Smelling sewage gas inside your home is never a good sign and is almost always related to a plumbing problem. Residential plumbing systems are designed to direct naturally-occurring hydrogen sulfide up out of the building through a vent system. When gases that are supposed to go out are coming in through your bathroom, kitchen or laundry room, you may have a leak somewhere in your system.
A rotten egg smell is not something that should be taken lightly. Sewer gases can cause severe health ailments, including headaches, memory loss, poisoning, and asphyxiation. If the problem is severe enough, it could cause a house fire or even an explosion. If you believe you may have a sewer gas leak, contact a professional as soon as possible.
Common Sources of Sewage Smell
If air fresheners and bathroom fans are not covering up the smell, it’s time to do some investigating. The most logical culprit would be your toilet, but there are a few more common suspects that may be omitting the ominous smell.
Check your traps
Water traps located under floor drains, laundry tubs or wash basins can cause a funky odor if dried up. If your drains haven’t been used in awhile, check to make sure the water in them hasn’t evaporated. P-traps also hold water to prevent methane gas from entering your home so if you smell any type of rotten smell, something is wrong.
One easy fix is to pour a quart of water down each of your drains. If that doesn’t get rid of the odor you may have an old or leaky trap and it’s time to call a professional.
Toilet wax ring
A wax ring is placed where your toilet attaches to the ground to help seal the area and prevent gases from leaking. Over time, it’s normal for the ring to wear down which may be the reason you’re experiencing a sewage smell in your home.
Another issue could be that the seal on your toilet is slipping due to anchor bolts not being attached properly. Either way, if a sewer smell is coming up from your toilet, have a plumber go over each area of the fixture.
Sewer or septic pipe leaks
The smell may also be coming from damage to the sewer itself. Tree roots, grease or un-flushable items such as baby wipes could be clogging your line. Sewer gas may be leaking from breaks in the pipe itself from rust, corrosion or a blockage. If you believe the sewage smell is coming from your main sewer line, call a plumber to do a camera inspection. This will help locate the exact point of the leak and decide the best course of action such as hydro-jetting or replacing the pipe.
Roof vent pipes
Similar to your drain traps, the vent system in your home makes sure bad gases stay out. Vents also help regulate the pressure in your plumbing system. If your drain trap is blocked and your home isn’t properly vented, you could be facing some serious unsafe conditions. To avoid any issues, keep roof vent pipes clear of leaves, animal nests and ice/snow. Vents may also fail you if they’re located in the wrong place, have loose fittings or corrosion.
When to Call a Plumber
If you have drains overflowing, backing up, and/or gurgling, you most likely have a sewer backup causing the sewage smell throughout your home. Floods, tree roots or pipe breakage are the main causes of a sewer backup and require the knowledge of a plumber immediately.
If you smell rotten eggs in your home, you don’t need to evacuate the building. However, you should call a plumber as soon as possible.