How To Get Rid of Basement Sump Pump Smell? Latest 2023

Unpleasant odors emanating from basement sump pumps can be indicative of underlying problems within the system, emphasizing the crucial need for prompt plumbing services. 

These odors serve as early warning signs, providing homeowners with the opportunity to address issues before they escalate into a flooded basement scenario.

In this informative article, we aim to equip readers with valuable insights into the common causes of sump pump odors and effective guidance on how to effectively handle them. 

By understanding the communication method employed by sump pump odors and recognizing the vital role of the sump basin hidden within the basement, homeowners can take proactive steps to prevent basement flooding and maintain a healthy living environment. 

With regular attention and timely action, this comprehensive guide ensures that readers can tackle basement sump pump odors with confidence, enhancing the overall well-being of their homes.

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Common Issues That Cause Basement Sump Pump Smells

First, we will explore the various factors behind sump pump odors, ranging from sewage infiltration to stagnant water and other maintenance-related issues. 

By gaining insights into these common causes, you can take the necessary steps to eliminate the unpleasant smells and ensure the proper functioning of your basement sump pump system.

1. Sewage Infiltration: A Stinky Situation

Raw sewage infiltrating the nearby groundwater is a major culprit behind foul smells in the sump pump. As the sump basin collects excess groundwater, the presence of sewage creates noticeable odors in your home. 

Initially, these odors may be infrequent, but if left unattended, they can become more consistent over time. Sewer line issues that lead to sump pump smells require emergency plumbing service. 

Plumbers employ advanced techniques such as camera inspections to locate leaks or ruptures in the sewer lines, making the necessary repairs to prevent further sewage infiltration into the surrounding groundwater and your sump pit.

2. Stagnant Water: A Breeding Ground for Odors

Stagnant water in the sump basin can also result in unpleasant odors. When the sump pump fails to run or the float switch is not properly adjusted, water remains stagnant in the basin, creating an ideal environment for foul smells. 

Another potential cause is a defective check valve in the sump pump system. When this valve malfunctions, water that has been pumped out of the basin is allowed to flow back in when the sump pump stops. 

Consequently, there is always water present in the basin, which stagnates over time and causes the formation of odors.

3. Dry Periods: Escaping Gases

During dry periods, when water in the sump pit evaporates, gases are released, resulting in unpleasant smells throughout your home. It is important to note that the sump pit requires a small amount of water at all times to prevent complete drying. 

If the basin has dried up, it’s crucial to fill it with enough fresh water to cover the drain lines running out of the pit. By maintaining an adequate water level, you can minimize the release of gases and the associated odors.

4. Basement Drainage and Residue Build-Up

Basement drainage systems often utilize the sump basin to collect greywater from sources such as showers or washing machines. The residue from detergents and soaps present in this greywater can accumulate in the sump pit, leading to unpleasant odors. 

Regular cleaning of both the sump pump and the sump pit is essential to eliminate these smells. By performing routine maintenance and ensuring the removal of residue build-up, you can effectively combat the formation of odors in your basement.

Tips on How to Get Rid of Basement Sump Pump Smell

Now, we will provide you with helpful tips on how to get rid of basement sump pump smells effectively. 

By following these tips, you can eliminate odors and ensure the proper functioning of your sump pump system, preventing potential damage to your basement and promoting a fresh atmosphere.

1. Identify the Source

Before tackling the odor problem, it is important to identify the source. The common culprits behind sump pump smells include sewage infiltration, stagnant water, dry sump basins, and residue accumulation from basement drainage systems. 

Understanding the specific cause will help you address the issue more effectively.

2. Professional Inspection

For persistent and strong odors, it is advisable to seek professional assistance. A licensed plumber can conduct a thorough inspection of your sump pump system, including the sump pit, sewer lines, and check valves. 

They will be able to identify any leaks, blockages, or malfunctions that may be contributing to the unpleasant smells.

3. Clean the Sump Pit

Regular cleaning of the sump pit is essential to eliminate odors caused by stagnant water and residue build-up. Start by disconnecting the power supply to the sump pump. Then, remove any debris or sediment that has accumulated in the pit. 

