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Sewer Odor In Your Home? (6 Places To Check)

What could be that horrible sewer smell?

Can you smell a sewer odor in your home? Do you feel uncomfortable in your own house? Are there solutions for these disgusting smells? The answer is yes and this where you can find the solutions.

The sources of the problem can range from a dried-out p-trap to a backed-up sewer pipe. We can help you with the simple problems with a few do-it-yourself tips, anything that requires a professional touch, that’s where you call us.

Besides the toilet, sewer gas can come from several other sources.

Besides the toilet, sewer gas can come from several other sources.

Where could the smell be coming from?

There are a few locations you can check with a few simple steps. Most people think the problem always comes from the toilet, but you would be surprised about how many places can cause the odor.

A sewer smell is a sign that gasses are leaking into your home, and homes are not built to allow leaks in for fun. So the problem can be a broken seal or improperly installed fixture. Check these solutions below.

First, let’s start with the bathroom:

Toilet

If you’ve gone through bottles of cleaning solution, a few hundred pumps with a plunger, and bottles and bottles of air freshener, yet that smell is not going away? The problem is probably larger than flushing the toilet.

  1. Toilet wax ring: The toilet wax ring is what seals the connection of the toilet to the floor. If that seal is loose or broken, gas can be leaking out.

If your toilet wax ring is not sealed properly, sewer gas can escape into your bathroom.

If your toilet wax ring is not sealed properly, sewer gas can escape into your bathroom.

Solution: You can replace the wax ring yourself, or you can call us and we can take care of that for you.

  1. Cracks or lose seal: If you notice your toilet bowl does not fill up normally. Sometimes water can build up moisture from leaking out, and that’s what may be causing the smell.

Cracks and leaks can be the source of sewer gas entering your home.

Solution: Remove any old caulking and dirt from the toilet floor. Then apply fresh caulk to the toilet’s seals, as well as the bolt holes securing the toilet to the ground. If the toilet itself is broken or improperly installed, best call us and we can handle it. 

Shower

If you use products while you shower, which is most likely the case, chances are they are building up in the drain and creating a biofilm. 
  1. Biofilm: Biofilmsare a collective of one or more types of microorganisms that can grow on many different surfaces. Product mixed with hair and dirt can form some nasty stuff. 

Sink drain stopper clogged with a disgusting mass of hair and grime.

Product mixed with hair and dirt can form some nasty stuff, producing a sewer smell.

Solution: Remove the shower drain with a screwdriver. Then boil 5-10 quarts of water and let it cool to 150 degrees Fahrenheit before pouring down the drain. Then follow the water with 1 cup of white distilled vinegar and another 1/2 cup of baking soda. After 2 hours, pour a gallon of hot water down the drain. Finally, run a drain brush or manual snake to clear any remaining debris.

Note: We also recommend an enzyme-based cleaner because liquid drain cleaners can hurt your drains. They can break down your pipes if they are old cast iron, leading to more issues.

  1. Dry p-trap: If you have a guest bathroom that is rarely used, or you have come back from a long trip, the p-trap under your shower, toilet, or sink may be evaporated. It is supposed to hold water to prevent gas from escaping. 

Closeup of a sink S Trap

S-traps keep sewer gas from escaping by holding in water.

Solution: Turn on the shower, faucet, or flush the toilet to let the p-trap refill with water. This happens a lot with basement drains, so make sure to check the fixtures down there. 

Sinks

The sinks in your bathroom are prone to the accumulation of bacteria, soap scum, and hair clogs. Those will produce a foul stink. 
  1. Sink overflow: A sink overflow is a hole located either underneath or across from the faucet. It can be a major source of the odor.

Stainless steel sink plug hole close up full of water and particles of food. Overflowing kitchen sink, clogged drain. Problems with the water supply

Sink overflows can build up bacteria, soap scum, and hair, creating a gross odor.

Solution: Use a small bottle brush to clean out the hole and wipe away any build-up. Or mix a solution of half chlorine bleach and half water and pour it down the drain. That should clean out any grime or grease. This works in the kitchen as well.

  1. Garbage disposal splash guard: The underside of your disposal’s splash guard, the black rubber piece you can see when looking into the drain, is prone to build up food waste.

Under the sink garbage disposal unit.

The underside of your disposal’s splash guard, the black rubber piece you can see when looking into the drain, is prone to build up food waste.

Solution: With a clean brush, turn the splash guard inside out and wipe away any food residue. Do not reach your hands down the disposal. Once everything is clean, run the disposal and pour hot water down the drain.

Note: If you want to get rid of garbage disposal smells, you can use these homemade solutions.
    • Citrus – fresh lemon, lime, or orange peels and toss them down the disposal when it’s powered on. 
    • Baking soda and vinegar – Start by pouring ¼ cup of baking soda down the drain, and then leave it for about 10 minutes. Then, follow it with one cup of vinegar. Let the combination fizzle and work for a few minutes, then finish by turning on the water and running the disposal to clear out any leftover food waste.

Baking soda and white distilled vinegar can help clean and eliminate sewer odor.

Baking soda and white distilled vinegar can help clean and eliminate sewer odor.

Damaged pipes

The problem for the foul odor can originate from a cracked or broken drain pipe. In this case, the solution is out of your hands. But don’t worry, we at New Flow Plumbing can solve the problem with Trenchless sewer repair.

Solution: Trenchless sewer repair is a cost-effective, time-saving, and lasting solution to replace broken underground sewer pipes. Check out our link to dive deeper into this fast and simple method of repair.

Clogged vent pipe

The vent pipe is located on your roof and it helps regulate air pressure in your home’s drainage system. Sometimes after a heavy storm or fall season, leaves and other debris can clog it up. When that happens, gas can no longer escape efficiently and begins to build up in your house.

The vent pipe can become clogged with debris and allow sewer gas to build up.

The vent pipe can become clogged with debris and allow sewer gas to build up.

Solution: If you feel comfortable enough to climb up to the roof, check and clear out any debris building up.  Make sure the vent is covered when you’re done. If you do not see any clogs near the surface, you may need to call the professionals, and that’s us.

Washing machine

The washing machine can easily become the source of strange odors since it is connected to your home’s sewage system. The washer itself may be emitting the smell or it can come from your pipes. Below are a few solutions you can take yourself.

The washer machine can easily become the source of strange odors and sewer gas.

The washer machine can easily become the source of strange odors and sewer gas.

Solution: Run a small load of hot water with no clothes, half a cup of baking soda, and half a cup of distilled white vinegar. If this does not work, use a cup of bleach instead. After that, run a final load of just hot water and leave the door open when it’s done.

Or you can pour a gallon of water down your washers floor drain, which is typically a circular grate near the machine. . Then slowly pour four ounces of mineral oil into the drain to slow the evaporation of water.

Whatever solution is needed, we at New Flow Plumbing can find your problem and fix it in no time
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