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Smell Sewer Gas in Your House? Try This DIY Remedy Before Calling a Plumber

Updated on January 2, 2017
JayeWisdom profile image

As the owner of an older home, I researched this plumbing problem and successfully rid my home of it without the need to call a pro.

What to Do if Sewer Gas Invades Your Home

If you smell a noxious sewer-like odor inside your home, chances are it is sewer gas escaping from the drainage system. Not only does it smell gross, but the methane and bacteria it contains can be dangerous to your health, causing headaches or even more serious ailments. Even scarier, high concentrations of methane gas are combustible, which can cause an explosion. If you notice this distinctive, foul odor, do not ignore it.

Possible Causes for the Sewer Smell:

  • sewer back-up
  • leaks from rotted or cracked drain pipes
  • a clogged drain
  • loose-fitting pipe connections
  • a stopped-up or too-short vent pipe
  • toilet's wax ring is old
  • a dry trap

Before you call the plumber, however, there are some simple DIY actions that may eliminate the problem quickly at little or no cost. Below, you'll find out how to get rid of the smell of sewer gas emitting from a shower drain due to a dry trap or a mild clog.

Plumbing fixtures and their connecting systems that are correctly designed and installed are normally odorless. However, even the best plumbing may sometimes allow sewer gas into your home due to a simple problem that can be easily checked…and simply solved. If the problem persists, then it’s time to call in the professional—a plumber.

What you'll need: White vinegar, baking soda, bleach, mineral oil, and hot water.
What you'll need: White vinegar, baking soda, bleach, mineral oil, and hot water.

DIY Shower Drain Sewer Smell Removal

  1. Use a screwdriver to remove the trap.
  2. Pour one cup of white vinegar into the drain.
  3. Follow with 1/4 cup baking soda.
  4. Let that sit for two hours with the bathroom door closed.
  5. Slowly pour a gallon of hot water down the drain.
  6. After fifteen minutes, run cold water for ten minutes to thoroughly rinse the vinegar down. This step is very important, so don't skip it.
  7. Pour 1/2 cup chlorine bleach into the drain and let it sit for another two hours.
  8. Rinse with another gallon of hot water poured slowly.
  9. Turn on the shower’s water faucet, and let the water run for ten minutes. By now, ample water should be standing in the “U” curve of the p-trap.
  10. The last step is to pour four ounces of mineral oil (plain cooking oil will work in a pinch) into the drain. The oil floats on the water in the trap and slows evaporation.
  11. Replace the trap.

Warning: Never mix bleach and vinegar, or you will create toxic chlorine and chloramine gas. Step #6 is crucial to avoid this danger.

Warning!

Never mix bleach and vinegar, or you will create toxic chlorine and chloramine gas.

How Does Sewer Gas Get Inside Your Home?

Every drain in your home’s sewer system should have a “p”-shaped trap that is properly vented. These drains trap water, creating a seal or barrier that will keep sewer gas out of your home. If one of these drains is rarely used, such as in a guest bathroom, the water creating the protective seal will eventually evaporate. This is a formula for trouble that can allow stinky sewer gas to seep into your home. Simply running the water might solve this problem.

P-Traps, Vents, and Drains—How They Work

Let’s consider how the plumbing for this stand-alone shower in my home operates: Water from the city water system enters through the shower head while faucets control the water pressure and supply. When water drains from the shower, it goes into the city sewer system.

My shower, indeed every plumbing fixture in my home, should have two items working together to keep sewer gas out: 1. A p-trap that holds water in a “U” shape of the pipe and forms a seal, and 2. A vent system that allows air in to equalize pressure and let sewer gases escape up the stack to the outside.

In short, the properly-vented p-trap prevents back pressure from letting sewer gas into my home. The vent is a critical component of this system because the pressure in sewer lines may fluctuate.

A p-trap.
A p-trap.

What Is a Dry Trap?

My research led me to believe that my stinky problem might be the easiest type to resolve: A dry trap. Since my guest shower had remained unused for a long time, the trap under the basin wasn't holding enough water to prevent sewer fumes from seeping up into the room. Often, simply running the water can resolve this issue.

Is It Okay to Pour Boiling Water Down the Drain?

While I advocate pouring hot water down the drain, what about boiling water? is it likely that boiling water in the drain might crack a pipe? I asked an engineer about this issue, and he told me that boiling water won't damage metal pipes. Even if your home's plumbing includes PVC pipes and joints, using very hot water shouldn't hurt them, but don't let the water boil.

