There are few things worse for homeowners than to smell sewer gas odor coming from their septic tank or plumbing system. There is a wide range of issues that could cause the release of sewer gasses into the home, and it could be that the smell is something small or easily fixable. With this in mind, how do you find out if you have a sewage smell in your house?
Identifying a sewage smell in your home is fairly obvious. The smell is akin to decaying waste or even excrement. It is important to address the smell of sewer gas in the home since the release of hydrogen sulfide and other toxic chemicals can be hazardous to your health.
Are you currently experiencing sewage backup or the smell of sewer gas in your home? It is important to find out what is causing this odour and the best step to take to fix the problem. In this article, we will explore all of the various issues that can cause a sewage smell in the home, and offer some remedies to address the problem.
What would cause a sewage smell in my house?
To figure out the actual cause of the smell of sewer gas in your home, there can be a range of different issues causing the bad smell. Let’s take an in-depth look at what can cause the smell of sewage gases in the home.
Blocked Drain Line
The most universal of all drainage problems is also one of the most noticeable to home and business owners. When a drain becomes blocked, water is unable to flow smoothly through the drainage system.
This causes backup and ineffective water removal into the basin above in addition to the sewer lines. This process can come from debris accumulation over long periods of time or, the frequent depositing of material into a drain that is bound to cause clogs.
Hair, food, fat and grease, soap and shampoo, or any other solid material can lead to a blocked drain. The best preventative method to take would be to limit the deposits of these types of substances into the drain.
The best remedy for a clogged drain is to contact a blocked drain company such as KJC Drainage who are based in Portsmouth, to assess the severity and stubbornness of the clog. Some clogs may be remedied with DIY measures, such as cleaning the p-trap of a drain; however, the method of removing the clog should be diagnosed by a professional, especially if the problem frequently occurs.
Clogged shower drains can be more problematic to fix due to the structuring of the drains being frequently obscured and inaccessible. In this type of situation, a drain auger (snake) may be the only tool that can unclog the drain.
For clogged exterior drains, the culprit is usually debris such as leaves and mud that have overrun the drainage system, thereby causing a backup. Outside drains are just as vital as interior drains and clogs should never be ignored.
Subsidence is a possible risk factor for frequently clogged exterior drains. This occurs when blockages are frequently left untreated, leading to weakened foundations due to frequent ground saturation.
Blocked Vent Pipes
The vent pipe for your sewer line is located outdoors and needs to be regularly checked to ensure the vent pipe is not blocked or obscured.
The vent pipe is crucial since this is the release for your sewer trap and the applicable foul odours that emit from it.
Faulty Plumbing Systems
Drains are connected to a complex system of drainage pipes that connect the wastewater to the wider sewer systems. Like all structural equipment, drainage pipes can break or loosen over time due to frequent ground instability and equipment degradation.
Once a drainage pipe breaks or loosens, wastewater begins to collect in the surrounding area and in some instances can cause a backup. The wastewater has nowhere else to go but outside of the pipe intrusion.
This can be an alarming diagnosis, however, the days of completely excavating through the ground to fix the break are not always the case, since relining is sometimes a viable alternative. This problem has to be fixed in order to stop the drainage problem and has no viable DIY alternative available for a simple fix.
Often, this problem can be small-in-scale, and patching of the broken pipe could be a quick remedy. In more severe cases, the broken piping will certainly need to be fixed to avoid complete drainage collapse.
Additionally, a clogged drain does not have to be the main culprit people think. A wide range of clogs from foreign objects could be letting sewer gas smells back up into your home. It may be okay to think that nothing could possibly intrude within a drain, however, tree roots and even dead animals are frequently reported to cause drainage problems.
These occurrences can lead to drain backup and pipe failure if the intrusion remains for a long period of time.
Tree roots are frequently growing and expanding underground in search of adequate moisture. Drains have this in abundance, which can cause root systems to continually apply pressure to the pipes until the root system completely intrudes into the pipe.
Weakened joint systems along the edges of the piping are also easily breached by root systems. Over time, the roots will continue to expand throughout the interior of the piping causing blockages and pipe failure.
An intrusion must be removed in order for the plumbing problems to subside. This can be done by augering to break up the intruding object, which can then be flushed with high-pressure equipment.
Measures to repair any damaged pipes are also likely in these circumstances due to the possible bursting of the pipes due to the intrusion of the object. If the pipes are not properly repaired as well, the sewage smells will continue to linger and release potentially toxic gases.
How do I find the sewer smell in my house?
This is usually not difficult to pinpoint. Sewer gas can often smell like raw human waste or rotten eggs, so the first place to look should be the toilet bowl and toilet flange just to rule out if this is toilet smells you are experiencing for whatever reason.
A floor drain and the shower drain are the next places to check since the shower drain and especially floor drains have a direct link to the septic system.
Additionally, check the wax ring around the toilet. The wax ring can release a nasty odor throughout the home since this is what is responsible for ensuring the sewer gas from the toilet is contained within the pipe.
If your wax ring is damaged or worn away, you should consider replacing it.
How do you know where your sewer smell is?
