Archive for the ‘toilet’ category

Smell Coming From Sump Pump

April 18th, 2013


We have urine smell (or worse) coming up from sump pump cover. I was told that we didn’t have to get the septic tank cleaned out until next year. I think air is coming up through the sump pump. Is this natural?



Failure to pump the septic system should not cause a smell. There should be no smell with a typical sump pump system. The sump pump pit collects clear rain water from the drain tile system, and ejects to the outside or an underground septic system. You could flush out the sump crock with lots of clear water if you have a smell problem. At times, there could be a smell from rodents or other debris.


P021 - Sewage Ejector Pump


Since you mentioned a septic system, I suspect the pump and crock you are referring to is a gray water or septic pump. It will look just like a sump pump and crock, but it collects water from the floor drain or basement laundry tub and pumps the water up into the septic tank line. The sewer ejector pump could be an open crock for an older system.

The ejector in all newer systems is sealed with a cover and will have a vent pipe connected. This system with an open crock can develop a smell and again you can flush it out with lots of clear water. If you have an open crock, consider changing to a sealed, vented crock. Finally, air should not enter either type of crock through the sump pump, so I don’t know what is happening there.


Toilet Paper Returns After Flush

October 23rd, 2009


We are having problems with a toilet installed in 1949. At times it flushes perfectly, but often after the waste has been flushed, the paper returns. Twice a plumber has removed the stool and snaked it but found nothing clogging it. Is there a possible solution short of replacement?


I assume the plumber checked the toilet and the lines from the toilet to the main sewer or septic system and that those drain lines are clear. I suspect you have an inadequate or slow flow of water from the tank into the bowl. There are several things to check.

Check the water level in the tank. Is it at the recommended level mark – normally just below the top of the overflow tube?

Typical ToiletWhen flushed, is the flush valve (flopper or ball valve) remaining open until the water level is below the valve and just above outlet? Hold this valve open manually and check the flush. The flopper or ball can be waterlogged or damaged and closing before all the water is out of the tank.

Finally, check the holes in the rim or the jet tube in the trap below the water line. Are they plugged or partially plugged with hard water deposits? You can clear these with and acid cleaner from a plumbing supply dealer. You can also clear them with a stiff brush or small piece of wood dowel.

To use an acid cleaner for the holes below the rim, place plumber’s putty below the rim to block the holes. Then following the directions on the cleaner label, pour the cleaner down the overflow tube. This will allow the cleaner to soak the small rim holes and dissolve the deposits. You may have to manually break the deposits loose with a brush or dowel.

For the jet tube below the water line in the toilet trap, use the acid cleaner. For the acid treatments, follow the timing and precautions recommended on the cleaner label. I do not recommend using any type of general acid – only use a product recommended for toilet cleaning.

I would avoid a replacement toilet because the new toilets are all designed with a 1.6 gallon flush. At times these cause problems with older plumbing systems. If you replace the toilet, look for the newer Kohler design with a larger trap and bigger “water spot”. I understand they work well and cost around $100.