3 Causes Of A Stinky Basement Toilet

Posted on: 23 March 2016

Having a bathroom in the basement can make your rec room more self-contained and spare guests the need to keep walking up and down the stairs. But having a toilet in the basement poses some potential plumbing issues due to the toilet's proximity to the main sewer line. If your basement toilet suddenly becomes stinky even when clean, there could be a plumbing issue at play.

Here are a few of the potential causes of a stinky basement toilet.

Blocked Sewer Pipe

Do you have a stinky smell in other areas of your home or do the sinks elsewhere back up when you run the dishwasher or flush a toilet? You might have a blocked sewer pipe. The smell will be worst in the basement toilet since there isn't a house worth of piping standing between the backing up sewer gases and the basement toilet.

Don't try to unclog a sewer blockage on your own. Sewer gases are potentially dangerous and the blockage could be well under your yard. A professional sewer cleaning service can send a small camera down the line to find any blockages or obstructions that are causing the problem. If the problem is a simple blockage, the plumber will use an auger or snake to clear the line.

Sometimes the problem can be due to tree roots pushing through the walls of the pipe and causing both a blockage and a hazardous sewer leak under your yard. The plumber will need to dig into the yard over the damage and replace the pipe with newer pipe. The short-term hassle will be worth not having sewage pouring into your yard and having a basement toilet that doesn't smell bad constantly.

Click here to read more about cleaning sewer and drain lines. 

Blocked Vent

A clogged sewer line causes gases to back up because your plumbing operates as a vacuum. A blockage at one end disrupts the vacuum and causes the gases and waste to move back in the direction of the open side of the vacuum. Vents, usually located on your roof, are on the opposite side of the vacuum from the sewer line. If your sewer line isn't clogged, you should check your vents for blockages.

Ask a plumber to come in and check the vents if you don't have the safety equipment required for climbing onto your roof. If you do have the equipment, simply check the ends of the vents for any signs of blockages such as sticks or bird's nests. During winter, make sure that snow or ice don't form over the openings of the vents.

Weak Wax Ring

Are your sewer and vents both clear of blockages? The problem could be in the toilet itself. There's a wax ring under the main body of the toilet that forms a water- and air-tight seal between the toilet and the sewer line. The wax ring is meant to keep sewer gases from leaking out around the toilet at the time of flushing.

Wax rings are easy to replace if you have someone to help you move the toilet. Make sure you immediately block the sewer pipe with wadded up rags to block the gases from rising while you work. You can buy a new wax ring at any hardware store and the package instructions are self-explanatory. Make sure you completely scrape off the old seal before applying the new one or you risk destroying the seal before the toilet is even back in place.