Have you ever walked into your home to be hit in the face with an awful smell? At first you may think. "Wow, someone could have opened a window in the bathroom!", but you soon notice that the smell is everywhere you go?
I hope your answer is no.
I'm having this experience currently.
After trying all the normal tricks like pouring bleach, Draino, essential oils down the drain, followed by the popular trying to rip my nose off of my face trick, I turned to the Internet. Help us, Internet, we beg you!!!
I am nearly a plumber with all the information I now have! Here is the copy/paste article that I am using as my Bible...... should you run into this crappy situation yourself feel free to take it on as your own.
Why Do I Have Sewer Smells In My Home or Business?
Before we discuss why you may be getting smells through your drain pipes, lets first take a
look at how your plumbing is supposed to work. Properly constructed and maintained
plumbing will prevent sewer smells from entering your pipes.
How Your Plumbing is Supposed to Work
What comes in must go out, and half of plumbing is about getting rid of waste. The
plumbing system inside your home or any building consists of a network of pipes, vents
and traps. These are the least visible and least glamorous elements of your home's
plumbing. But this system of branching pipes that carry off liquid and solid wastes is just
as important as the incoming system. Each plumbing fixture (toilet, sink, shower, floor
drain, etc.) is connected to this system of pipes that carry the wastewater to the public
sewer. This system safely removes waste for treatment and provides a critical barrier that
keeps sewer gases and bacteria from entering your home.
How Vents and Traps Work
At first glance, drains seem to work even without traps and vents. Plenty of do-ityourselfers
leave out these key components, without understanding their importance.
• Traps hold enough water to form an airlock against sewer gases.
• The trap in each fixture, when properly vented, provides a liquid seal that prevents
sewer gases from entering the building.
• Vents allow sewer gases to flow up the soil stack and exit the DWV system without
coming into your home through plumbing fixtures.
• Vents equalize pressure to aid drainage and allow sewer gases to escape to the outer
• Without a properly functioning trap and vent, high or low pressure in the drains
may create unsafe conditions.
• The vent system allows outside air into the drain system to keep vacuums from
forming in the drains. Think of vents as upside-down drains with gasses rising in
the pipes in the same way that water flows down them.
• Each plumbing fixture should also have a vent that allows odors and sewer gases to
escape and atmospheric pressure to enter, thus preventing backpressure when water
fills the pipes.
• Without venting, high pressure in the drains may force sewer gas out through traps
• You'll probably hear gurgling and bubbling in the fixtures.
• You may also smell the vile bacteria odor mixed with sewer gas.
• Without proper venting, lower pressure in the drains may cause siphoning in the
traps whenever you drain fixtures.
• If the traps are dry, sewer gas vents directly into the house.
I Do Get Sewer Smells, What Do I Do Now?
There are a variety of reasons that sewer smells may be entering a home or business.
• A common reason is the lack of required traps or vents. Every fixture should have
a trap and a vent pipe to keep smells from entering the home. If traps and vent
pipes are missing, you may need the help of a plumber to install them immediately.
• A common reason is broken seals around the toilet that allows water to siphon or
dry out the traps and thus allowing smells to enter the home. There could be an air
leak at the wax ring of the toilet or in the vent pipe. Rotted or damp wood can also
cause the smell. Check to see if the toilet is tightly sealed to the floor. Grab the
bowl of the toilet and try to slide it from side to side. It should resist a few pounds
of pressure. If the toilet rocks from side to side, the wax ring has failed. You may
need the help of a plumber to fix these problems.
• A frequent cause for inside odors is a dry trap. Pouring a quart of water into all
sinks, showers/tubs and floor drains may correct this problem. All drains to a
sewer system have a "P" shaped trap that is usually filled with water. The trap
provides a seal to keep out sewer gas. If your basement floor drain is rarely used,
water evaporates from the trap over time. Eventually the seal is eliminated,
allowing sewer gas (and smell) into your house. The solution is easy: pour water
into the drain.
• Specifically, the trap under the basin may not be holding enough water and is
allowing sewer fumes into the room. You may want to inspect your trap and be
sure it holds enough water.
• If you have an old "house trap" in your basement the trap may be cracked or broken
allowing smells to seep through the cracks and into your home.
• If the smell is noticeable mainly around a sink, try flushing a strong cleaner and
bleach down the sink's overflow-the small hole(s) inside the bowl near the rim.
When the sink fills to near overflowing, water is routed through an inner chamber
to the drain. Debris can collect inside the inner chamber, causing odor. T
• There may be a small leak in one of the vent lines of the plumbing system, or a
small leak around the base of a toilet or other fixture. You may need the help of a
plumber. Check for loose fittings, corrosion, or holes in vent piping. Also, check
the top side of horizontal drain pipes. If the top is rusted, it may never leak liquid,
but it will leak sewer gas. Drain lines made of copper, steel or cast iron may all
exhibit this problem.
• If you have older cast iron piping you may be getting smells through cracks in your
pipes. This type of piping has a habit of forming a crack along the topside of the
pipe over time, and this could be where your smell is coming from. You may need
to inspect every inch of piping for cracks or openings where the smell is coming
from, and then make the repair from there. If an entire length of pipe is cracked
(quite common), you should replace it using PVC drain pipe of the same size, with
no-hub couplers to fit the pipe into place.
• A frequent cause for inside odors is a clogged vent. You may need the help of a
plumber or a handyman to disconnect the vent pipes inside your home and clean
your vents all the way through the roof.
You may have wondered why houses have pipes sticking up out of the roof. They are vent
pipes to relieve the pressure so that P-traps can do their jobs. It turns out that vents also
break vacuums so water flows down the pipes faster.
How Do I Find Places Where Sewer Gas Is Coming Is Entering My Home?
1. CHECK ALL OF THE TRAPS IN YOUR HOUSE TO MAKE SURE YOUR
WATER SEAL OF THE SEWER IS CORRECT.
2. GO ON THE ROOF OR HAVE A PLUMBER OR HANDYMAN GO ON THE
ROOF AND CHECK ALL OF YOUR VENT STACKS TO SEE IF IT IS CLOGGED
OR IF A DEAD RODENT HAS LODGED IN ONE OF THE VENT PIPES.
3. RE-INSTALL THE BOWL-WAX RINGS ON THE TOILETS IN YOUR HOUSE,
SOMETIMES THEY GET OLD AND LET SEWER SMELLS SEEP IN.
4. IF YOU ARE ON SLAB FOUNDATION, CHECK TO SEE IF YOU HAVE ANY
SEWER-LEAKS IN YOUR PIPES GOING INTO YOUR FOUNDATION OR
UNDER YOUR SLAB FOUNDATION. (YOU MAY NEED A SMOKE TEST FOR
5. GET A SMOKE TEST DONE ON YOUR DRAINS. A PLUMBER/DRAIN
CLEANER WILL CAP OFF ALL DRAIN VENTS ON YOUR HOUSE, AND BLOW
SMOKE IN YOUR DRAIN, WASTE, VENT SYSTEM; WHEREVER YOU SEE
SMOKE IN YOUR HOUSE, THAT IS WHERE THE SEWER SMELL IS COMING
You're welcome. I will update after I find the source of this nightmare and eradicate it.