How to Find Sewer Odors


Sewer odors are very common in homes because as waste materials decompose in private septic systems, the foul odor can emanate through various pipes. One of the annoyances of sewer odors is that it is not always easy to discover their origin. Fortunately, with a few investigative techniques, you can find the source of the sewer odor and sometimes eliminate it.

Things You'll Need

  • Oxygen bleach
  • Open your toilet seats, sink plugs and shower strainers. One of the most common reasons that sewer odors occur is because drain taps have dried out and sewer gas then comes into the home through the drainpipes. This is especially the case when people go on extended vacations. Flush your toilets and turn on your water taps. This also may clear the smell.

  • Check to see if your vent pipe is clogged on your roof. Always have an assistant help you if you need to climb onto your roof with a ladder, and maintain a low center of gravity by crawling to the vent pipe on your knees. If your vent pipes are clogged with leaves or other debris, then sewer gas may fill in your home because it cannot escape the vent. This is another reason why you might not be able to locate the exact location of the smell. Clear out the leaves and debris so that the gas can escape the home.

  • Contact a professional plumber. If your other methods did not locate and dispel the sewer odor, then you may have a cracked or damaged drainpipe or drain cap. These need to be replaced by a plumber in order to stop the smell from entering your home.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pour a gallon of oxygen bleach down shower and sink drains and leave the water off for one day. Even if you find and fix the source of the smell, the sewer odor may still linger. The oxygen bleach will kill the smell. Do not use chlorine bleach, as it will kill important bacteria located in your septic tank and can even make the smell worse.

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