Quick Tip: Check Your Traps

To avoid the nasty sewer gas smell in your home you should check the trap in your floor drains in your house to make sure they have water in them. The water forms a seal that keeps the sewer gas on the pipe side and out of your home. You should have floor drains in the laundry room, near the hot water tank, and furnace. Also there is one in the basement. Do not forget to check the tub or shower drain if it has been months since it was used.


To the left is a simple drawing  of a trap. The trap itself is buried below the floor, but you can see how it uses water to form a seal and keeps the sewer gas smell out of your living space. To inspect it and add water simply remove the cover or grate and shine a flashlight into the pipe and look for the water level. It won’t hurt anything if you pour a cup or 2 of water into the pipe. If the water level remains the same it’s full and your job is done.

There is an old trick which has you pouring a cup of vegetable oil into the drain. The thought behind it is that the oil will float on top of the water and the water will not evaporate, keeping the break/seal in place. My question is, have you ever smelled rancid vegetable oil? Not a pleasant smell. I recommend sticking with the water and checking it spring and fall

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