The closer you get to the cause of the sewer gas smell, the easier it will be to verify the source of the odour. Outdoor sewer traps, when properly vented, will still have a sewage odour at close distances, but when the smell is indoors, this indicates a problem with the sewer system or the plumbing systems and plumbing traps in the home.
The reason your house smells like sewer gases when it rains
Dried-out water barriers are likely the main cause if you smell sewer after rainfall. If you have a drain in the home, either a laundry room drain, a bathroom shower drain, or drains to laundry tubs that are not used very often, this can cause a dried-out water barrier.
Simply run cold water through a drain pipe that is not used often to ensure sewage smells do not build.
Additionally, poor installation of a vent stack could be the cause. A vent stack needs to be able to release odours freely without rainwater building up in the pipe.
Sources of sewer smell
There are many things that can make your house smell like sewage. But the main source, outside of something major like a gas leak, is the plumbing fixtures inside your home.
Another cause could be a septic blockage or even a frozen septic tank. Everything has to run smoothly and efficiently when it comes to sewer drains.
How do I get rid of the sewer gas odor smell in my house?
When your house smells like sewer gas, and especially if you smell sewage in all rooms throughout the home, it is important to address the odour to prevent breathing in hydrogen sulfide.
But before you can work towards removing the odour from your home, you first must identify where the smell is coming from.
There are many different tests that can be performed to find out what is causing the odour, in addition to many different remedies you can take to work towards reducing the smell inside of your home.
Let’s take a look at how this can be done and what methods you can use to get the odour out of your home.
How to identify and remove a sewer gas smell in your house
There are few residential smells as unpleasant as a sewer gas house smell; these smells in houses make life unpleasant, and the prospect of having guests over during this issue is zilch. As we have also discovered, these smells are almost always emitting from a drain if not a septic tank.
One tried and tested method is a plumbing smoke test with a proper smoke machine. This test uses smoke to find cracks or leaks in a sewage line and alerts plumbing professionals where the problem is located.
In the time that you are waiting for a professional drain company – such as KJC Draining – to address the issue, there are some home remedies you can perform to reduce the sewer smells. Avoid using industrial-grade chemicals or chlorine bleach at first, and try the following remedies instead.
Baking powder, vinegar, and boiling water are amazing home remedies when it comes to cleaning and destroying smells.
You can start by running as much boiling water into smelly drains as your water bill can stand. The hot water loosens matter effectively, which will promote flushing if there isn’t a substantial clog.
You can also add a cup or two of baking powder to your smelly drain. Baking powder is renowned for its neutralisation properties. There is a reason that this substance works so well as an antacid and a cleaning agent.
Allow the baking soda to sit in the drain an hour or two while it eats up and cancels out the particles or bacteria causing the smell and then rinse the drain with hot water.
Vinegar, vegetable oil, or mineral oil is also a great drain odour eliminator. These substances work much in the same way as baking soda but have the added benefit of being a particularly powerful cleaning agent. Boil or microwave a few cups of vinegar and simply pour down the smelly drain.
Wait about an hour and then flush the drain with hot water.
The problem may be a bit more complex than what is seeable with the naked eye from above. The p-traps (curved structure under the sink), as well as an applicable dry p-trap, sump pump, or vent pipe systems, can also be causes of sewer air in houses.
The p-trap can easily be removed with a wrench and you may want to place a bucket underneath it to catch any stagnant water or debris. Rinse out any present gunk or substances.
Drainage vents are not given the acknowledgment that they deserve when it comes to plumbing as many residential homeowners barely even think of the role vents play at all when it comes to sewer gases.
Drainage vents are a crucial component of a drainage system because they provide air pressure to drains to assist in moving the water barrier and waste through to the sewage system.
These vents can become clogged with outside debris over time and need to be cleaned off to allow air to enter into drains.
KJC Drainage – expert drain and sewer clearance company
The smell of sewer gases is a fairly common occurrence, albeit not an occurrence that anybody ever wants to deal with. The causes behind a sewer gas smell can be superficial or complex, depending on what is causing the odours to emanate from the drains or sewer lines.
To eliminate sewer gas smell, you can use a combination of hot water, baking soda, vinegar, and even lemon to run through the drain to fix the problem.
Other causes can be clogged pipes, obstructed drainage vents, and even structural abnormalities in the main sewer line, which is why reporting the issue is usually the best course of action. Smelly drains can be fixed and there is no reason to live in a foul-smelling home due to pesky drainage problems.
If none of those remedies seem to work, you may need to consult with a plumbing company for a professional plumber to address the problem.
At KJC Drainage, we can certainly rise to the challenge. We pride ourselves on our reputation for being an honest, trustworthy, and professional, family-run business. Utilising our 2o+ years of experience to tackle and resolve all draining issues, we offer free quotations and advice and provide an emergency 24/7 response service.
We understand the upheaval that house smells can bring and the importance of getting everything back up and running as quickly as possible to alleviate the foul odor. Our friendly staff always seek to undertake work to the highest of standards, especially when addressing something like sewer gas.
Contact us today to allow an experienced plumber to fix the problem and get your house smelling pleasant again in no time, and to prevent the release of dangerous gases like hydrogen sulfide in your home.