If you’ve ever walked into your bathroom and been hit in the face with a nearly-fatal sewer smell, you know how traumatizing of an experience it can be. The smell is so pungent, the odor so repulsive, it almost brings you to your knees in agony.
Or, it can just be a really disgusting stench. Either way, you want it gone.
So how do you fix it…and quick? Below are some of the most common causes and remedies for annoying sewer smells in your home.
1. A Dry Drain Trap
If you’ve ever dropped something down the drain, like a wedding ring, for instance, most likely you know exactly where the p-trap is. If you don’t, it’s the U-shaped pipe that is directly underneath your sink; if the sewer smells are coming from that drain, it’s a good bet that’s where the problem is.
Ideally, there is water in the p-trap at all times that acts as a mini-defensive wall between your home and the sewer. If it’s dry, however, there’s nothing stopping those odors from traveling into your house. This happens most often when a pipe sits unused for a long period of time, such as a guest bathroom or garage sink.
The fix is arguably the simplest you’ll ever have in home DIY: Just run some water down the pipe for a few seconds to fill it back up. If the smell goes away, the problem is solved.
2. Gunk Build-Up
If you’ve ran water down the pipe and it smells like an old egg that’s being slowly roasted over a pile of garbage, it could be that a thin layer of film has built up slowly in the pipes over time. While not as common if the sewer smells are in the shower, if they’re coming from the sink where food particles and drinks are poured often, it’s a strong possibility that’s the culprit.
To clean it, simply snake the inside of the pipe with a long brush, and put a mixture of 50% water and 50% bleach down the drain to kill the bacteria and preserve the pipe walls.
3. Bad Wax Ring Seal
Are the sewer smells coming from the toilet? If so, you might have a bad wax ring seal around the base of the toilet, right where it connects to the floor. Over time, this wax ring can leak or break entirely, which allows gases to leak inside the bathroom and make a stinky situation even stinkier.
The only fix for this type of problem is to replace the wax ring entirely, which means pulling the toilet off the ground, fitting a new ring inside, and reinstalling it. It’s not a technically challenging process, but it can be frustrating. As always, our team at Fountain Plumbing is ready to assist in any way we can!
4. Broken Sewer Line
One of the more dramatic reasons that funky sewer smells could be infiltrating your humble abode could be as a result of a cracked line or loose joint. If this is the case, and you’ve eliminated the other options, your absolute best choice here is to call an experienced plumber to come in and handle the situation. Even if you pride yourself on your DIY skills, this is one job that is tough to handle by yourself.