What is That Smell?
It’s an all too common question that pops up as you walk in and your bathroom smells like sewer. We are here to help you identify and eliminate that odor – after you have deduced it was not coming from any of the usual suspects.
Table of Contents
- Why Does My Bathroom Smell Like Sewer?
- Common Causes of Sewer Smell in House
- How to Eliminate Sewer Odor
- Sewer Gas Smell in House? Know When to Call a Plumber
- Professional Sewer Solutions for Sewer Odor in House
- Pay Attention to an Untreated Sewer Smell
- FAQ’s About Sewer Odors in the Home
- More Helpful Resources
Why Does My Bathroom Smell Like Sewer?
Once you have identified a sewer gas smell, it is important to identify the cause quickly. Can sewer gas make you sick? Gas fumes, like hydrogen sulfide – the gas that leaves a rotten egg smell in its wake and is highly flammable and toxic  – can be hazardous to your health. Depending on your level of sensitivity to these environmental odors, you could experience symptoms such as:
- shortness of breath
- heart palpitations
Another important factor is minimizing damage. If there is sewage backing up into your house, you can count on a certain level of damage to your basement or other areas of your home along with any belongings in those areas that may be damaged or ruined. And that can be quite an expensive problem.
Common Causes of Sewer Smell in House
Top Odor-Causing Issues
So what could be the cause of this unbearable stench? You could have one of several issues on your hands. A sewer gas smell in the bathroom can be caused by:
- evaporation of water in the P-trap piping
- broken seal around the toilet in the wax ring or the caulk
- A burst pipe
- tree’s roots have grown into or have caused damage to your sewer pipes
- the sewer or main drain has bellied, collapsed, deformed, or deteriorated
Any one of these could allow the sewer smell to invade your home.
How to Eliminate Sewer Odor – Popular DIY Sewer Smell Solutions
When you’re looking for how to get rid of sewer smell, there are a few options to consider. For minor plumbing problems, you might try your hand at these Do It Yourself methods below.
P-trap Sewer Smell Solution
It’s possible that a sewage gas smell is coming from a rarely used guest bathroom, which accounts for the water evaporation. This typically has the easiest of all fixes.
Try This: Run water through your sink or drain to allow the P-trap to properly fill up with water again and effectively block those smells from perpetrating your home.
Broken Seal Sewer Smell Solution
When there is a broken seal – or the lack of a seal – in the caulk or wax ring around your toilet, it means water, urine and other waste find their way through the crevices, allowing bacteria to grow. This bacterium then causes the foul odor you detected. Luckily, the solution for this is fairly straightforward.
Try This: Apply a bead or a line of caulk around the exposed area, and your bathroom will be back to smelling like the spring meadow fragrance of your favorite bathroom cleaner in no time!
If you do find yourself troubleshooting only to discover that the minor issues and DIY solutions aren’t doing the trick, it’s probably time to call in a professional to handle your sewer odor issues.
Sewer Gas Smell in House? Know When to Call a Plumber
When a Licensed Plumber May Be the Best Move
Whether you’re dealing with an ongoing sewer smell in a basement or a sewer gas smell in a bathroom that just has not gone away, it may be time to consider a sewer inspection by professionals who can recommend sewer repairs or a sewer line replacement. Both may require licensed plumbers and specialized equipment.
A certified plumber will be able to address these very common lingering issues:
- sewer gas smell in bathroom
- toilet smells like sewer
- sewer smell in basement
- shower drain smells like sewer
Professional Sewer Solutions for Sewer Odor in House
Below are the most popular steps taken by sewer repair contractors to determine the state of your sewer line and to diagnosing what your next best steps.
- Sewer Camera Inspection– First, drain plumbers will perform a sewer inspection using a fibre optic camera to examine the area for any damage or issues.
- Sewer Drain Cleaning – Sometimes the best option for clearing sewer pipes may include hydro jetting. With a sewer backup and other blockages removed, a plumber can determine if additional repairs or replacement are needed to solve the issue.
- Sewer Repair – Think of a sewer repair as a spot repair. It will patch the problem, but it will not guarantee that the tree in your yard won’t keep growing and cause further damage to another section of your sewer pipes down the road.
- Sewer Replacement – This is your long-term solution and can be performed in a number of ways. The traditional route involves digging and excavation of your yard to lay down new piping. It can certainly get the job done, but for alleviating the burden of torn up landscaping and sidewalks, many are turning to trenchless sewer solutions.
Trenchless Sewer Repair & Replacement
An experienced plumbing company will typically have two cost-effective “no dig” methods of trenchless sewer options available: sewer pipe bursting and sewer pipe lining. Learn more below.
Sewer Pipe Bursting
With the Pipe Bursting method, access points are created to thread a cable through the existing sewer line, pulling a new pipe into place, bursting and replacing the old damaged line.
Sewer Pipe Lining
With the Pipe Lining method, the conventional method involves a tube covered with epoxy is inserted into existing pipes, inflated with hot air and sealed in place to the old cracked pipes, created a new seal that can last for decades. The new method, known as the Bluelight LED System, cures a resin to the older pipes with LED light, boosting productivity and increasing curing speed up to five times.
Pay Attention to an Untreated Sewer Smell
The main goal of any sewer odor solution is to eliminate the smell and toxic gases that may be causing the issues. But when you’ve been unable to identify or fix the problem, that’s really the time to schedule a sewer inspection, repair or replacement with a licensed plumber to get the job done correctly before it grows into something more.
FAQ’s About Sewer Odors in the Home
High levels of exposure to sewer gas can lead to Hydrogen sulfide poisoning. Low exposure levels can cause irritation to the mouth, nose, throat, lungs and eyes along with other symptoms listed in this article. Drain plumbers recommend a sewer camera inspection as a first step to identify the cause for the smell.
Bleach will kill the majority of odor-causing bacteria. However, if your odor is caused by a blocked drain, the problem will return. A professional drain cleaning, snaking or hydro jetting may be required.
Sewer gas typically includes Methane and hydrogen sulfide. Vapors from these gases, if left unchecked, can increase a risk of fire or explosion. A licensed sewer specialist can assess your risk through a camera inspection and perform a sewer cleaning, repair or replacement.
Sewer gas produces a very distinct rotten egg smell, caused when organic materials break down and decompose to form hydrogen sulfide. If you’re unsure about the smell coming from your drains or sewers, call a licensed plumber who can perform an inspection or clear and clean blockages.
You can locate the sewer smell in your home by performing a smoke test or other odor detection tests. A sewer specialist routinely perform these and other inspections to identify the problem.
Rain water fills available spaces causing gases to move upward. This pushes hydrogen sulfide fumes out of the sewers, and with it, the rotten egg smell. In some cases, the smell after rain may be linked to a leak, blocked drain or sewer line, requiring a sewer drain specialist.
More Helpful Resources from Hoffmann Brothers
- All Resources and DIY Guides
- How to Unclog a Sink, Bathtub or Shower
- How to Fix a Clogged Toilet
- How To Fix Garbage Disposal
- Sewer Pipe Bursting Meaning and Process
- Sewer Pipe Lining – Meaning and Process
- Top Six Reasons for a Video Sewer Inspection
- Prevent Flooding & Recover from Flood Damage
- Steps to Take for Frozen Pipes
- Plumbing Frequently Asked Questions
- Drain Solutions: Frequently Asked Questions
- How to Improve Tap Water Quality