Causes of Plumbing Odors

Sewer odors can make a home uninhabitable. Sometimes, our customers will call because they can smell their sewer. WHen they call, and it’s pretty much a state of emergency from where they sit, and no one blames them. Sewer odors can contain methane gas, which can cause headaches and other problems.


So, what causes sewer odors? There are a couple of different reasons, and some of them are easily fixable by the homeowner. Today, we’re going to look at some of the causes, and maybe some solutions, for sewer odors in the home.

A dry trap

Sinks, tubs, and even your shower have a p-trap. The p-trap is the loop you see under the drain in your sink. That loop fills with water, which keeps the gases out. Sometimes, when a homeowner has a spare bathroom or shower they rarely use, the water in that p-trap will dry out. The vapors from the sewer begin to sneak back into the home. Merely running water in the sink or another drain will cause the p-trap to fill up again, and the odor stops.

A clogged drain

If the drain becomes clogged, this will also cause an odor. If it’s a simple clog, you might be able to take care of it yourself, as we explained here. If it isn’t, you can call us, and we will be right out to fix the problem.


A broken drain pipe

A broken drain pipe may also cause a sewer smell, as well as root intrusion if the crack is small. The roots will later clog the line. Regardless of the reason, always fix a broken drain pipe right away, so it doesn’t have a chance to get worse.

A stopped-up vent pipe

A vent pipe is where the buildup of gases from behind the p-trap can escape, usually through the roof of your home, but if the vent pipe itself becomes clogged, the gases may divert back into the house. Typical cases of a vent pipe clog are leaves, bird nests, rodents, balls, and things of that nature.

Another thing that may happen with a clogged vent pipe is that the water won’t want to drain, and will make an odd gurgling sound if it doesn’t stop completely.

Your vent pipe can become clogged with a birds nest or even tree foliage.

Your vent pipe can become clogged with a birds nest or even tree foliage.

Sometimes, a vent pipe will be too short, which may also cause odors, but that hardly ever happens. Homes are built much better than they ever were before.

Old or Broken Wax ring

The wax ring on a toilet can sometimes get old and shrink, which will allow gases to escape in the bathroom. Once in a while, one will break, or the flange will break, which may also cause a problem beyond a leak.

If you have sewer odors in your home and can’t figure out the reason, give us a call, and I’ll come out and take care of it. Sewer odors are never fun.

Charity Plumbing offers prompt, professional residential and commercial plumbing installation, repair, and drain services in the Valley area. Call 602-399-4041