PVC pipes don't need regular dousing with water over 175 degrees Fahrenheit (and water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit), or the joints might melt. If you aren't certain whether or not your plumbing system includes PVC pipes and joints (or even rubber fittings), don't let the water heat to boiling or even the about-to-boil stage. If the water is hot (less than 175 degrees F.), it should do the trick.

What if This Simple Solution Doesn't Work?

If the odor had persisted after the vinegar-baking soda-bleach-hot water-mineral oil technique I used, the sewer gas invasion might have been caused by something other than a dry p-trap.

Leaks, rotted or cracked drain pipes, clogs in the drain, or a stopped-up vent pipe are other potential stink-makers. Had I still smelled that nasty odor when I opened the bathroom door next morning, stronger measures would have been in order.

I don't have the DIY expertise to test or resolve more difficult issues, so it would have been time to call in the professional—a licensed, bonded, and insured plumber. I already have the phone numbers of two such plumbers on my speed dial (see next paragraph), but anyone searching for a trustworthy plumber should use an Internet search engine for a national or local directory of plumbers who are licensed, bonded, and insured. You don't want to take a chance on someone who may charge cheaper rates, but can't be held accountable for work, including any damages to your property.

My Experience with Sewer Gas

I didn’t know anything about p-traps or their function until a recent unpleasant incident forced me to do some hurried research. Here’s the background. There are three showers in my home. Two of them are regularly used, but the third is rarely used at all. In fact, it had not been used for months at the time this situation occurred.

When that shower was suddenly used after remaining dry for such a long period, the resulting odor emanating from the drain after the water stopped was dreadful. It smelled like…yes, a sewer! Eau de sewer is definitely not the fragrance I wanted wafting throughout my home, so getting rid of it was a top priority, requiring immediate action.

It was evening when the odor materialized, and I realized it might not be possible to get a licensed plumber to my house after regular business hours. Even if I were successful in locating a plumber who would show up before the next day, the overtime rates charged would not be healthy for my budget. Perhaps there was something I could do before then. DIY is not my forte, but I can sometimes handle an easy fix. You never know until you try.

The odor in the bathroom had to be contained, so closing off the drain holes temporarily was the first thing I did. I quickly dried the floor of the shower stall with paper towels and covered the drain tightly with good old all-purpose duct tape. I then opened the bathroom window for ventilation. Closing the door of that bathroom, I rolled up a towel and pushed it against the outside bottom of the door to prevent sewer gas from escaping that room into another part of the house.

Now that the odor was restricted, I headed for the computer and accessed Google. It took me only a few minutes to find several articles that explained how p-traps, vents (those pipes protruding from the top of the house), and a home’s plumbing drains are supposed to work, as well as what sometimes goes wrong to cause drain odors.

Since the sewer gas that invaded my home was due to a dry trap, it's up to me to keep it from happening again. I now ensure there is a water barrier in the p-trap of that little-used shower with some easy weekly maintenance. Every week, I pour a cup of white vinegar down the drain, then turn on the water and let it run for about ten minutes. This method can be used for any drain, not just the one in a shower.

If any plumbing fixture in your home gets infrequent use, try regular "preventive maintenance" by running water or flushing at least weekly to keep all the p-traps working properly. You won't be sorry for the effort to keep nasty sewer gas at bay.

When I first bought this vintage ‘60s house more than a decade ago, major plumbing problems seemed to crop up every few months. For quite some time, I had the phone number of my plumber of choice available to call quickly when emergencies arose. Finally, the big issues were resolved (and please don’t remind me how much money that cost), so visits from the plumber have been rare in recent years. (Knock on wood!) Still, I realize that letting a not-so-large problem go unrepaired often means it morphs into something much worse. All the years of plumbing problems gave me a healthy respect for those brave souls who successfully ply the trade. If a plumber is needed, at least I know a couple of good ones!

Disclaimer: I am not a plumber, building contractor, or expert in either of these fields, only a homeowner who did some research and tried the methods suggested to correct the acute issue and continue to follow it up with preventive maintenance. I hope these suggestions help you get rid of the yucky odor (and potential safety problem) of sewer gas. If they don't, you should call a professional plumber for help. Good luck!

Have you ever had to cope with sewer gas smell?

Has sewer gas ever invaded your home, and, if so, how did you get rid of it?

