why does my house smell like sewer gas
Exposure to sewer gas can have a negative effect on a personвs 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. 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. 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. 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. A sewer smell in house can be very annoying and even exasperating for the typical homeowner. In some cases a sewer smell can even be found just outside one s home. For a person unfamiliar with common plumbing problems, a sewer smell problem in a house can be difficult to solve.
For a knowledgeable plumber a sewer smell problem is relatively easy to diagnose and easy to cure. There are three main causes of this annoying problem. The most common source of a sewer smell in house is from missing, ill-fitted, or loose. The sewer access pit is the first place to check, and maybe the last place most people look. In the bottom of most access pits in a basement is the house trap. A house trap us U shaped so water sits in the bottom of the trap. This water serves as a barrier between sewer gases from the city sewer, and your home or business. If the sewer trap is not properly sealed with trap plugs, a sewer smell will be present from sewer gases escaping from the public sewer. Most house traps are double vent meaning they require two plugs or caps. There are two openings in order to allow for the drain system to be easily cleaned in each direction. Replacement plugs or caps are extremely inexpensive, costing around $10. 00 or less each. In older house traps fit-all plugs can be used. Fit-all plugs are lead lined and can conform to the irregular or worn openings in older house traps. As mentioned previously, one of the main functions of a trap is to provide a water barrier to keep sewer gases out of your house. All plumbing fixtures and house sewers are supposed to have a trap. Most plumbing fixtures have what is known as a P trap. An example of a P trap can be seen if you simply look under your kitchen sink.
If a fixture is little used, such as in a guest bathroom, or a seasonal residence, the water in the trap can evaporate. Simply running some water can resolve the issue. The same applies for either a little used fixture, a guest house, or a vacation home. Simply running some water will fill the trap belly back up with water, and re-create the water barrier. Sometimes pouring some vinegar down a drain can help to get rid of a foul odor. But a sewer smell in house should not be taken lightly either. A sewer smell is indicative of methane gas and bacteria being present in the air. Headaches can result, but if left untreated there can also be health consequences as well. If you smell sewer gas act promptly. A sewer smell outside your house can mean that the city sewer is backed up. But if the smell is constantly present it can have to do with your roof leader line outlets, or area drains. Although storm sewer systems should not contain sewer gases, sanitary and combined sewer systems do. That means if your roof leader lines or area drains are connected to a combined, or sanitary sewer system, they can be the source of your sewer smell. Just like all plumbing fixtures roof leader lines and area drains are supposed to have a trap to provide a water barrier. If outside roof leader lines connect to your combined house sewer outside your house (the combining point), each leader line drain must be trapped.
Otherwise sewer gas will escape between the roof leader line and where it enters the underground drain. A trap for a leader line or area drain can be present either inside of outside the building. Either location is legal and meets code. One can attempt to caulk up the gap between the roof leader and drain, but that is not the proper solution. The proper solution is to install a P trap underground for each roof leader outlet. It is also important that the trap be below the frost line so the water inside the trap does not freeze in the Winter time. They then have a separate trap for the storm water, alongside the sanitary water. Most leader lines and area drains usually still have their own trap to catch debris and sediment. There is a common theme regarding many common plumbing issues, such as a sewer smell in house. The common theme is that a low cost fitting or part was not installed properly, or not installed at all. Whether intentionally or not, a missing $10. 00 sewer cap or $100. 00 trap can cause all kinds of inconvenience, and possibly health issues. Professional grade plumbing work requires closely adhering to approved plans and to applicable local plumbing code. While it may be tempting to hire an unlicensed tradesman in an attempt to save money, the outcome may not be so positive. Correcting inferior plumbing work can be costly, and have health and quality of life consequences in the interim.
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