Use a mixture of mild detergent and water to scrub the walls and floor of the sump pit. Rinse thoroughly to ensure all cleaning agents are removed.

4. Maintain Proper Water Level

To prevent the sump pit from drying out, maintain a small amount of water at all times. This will help prevent the release of gases that contribute to foul odors. 

Check the water level regularly and add fresh water as needed. Be cautious not to overfill the pit, as it may result in unnecessary water accumulation and potential overflow.

5. Address Sewage Infiltration

If sewage infiltration is the cause of the odor, it is crucial to address the issue promptly. Contact a professional plumber to inspect your sewer lines and identify any leaks or ruptures. 

Necessary repairs should be made to prevent further sewage infiltration into the sump pit and surrounding groundwater.

6. Check and Adjust the Float Switch

Ensure that the float switch in your sump pump system is functioning properly. The float switch is responsible for activating the pump when the water level in the pit rises. 

If the switch is not adjusted correctly, it may not empty the basin fully, leading to stagnant water and odors. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions or seek professional guidance on how to adjust the float switch properly.

7. Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your sump pump system is crucial to prevent odors and ensure its optimal performance. This includes inspecting and cleaning the pump, checking for any mechanical issues, and testing its operation. 

Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance intervals and procedures or consult a professional plumber for guidance.

8. Consider Odor Absorbers

To tackle persistent odors, you may consider using odor absorbers or deodorizing products specifically designed for sump pump systems. These products help neutralize and eliminate unpleasant smells. 

Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and use them in accordance with recommended guidelines.

How To Get Rid of Basement Sump Pump Smell

Frequently asked Questions

Can I pour vinegar in my sump pump?

Yes, you can pour vinegar in your sump pump to help eliminate odors. Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent that can break down residue and help neutralize smells. However, it is important to dilute the vinegar with water before pouring it into the sump pump to prevent any potential damage.

Can I put baking soda in my sump pump?

Yes, you can use baking soda as another natural deodorizer for your sump pump. Sprinkling baking soda into the sump pit can help absorb odors. However, it is important to note that baking soda alone may not effectively remove all types of odors, especially if there are underlying issues causing the smell.

Is vinegar or bleach better for sump pump?

When it comes to choosing between vinegar and bleach for cleaning your sump pump, vinegar is generally the better option. Vinegar is a milder and safer cleaning agent compared to bleach, which can be more corrosive. It is important to dilute vinegar with water and avoid using bleach in the sump pump system to prevent potential damage.

Will soapy water damage a sump pump?

Using soapy water to clean the sump pump should generally not cause any damage. However, it is important to use mild soap and ensure that the soapy water is thoroughly rinsed out to prevent any residue from accumulating in the sump pit or pump components. Regular water is usually sufficient for cleaning purposes.

What chemicals clean sump pumps?

When cleaning a sump pump, it is best to use mild and non-corrosive cleaning agents. Some common household items that can be used include diluted vinegar, mild soaps, or baking soda. Harsh chemicals should be avoided as they can potentially damage the sump pump and its components.

What oil is best for sump pump?

It is not necessary to use oil for a sump pump as they are typically sealed units and do not require lubrication. The pump motor is typically lubricated and sealed at the factory, and adding oil can interfere with the pump’s proper functioning. It is important to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for your specific sump pump model.

How often should a sump pump be cleaned?

The frequency of cleaning your sump pump depends on various factors such as the amount of debris entering the sump pit and the presence of odors. In general, it is recommended to inspect and clean the sump pump at least once a year.

However, if you notice any unusual odors, excessive debris, or signs of malfunction, it is advisable to clean and maintain the sump pump more frequently. Regular maintenance and cleaning will help ensure its proper functioning and prevent potential issues.

Kristen Park - Specialised Content Writer for Caresh Fresh

My name is Kristen Park and I am a senior writer specialising in how-to guides and home cleaning information at Cares Fresh. As a researcher, I take pride in digging deep to find every small detail on a topic and explaining it in a way that is easy for the reader to understand.