See results

© 2011 Jaye Denman

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  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 2 months ago from Deep South, USA

    Hokie - It's terrible you're having this problem after just moving into your newly built home. If you’ve checked the usual sources of sewer gas smell (and, as the general contractor of the new build, you should be familiar with the systems), it may be time to call in professional help to track down the odor’s origin. After all, sewer gas can be dangerous and cause illness or even an explosion. A licensed home inspector can use a gas detection instrument, while a plumber can carry out a pressure test of the drain vent system or even send a remote camera through the drains to determine if there is blockage. If they can’t detect the problem, there may be some flaw with the septic tank/system, and you’ll need a septic repair contractor. Any one (or all three) of these pros and their methods are likely to be expensive, but you want your family to be safe and enjoy your new home, so if you still haven’t found the problem, bite the bullet and pick up the phone. Good luck!

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    HokieFamily 2 months ago

    Sorry for the long post but I am out of ideas and really need some guidance. We recently moved in to our newly built home. I am a project manager for a national builder so was the GC for our own home. Thus, I managed the build process from the ground up. We are on a septic system. The day the movers came/we performed the final clean we smelled a very strong gas smell. We initially thought it was a propane leak but have since determined that it is a sewer gas smell. During construction we were in the house on a daily basis and the house was mostly closed up in the last couple of weeks while the painters were working. We never noticed the smell during any point of construction. We went from no smell to very strong concerning smell literally overnight.

    I have checked all of the more obvious possibilities. All of the traps have water in them. Studor vent under the wetbar sink is working. (We even switched it out just in case) we have 2 sewer ejector crocks (one for wetbar, one for basement bath) smell is not noticeably stronger near either one. Lids/foam seal are installed completely. All pipes seem to be sealed tightly including check valves. I have run my nose along every inch of sewer pipe down there and cannot trace the smell to any particular area.

    Please help!?!? Any suggestions are welcome. What could I possibly be missing???

    Thank you in advance!

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 5 months ago from Deep South, USA

    Debgeo - I am not a plumber, and this site only describes "home remedy" tips for eliminating sewer gas emanating from a shower drain (based on my own experience). I am not qualified to offer advice about the problem you suspect is caused by your AC condensation floor drain in your home's basement. However, I did some research and found a site which may answer your question or point you to a solution. It is: http://inspectapedia.com/plumbing/Floor_Drain_Odor... I wish you good luck in correcting this issue and eliminating your basement's sewer smell. Jaye

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    Debgeo 5 months ago

    We noticed a sewer smell coming from what we suspect is the AC condensation floor drain in our basement storage room. What can we do to fix this?

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 7 months ago from Deep South, USA

    JPlunk - What a bummer it is to encounter such a problem in your brand new home! I wish that I could offer a "miracle" suggestion, but I'm not a plumbing expert. Since the builder's moved both the tub and toilet and has even gone so far as to break up the floor looking for a plumbing error, but hasn't found it, you may need to submit a claim under your new home warranty.

    Many home warranties are backed by the builder, while others are purchased from an independent company and are part of your new home package. Usually, defects in the plumbing during construction are covered for at least two years. If I were you, I wouldn't want the builder to keep going with his "trial-and-error" method, which has not been effective.

    Your new home is probably your greatest investment, and you deserve to have everything properly operable and safe--now. With a reputable builder, this should not present a problem. If it does, especially since you've only been in this newly built home for three months, you may need an attorney's assistance as much as you need that of an expert plumbing contractor. Good luck! I hope your builder ensures this issue is diagnosed and corrected right away.

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 7 months ago from Deep South, USA

    KaraOkay - Great news on two levels--first, because you weren't overcome by toxic gas when you started to mix the bowl cleaner with bleach, and then that your "stinky" problem was resolved. It always makes me feel good when I read that these tips helped someone. Thanks for sharing!

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    KaraOkay 7 months ago

    Jaye, you rock! ~Story time~ (no need to respond)

    I have had this smell for months and at first I thought there was a small leak in the pipes exiting the house to the sewer system. I figured it was the after effects of someone going #2.

    It persisted when something (toilet, shower, laundry machine) was used and I thought there was some stinky gunk build-up in a pipe.

    Initially I tried the vinegar and baking soda in the laundry deep sink, like I do every blue moon for the garbage disposal. It helped, but wasn't a cure.

    Then I came across your words.

    I did the thorough vinegar-baking soda-water-bleach-water-mineral oil drops with hours of wait time in between, following your steps exactly, in the deep sink.

    I went to the guest bath and ran water in sink and shower and flushed toilet (and now do this at least weekly). One time I put 2 drops of mineral oil after a water run because I wouldn't be around for a week.

    I poured some water in the drain near the furnace because there hadn't been any condensation run off in months. Added a few drops of mineral oil there also.

