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Why Your Basement Smells Like The Sewer, And How Can You Fix That?

Why Your Basement Smells Like The Sewer, And How Can You Fix That?

The basement in a home often becomes the source of a foul, sewer-like smell, stinking up the entire place. Many people initially ignore the putrid basement odor assuming that it’s the typical musty stench that wafts from underground spaces. But not all smells fall under the category of distinctive basement odors; in fact, there is only one type of that ordinary moldy stench that comes from basements. All other smells generally have an underlying source/cause (that’s is different from the general stuffiness in a basement), which should be tackled in order to eliminate the odor.

A sewer-like smell is typically unbearably strong; a person cannot take it for more than a few seconds; otherwise, they will throw up. If your basement reeks of such a terrible stench, you should resolve the underlying cause to keep it from taking over the entire house. And in case you are not sure what causes such a foul odor to turn up in your basement, here is a list of reasons and solutions to help you.

Crooked Flood Drains

The flood drains in a basement are crucial to drain the floodwater, should the basement is ever flooded during the rainy season. When these seemingly inconsequential setups are left unused for a while or are barely used, they can lead to an unbearable smell in the basement.

Flood drains are strategically designed to hold small quantities of water that keep the sewer gases from entering the basement through the drain opening. When they are not used for a long time, the water is dried up, releasing the seal that holds the sewer gases. As a result, all the smelly fumes are left to enter the home as they place, stinking up the basement with a foul, sewer-like odor.


To fix the issue of crooked flood drains, empty a large (approximately a gallon) bucket of water into the drain to reseal the pipe that will stop the smelly vapors from coming into the basement. If you are not sure you can do the job yourself, hire an expert plumber or basement finisher to help you with the process.

Vents Gone Caput

The vents in a basement are supposed to release the putrid gases from the sewer out of the house. Sometimes these vents can stop working properly, which results in basement appliances and fixtures not expelling the repulsive stenches. Consequently, the basement begins to smell terrible.


To fix malfunctioning ventilation, check the vents installed in the laundry room and bathrooms and ensure that they are correctly wired. If not, then contact an expert to help you with the task.

Damaged Sewer Line

A damaged sewer line can also stink up a basement due to proximity. If you can smell a sewer-like odor in your basement and all appliances seem to be working just fine, get the sewer line checked.


If the sewer line is damaged or leaking, get it fixed by a professional as the said task requires plumbing expertise.

If you still can’t find the culprit responsible for stinking up your basement, consult an expert to help you detect the cause and give you a solution as needed.



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