Why Is There a Sewer Smell in Our House?

Posted by Kevin Carney

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Detecting a sewer smell in your house is never pleasant on a number of levels. Of course, the main thing you are most likely concerned about is that the smell makes it hard to be in your house. After all, who wants to live in a place that smells like a sewer?

But there are other reasons to be concerned when you smell something like this as well. For one thing, since this is not the way that your house should smell, it likely means that there is a problem somewhere in your sewer, drainage or venting system. Also, gasses that generate that sewer smell can be made up of methane and hydrogen sulfide, both of which are quite dangerous and not the types of gasses you want your family to be breathing on a regular basis.

In most cases, you will need to call in a professional to determine the exact cause of the sewer smell and eliminate it. This can sometimes be expensive if the problem is widespread or difficult to locate, but it does not have to be. Some causes of a sewer smell in your house are relatively easy to remedy, particularly for an experienced professional.

For instance, the smell may be the result of leaks in certain pipes and can be eliminated when those leaks are repaired. Or a low water level in your toilet could be the culprit. The constant presence of water in your toilet bowl is actually what keeps those sewer gasses from seeping up and into your house. So if the water level in the toilet bowl drops for some reason, the gasses can be allowed to escape into your house. This is especially likely if you have a toilet that does not get used often and where the water may have evaporated over time.

Another common reason that a sewer smell can develop in your house is that the vent pipe has become clogged. Since it is the job of this pipe to vent sewer gasses out of your home, it is not surprising that a blockage in this system could cause the odors to build up inside. Depending on your skill level, you may be able to tackle the project of unclogging the vent pipe on your own or you may need to call in a professional plumber to get the job done.

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