    Finally today, I had a 'duh' moment. The powder room next to the laundry room had a busted line at the toilet last year (the line from the water to the tank) and it pseudo flooded the bathroom. I had the water off in that room since then. .....the duh moment was when I realized that usually toilets don't emit that sewer gas...when they are operable! Duh. After cleaning out some construction debris, I poured a half gallon of water in the toilet bowl. Then a small glug of bleach (seriously, just tipped the bottle quick). Then another half gallon of water. I started to hear some water moving and the bowl water went down a little, so I knew it had to flow some to the pipes. Yay.

    **okay, here's my stupid moment (among many). I wanted to clean the toilet while I had water in it so that dirt from construction didn't stay/stain. I grabbed the bowl cleaner and brush and cleaned. Then realized my potential stupidity and read the bowl cleaner label. Do not mix with bleach...yada yada. So I run and grab an empty bottled water from the recycle bin, cut it just so, grab a bucket, cover my mouth and nose, and scoop out as much liquid as possible. Then pour in another gallon or more of water and open a window.

    The good news is that this may work once and for all with the sewer gas/smell. The other good news is that I didn't die from toxic gases when cleaning up. lol

    Thank you (and all the commenters because I read them ALL).

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    Jplunk 7 months ago

    We moved into a new build three months ago. The house has two bathroom, one which has a separate tub and shower. Shortly after moving into the house, I noticed a terrible smell coming from the drain of my claw foot soaker tub. Then I noticed a brown liquid around the drain. I can dry up the liquid, and in 5 minutes it is back again. Also, randomly when draining the tub, the toilet gurgles and bubbles wildly.

    The builder has been back twice to check out the situation. He has removed the toilet both times and snaked it. The last time he came, he removed the tub and busted out the concrete to see if his plumber had installed the correct drain pipe. He also snaked that drain but found nothing.

    I have no odor or liquid in the shower drain in the same bathroom or in the second bath. The only problem is the tub drain. Any suggestions?

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 8 months ago from Deep South, USA

    To Germfree: Please accept my apology for the late response. I suspect that the camera procedure was needed to find your problem. Certain types of tree roots sometimes infiltrate underground plumbing and cause blockage, so sending a camera through the pipes is the only way to diagnose the problem. Then the specific pipes can be cleaned out. (You may want to remove the tree causing the problem. If not, there are products that you can flush through your drains on a regular basis that dissolve young tree roots before they can grow large enough to block the pipes again.) Good luck! Jaye

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 8 months ago from Deep South, USA

    So sorry that I didn't see your comment until today, idcullen, but I hope the DIY tips helped clear up the "rotten egg" smell emanating from your unused shower. If you ran plenty of water after using the baking soda and vinegar, the smell should have been gone by the next day . . . that is, if a dry trap was your only problem. The backup of water while doing laundry points to another possibility (or maybe more--I'm not a plumber). Years ago, the same thing happened at my house while doing laundry on a rainy day and was caused by a blockage in the vent that goes through the roof. Hope all is well, now. Regards, Jaye

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    ldcullen 9 months ago

    Live in a ranch style home, thought I had a clogged bathroom drain as water was slow draining in the tub. After doing a load of laundry I found water had backed up into the shower in the other bathroom shower into the floor and out under the floor in the hall. That shower hasn't been used for probably a year now I have the string rotten egg smell. Its 1:00am so not able to call a plummer. I just tried the baking soda, vinegar and water. How long should it take for the smell to subside if the dry drain is the problem.

  • profile image

    Germfree 10 months ago

    I have sewer gas coming up from my kitchen sink. I have had several plumbers out, and none of them could pinpoint the cause. The last one said that I should get someone out to put a camera down into the pipes. That will cost at least a couple of hundred dollars, with no guarantee of a solution. Any suggestions?

  • profile image

    Zzz3 10 months ago

    Mark or Dmaio,

    I am hoping you can share what you learned on this site - or regarding the issues you were have that you commented on in this article. I have a similar problem with a mysterious sewer smell coming from my toilet. I just replaced the Wax ring -twice - and the toilet flange. I replaced the ring the second time because of the smell. There are no leaks either - but the smell of sewer gas. Originally, the tank spontaneously cracked and leaked on the floor, so I replaced the toilet.

    You guys had similar mysteries - wondered if you resolved it?

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 10 months ago from Deep South, USA

    Thanks, Sydney Plumber! I appreciate the thumbs up! Jaye

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    SydneyPlumber 11 months ago

    For someone who isn't a plumber, you sure do have the knowledge of one! You're doing a great job helping out every homeowner who reads this by simply writing this post. I've been in the plumbing industry for 10+ years at Canterburyplumbingservices.com.au .. And i must say well done.

    Two thumbs up mate!

