If Your Home Smells Like A Sewer, Does This Mean That The Sewer Is Backed Up?

Posted on: 13 July 2016

It goes without saying that your home should never smell like a sewer. When this happens, many homeowners assume they need plumbing repairs or sewer cleaning services. Luckily, this problem is often much more easily fixed. Knowing what causes the problem and what you can do about it can help you take care of your home and may save you money in plumbing fees.

If your home smells like a sewer, does this mean that the sewer is backed up?

Often a sewer smell is not indicative of a sewer backup. If your home starts to smell like sewer water, a likely reason is that the water has dried up from a plumbing P-trap.

How does water in the plumbing P-trap prevent sewer gas from entering your home?

A P-trap is a squiggly pipe that is a standard part of basically every plumbing waste line. By design, a P-trap will hold a supply of waste water that sits inside the pipe. The water in the P-trap is replenished every time liquid is flushed down the drain. This water creates an air-tight seal between the sewer and your home.

If the water in your P-trap is preventing sewer gas from entering your home, why does the system sometimes fail?

Generally, if sewer gas leaks into your home via the drains, this occurs because the water in one of your home's P-traps has evaporated. Usually this occurs when a sink or a drain isn't used for a very long time. If your home has a shower, sink or bathroom that never gets used, fixtures in this bathroom could be the source of the smell.

What can you do to get rid of the sewer smell?

Open up your home's windows and doors to let out the air in your home. This will help get rid of the smell. Once this is done, your next step will be to fill every P-trap in your home with water. You can accomplish this by doing the following:

  • Flush every toilet in the house.
  • Run every faucet in the house for several minutes. This includes shower and sink faucets.
  • Pour water down every basement floor drain.

Finally, give the sewer smell time to clear out of your home. If the smell persists, then your problem may be unrelated to the water in the P-traps. For more advice and assistance, contact a plumbing repair service in your area such as Salinas & Sons Rooter Service. They can assess your home's problem and make repairs as necessary.