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7 Hidden Plumbing Hazards in Your Basement

Cassie Pound, owner of Quality Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric
Published by
Cassie Pound
August 18, 2021

Is your homes basement prone to dampness, flooding, or mold? It stands to reason your basement could a serious plumbing hazard. This basement dampness not only exacerbates plumbing issues, but can make it difficult to recognize a plumbing problem as it starts. If you don’t spend much time there, plumbing hazards may go unnoticed and put the health of occupants throughout your home at risk. If you often work in the basement or use it as living space, these are some of the hazards that you need to be aware of as well.


7 Serious Potential Plumbing Hazards in Your Basement


1. Sewer Backups

Sewage contains all the waste that’s supposed to be carried away from your home. But sewers and drains can back up for many reasons, including heavy rain, tree root intrusion, blockages, broken pipes, leaks, and structural defects. A sewer backup can not only cause flooding and water damage. It can also introduce viruses, bacteria, and fungi as well as pesticides, traces of pharmaceutical drugs, and other contaminants. Even worse is when you don’t see the backup and there are dangerous pathogens or chemicals lurking in your home.

2. Sewer Gases

Your basement floor drain may be the entry point for some dangerous substances. But direct contact with raw sewage isn’t necessary for hazardous conditions to occur. An equipment problem can cause methane as well as hydrogen sulfide or ammonia to enter your home. Basement floor drains should be flushed with water regularly. Otherwise, you could face immediate risks to your health and safety, as some sewer gases are highly toxic and, in some cases, combustible.

3. Plumbing Trap Problems


Drain traps are important plumbing components that prevent objects, hair, sediment, and other things from flowing into pipes. They also stop sewer gases from backing up. Sinks and showers have common U-shaped traps. But if any sink or shower, washing machine, or toilet installed in your basement doesn’t have a trap connection, one should be installed. Traps work by holding a small amount of water, which can evaporate if the fixture isn’t used much, so remember to run some water down the drain occasionally. You can also create a seal by pouring down some mineral oil.

4. Mold

Mold thrives in the damp environment that is typical of most basements. All mold is hazardous to your health. It can cause respiratory problems and, at the very least, runny nose and sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes. You may experience dry, itchy skin too. Inhaling mold or its by-products can worsen allergy symptoms. A dehumidifier can help reduce the risk of this potential plumbing hazard in your basement, as can using hard flooring instead of carpeting and sealing foundation cracks.

5. Poor Ventilation

Poor ventilation isn’t usually considered a plumbing hazard, but it can worsen some issues, especially when it comes to gases and mold. Stuffy air can trigger asthma attacks and make people feel uncomfortable. The vent connections serving your basement plumbing also help allow water to drain smoothly. Fixtures vents should be installed and located per local and state plumbing codes. These elements trap sewer gases in pipes and keep water ventilated.

6. Outdated Drainage

If your home was built more than 50 years ago, chances are it has an outdated drainage system. Modern standards require drainpipes to slope downward a quarter of an inch per every foot of pipe length. Installing a basement drainpipe often requires removing the floor and digging a trench, so restoration can be costly and time-consuming. Installing a sump pump can compensate for some drainage concerns, especially if flooding is common.

7. Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide can leak into your home from improperly installed hot water heaters or due to poor ventilation. Properly maintaining your plumbing system can therefore help prevent carbon monoxide exposure. It’s also important to properly care for fuel-fired furnaces, as these HVAC components can release CO as a by-product of combustion, and install carbon monoxide detectors. The gas cannot be seen or smelled, and CO in high concentrations can lead to death.

Contact Quality Heating, Cooling & Plumbing to Address Basement Plumbing Hazards

Located in Glenpool, OK, we provide 24-hour emergency service to quickly resolve any plumbing hazards you find in your basement. Many plumbing problems start as small, hard-to-detect issues. From drain cleaning to water, sewer, and gas pipe repair and replacement, we can handle anything and ensure fast response times and 100% customer satisfaction. Call 918-393-3184 today to request service.

Cassie Pound, owner of Quality Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric
Published by
Cassie Pound

Cassie Pound is the Vice President of Quality Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric with locations in Tulsa, Glenpool, and Bartlesville, Oklahoma.