Is the Smell in my Basement Coming From My Sump Pump?

Is the smell in my basement coming from my sump pump?

Your sump pump is meant to keep your basement dry, clean and odour free. There are issues however that can cause your sump pump to give off a foul or nasty smell which can have a negative impact on your quality of life. 

It might be hard to tell initially what the cause of the nasty smell is coming out of your sump pump but we will tell you the main causes of nasty odour coming from a sump pump and what you can do about it. 

It could be you notice the smell is more powerful when a toilet is flushed or any appliances that are hooked into the plumbing system are in use.  

Reasons for a smelly sump pump

As you might expect, a smell coming from your sump pump is likely to be unpleasant and you will want to find and fix the cause of the smell as quickly as possible. 

Blockages and clogs

The first and most common reason for a nasty smell in your sump pump is that your pump has become clogged or blocked up and isnt draining. The purpose of the sump pump is to pump out any liquid from your basement, so any blockage can cause unwanted liquids to be retained, and result in a foul smell. 

You might notice it smells like burning or hot metal. If so this could be caused by your sump pump burning itself out due to overuse or a blockage. If this is the case then it’s important to call a professional out urgently in order to avoid further damage or flooding. 

If the smell is of a natural foul nature then there could be something that the sump pump has been unable to pump away that is rotting and letting off a natural decaying smell. This can be anything from leaves and dirt to dishwasher deposits or general waste from a basement finding its way into the pump system and causing a clog. 

Whatever the cause, a trained specialist will need to be called to clear the blockage and bring your sump pump system back into working order. 

Sewage infiltration

Your basement is below ground, often constructed below the gravity fall of the sewer system which will require a sewage pump to remove the fluids back into the sewer system via a discharge pipe.  

The nastiest cause for a smell coming from your sump pump is sewage making its way into your intake system. 

If the sewage pipes in the same space near the sump pump break then the sewage will leak out, finding its way into the drainage channels that would usually collect the floodwater from your basement’s floors and walls. 

If your property uses a sewage pump this will increase the chances of this happening because if the sewage pump breaks then the sump pump could catch any excess wastewater or fluids that should be pumped by the sewage pump. 

The smell will be even worse in hot weather or combined with stagnant water. 

The smell could also be caused by a simple flaw in your system that causes the sump tank chamber lid to act as a vent allowing the foul smell to be released into your dwelling rather than venting outside as it should. 

In any of these situations we recommend a below ground pump expert to check both your sump pump and sewage pump for issues. In some cases a basement waterproofing expert may be needed to find where the sewage is escaping and advise on the best course of action to rectify the problem. 

Stagnant Water 

This is another common reason for a foul smell coming from the sump pump, and is more common in summer months. 

The float switch location means that at a certain level it will trigger the flushing mechanism so if there isnt much water in the system, it will not trigger the mechanism and therefore could lay stagnant for a long period of time. 

If left for long enough, this stagnant water can enable the growth of mould or fungi in the water which will emit a horrible smell and if there is a lack of moisture in the basement, it will not be flushed away but instead will flourish. 

This is the easiest problem to rectify as all you will need to do is add enough water to trigger the float switch and flush away any stagnant water and resulting mould or fungi. 

If you have a nasty smell in your basement, our team of professionals are ready to help you find the cause and recommend a solution to help keep your basement odour free!

Concerned your basement pump isn’t working correctly?

Sump pump maintenance is critical to ensure your basement pump is working at 100% efficiency. Here at Flo-Well we have a wealth of experience in deailing with many types of basement pump issues. We offer expert and affordable sump pump maintenance and installation services across London and the South East, so if you suspect your basement pump isn’t working at 100% efficiency, please contact our team for advice and to arranage a complimentary site visit.