A sewer smell can be very annoying and even exasperating for the typical home or business owner. For a person unfamiliar with common plumbing problems, a sewer smell problem in a house or place of business can be difficult to solve. A common misconception is that cleaning the lines will take care of the problem. Only finding the issue and fixing it will eliminate the odor for good.
A common source of a sewer smell is from a trap whose water barrier has dried out. One of the main functions of a trap is to provide a water barrier to keep sewer gases out of your house. Most plumbing fixtures have what is known as a P trap. An example of a P trap can be seen if you simply look under your kitchen sink. If a fixture is not used often, such as in a guest bathroom, or a seasonal residence, the water in the trap can evaporate. Simply running some water can resolve the issue. Simply running some water will fill the trap belly back up with water, and re-create the water barrier.
Another common cause of sewer gas leaks comes from damage to your sewer or septic pipes. Your pipes could be leaking from rust, corrosion, a blockage, or holes along the pipes or pipe joints. Common blockages tend to be caused by tree roots, grease, and items that shouldn’t have been flushed down the drain.
The seal on your toilet might be slipping due to anchor bolts not being attached properly or an old wax ring that needs to be replaced. It’s normal for loose connections to happen over time, and rubber linings tend to wear away.
Similar to a drain trap, vents allow sewer gas to leave your home through your roof, rather than going elsewhere. It helps with the pressure of your plumbing system, but if your drain trap is blocked and your home isn’t properly vented, it could cause various issues with drainage systems. Check all the vents on your roof to keep them free of leaves, animal nests, and ice.