LESLIE: Mike in New York, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
MIKE: Yes, I have a recurring problem with sewer flies in the basement bathroom that we have, which is the last bathroom on the line in the house.
TOM: OK. The flies are coming up the drain?
MIKE: I’m not sure where they’re coming from. They may be coming out of the toilet but they’re in the bathroom. They look like little black flecks. And we’ve had the plumber come in and, actually, they used the camera and we had recurring obstructions and they put a liner in. And a couple of weeks after they left, we still had a problem.
TOM: Hey, Mike, in this bathroom, how many drains do you have? You have a floor drain? You have a sink drain? You have a shower drain? What do you have?
MIKE: There’s a shower drain and there’s a sink drain and the toilet drain.
TOM: OK, do you use the bathroom all the time?
MIKE: Not too often.
TOM: Alright, let me give you a little trick of the trade. I’d like you to take some tape – some duct tape or something like that is fine – and when it’s nice and dry, put some tape across all of the drains and wait a few days and then peel the tape up and see if there are flies stuck to the backside of it.
TOM: Once you find the location, you’re going to know which pipe the flies are coming up. The next question is, is there a trap in the line. You know, if it’s the floor drain or a sink drain, then there needs to be a trap. If it’s the toilet, there wouldn’t be a trap there because the toilet itself is the trap. But you should have a trap in the other drains and if the trap is not working properly – if it’s broken or it’s disconnected or something – that could be the reason there’s no – that the flies can come back up and if that’s the case you’ve got to get the trap fixed because there’s nothing you’re going to do to stop them. If you do have a trap and you still have the problem, then there may be a gel cleaner that you can use that will break down the bacteria that the flies like to feed on.
LESLIE: And these are sort of like a bacterial digester. There are a lot of different companies that make one – I know Roto-Rooter has one; there’s another one called Invade Bio Gel – and they’re just sort of something you put down the drains, the sinks, the showers that eat all of that bacterial – I mean that organic debris that these flies like to feed on. So if you can get rid of that, you’re getting rid of the food source.
TOM: So that’s the way to do it, Mike; step by step. OK?
MIKE: OK, great. Thank you very much for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.