedule an appointment? Great! Please give us a call at (616) 952-2799.