We all know that nasty sewer smell; it's immediately recognizable and it's never pleasant. So what do you do if you start smelling it in your home? Usually the cause of the problem isn't obvious and finding it will take a bit of trial and error, but don't worry, nasty smells in your home are usually easily fixable. Here is a list of the most common causes, and what you can do to fix them.
Rarely-Used Sinks, Tubs, or Other Drains
That curved piece of pipe under your sink is called a p-trap, and it's designed to hold water at all times to stop sewer gases from coming up through the drain. Every drain has a trap of some sort. If the drain is rarely used, the water in the trap can evaporate, which opens up the pipe to allow sewer gases to enter your home.
What to do: Turn on the sink or tub at least twice a month to keep water in its trap, and pour water into floor drains.
Worn Toilet Wax Ring
Every toilet has a wax ring, which seals the drain beneath the toilet and prevents water from seeping out. It's designed not to wear out, but a loose toilet can damage the ring so it no longer creates a seal.
What to do: Check the toilet bowl to make sure it's secure. If it's wobbly or loose, reset the toilet with a new wax ring.
No Caulk Seal Around Toilet Base
As a rule, water that can't dry will grow bacteria and start to stink. So if there is no seal around the base of your toilet, water and urine can seep under there and won't be able to dry.
What to do: A simple bead of tub & tile caulk around the base of the toilet, where it rests on the floor, will create an effective seal.
Bacteria in Drains
Over time, soap scum can build up near the opening of a drain, and it creates an excellent place for bacteria to live and grow.
What to do: Pour a household cleaner or enzyme drain cleaner down the drain a few times a day over the course of a week (pouring the cleaner down the drain only once usually won't do the trick). Pour some cleaner into the overflow drain too, if there is one.
Sewer Cleanout Cap Screws
Sewer cleanout cover plates are attached to the sewer cleanout with a screw. The screw can deteriorate over time, allowing sewer gases to seep through. These are usually located under sinks and behind/next to toilets.
What to do: Replace the old deteriorated screw with a new one.
Still stinky? If you try all of these and the problem still isn't fixed, it might mean there is a trickier problem that only a skilled plumber can find and solve. Don't hesitate to give us a call at (586) 459-0040 and we'll help you get to the bottom of it.