Does Your House Smell Like A Sewer?

Exposure to sewer gas can have a negative effect on a person’s health, causing migraines, respiratory problems, fatigue, dizziness and more. Fortunately, a sewer smell in your house is something that you can do something about. The most challenging part of taking care of a sewer smell is determining where the smell is coming from. In this post, we’ll explore a few of the issues that often accompany sewer smells and what can be done about those problems.

Dried Up P-Trap


The P-trap part of a drain is a curved bit of pipe that holds water. That water creates a natural barrier that holds back sewer gas and prevents it from entering the house. If the drain dries up, the gas will leak into the home.

If your home has a toilet or shower that rarely gets used, you can prevent the P-trap inside the shower or toilet from drying up by flushing water down drain every so often. If your home begins to smell like sewer gas, simply pour water down the drain to refill the P-trap.

P-traps tend to dry up in vacation homes that are left to sit empty for an entire season. To prevent the water from draining out of the P-trap in your cabin or vacation home, pour RV anti-freeze into the drains to prevent the water from freezing if the temperatures drop. Once you’ve poured anti-freeze into the drains, cap them. Drain caps are available for sale in home improvement centers and hardware stores. To prevent water from evaporating out of the toilet, cover it with saran wrap.

Vent Leak

Your home’s plumbing vents travel through the walls in your home and up through the roof. Leaks in those pipes can be hard to find because they don’t leak water but gas. When a small crack appears in the vents, a sewer gas smell can fill a room or even fill your home.

Because vent leaks can be so difficult to pinpoint, we recommend hiring a professional to amend this problem. A licensed professional can use a smoke machine to puff smoke into the vent and look for the leak. Once it’s located, caulking or pipe replacement can easily fix the problem.

Toilet Wax Ring

If the wax ring around your toilet begins to deteriorate, the small space between your toilet and the wax ring could allow sewer gas to escape from the drain beneath your toilet. You’ll know when the wax ring under the toilet begins to deteriorate because the toilet might become slightly slanted or develop a wobble. To fix the problem, take off the toilet, replace the wax ring around the flange and re-install the toilet. You can see a very clear demonstration of how to replace a wax ring here:

Don’t live with a sewer smell any longer. If your house is full of sewer gas and you live in the Pittsburgh area, call us at (412) 364-9114. We can help you diagnose the problem and fix the issue.