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 11 months ago from Deep South, USA

    Sometimes when a toilet wax seal is installed, the toilet isn't placed (re-seated) accurately, which allows some sewer gas to escape. If the plumbing was capped when the bathtub was removed, I don't know how it could be related to a new "off" smell unless something came loose inside the wall. I'm not a plumber, of course, so this is a guess on my part. You may need to have a plumber check it out if you aren't a handy DIY-er (or have a friend who is). Good luck getting rid of that smell!

  • profile image

    DeMaio 12 months ago

    Just had a new toilet wax seal installed and the smell started. Should I just replace the new seal? About a year ago, I had a bathtub removed and covered, could that be related?

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 14 months ago from Deep South, USA

    Hi, StinkySinky - I'm so glad some of these tips were helpful to you. Sometimes just wetting the p-trap with water will be enough if that's the only problem. Good luck!

    Jaye

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    stinkysinky 14 months ago

    Hi! This page has really helped me so far. I just moved into a new apartment and after a couple weeks there was suddenly a strong smell in my bathroom of sewer gas. i had been away and not used the shower/tub for a week or so. The smell was coming out of the tub drain, tub faucet and overflow drain. i follewed your steps minus the bleach and mineral oil. The smell is about 80% better. But there was still a faint smell of sewer gas that dissapeared when I plugged the drain and put tape and plastic over the faucet and overflow drain. so i just repeated the protocol minus the bleach and minteral oil hopefully it works!!!

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 15 months ago from Deep South, USA

    Diane - Bleach is best saved for city water and sewer systems, but vinegar and baking soda produce foaming action that help clean and freshen the drain. However, to stop sewer gas from seeping into your home, it's important to (1) make sure the sewer vent isn't stopped up, and (2) pour water down the drain to wet the trap and leave enough water standing to seal it. The short answer to your question is: yes--you can dispense with bleach and use vinegar and soda.

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    Diane 15 months ago

    We have a water well so cannot use Bleach because it kills the good bacteria so I'm told.

    Would the vinegar and soda help without the bleach step?

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 15 months ago from Deep South, USA

    AR - The best thing about living in an apartment building is that the apartment management has responsibility for ensuring that everything in the apartment (other than the tenant's personal property) is both workable and safe. Call your building's maintenance supervisor or the manager and explain about the sewer gas smell. It's up to the apartment ownership/management to troubleshoot anything wrong with plumbing, sewer venting, drains, or any issue that could allow sewer gas into your apartment or others. If there's any hesitancy, be firm and remind the person to whom you speak that sewer gas can cause illness and is also volatile. That should get a maintenance repair person scheduled to track down the trouble soon! Good luck....Jaye

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    AR 15 months ago

    What if you live in an apartment building?

    I occasionally (but frequently enough to be gross) notice a sewer smell in the bathroom. I can't pinpoint if it's the shower drain or the drain on the bathroom floor. I've lived in the apartment for a month now. I don't notice any effects on myself such as headache, and it's not constant, but I'm worried it could be more serious. Any thoughts on this? Thank you in advance.

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 15 months ago from Deep South, USA

    ANDREW - Sorry about the typo (missing "w" at end of your name). I noticed it after a time elapse, so it was too late to edit my original response. Jaye

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 15 months ago from Deep South, USA

    Linda Marie – How long have you noticed the sewer gas odor coming from the toilet? Sometimes when a new toilet is installed or new flooring in a bathroom requires moving an existing toilet, the toilet bowl gasket won’t be sealed properly—not only if it’s a DIY project, but also some rookie plumbers may not get it right. There are several places that allow air to seep through with an improperly sealed gasket (not only air, but sewer gas, water, even vermin), so it’s worth paying an experienced plumber to ensure it’s done (or re-done) correctly. Good luck! Jaye

    Adasha - Oh, my goodness—what a terrible experience! And, as we say in the Deep South, “Bless your heart!” I do hope you’ve completely recovered from weeks of sewer gas inhalation. It can really be dangerous to your health, especially (as you mentioned) when someone has a compromised immune system, and it seems that your liver was working overtime. Sewer gas can also cause fire or an explosion, so I’m very glad your daughter realized what was wrong, you did some fast research, and that you promptly flushed the drains and closed the tanks. Take care…Jaye

    Andre – Thanks so much for joining the discussion and adding another suggestion relative to septic roof vents. Also, thanks for sharing the link. Regards, Jaye

  • Andrew C McGibbon profile image

    Andrew C McGibbon 15 months ago from West Milford, New Jersey

    If the smell is originating outside the house, the odor can be emanating from the septic vent on the roof of your house. If your home is situated against a hill or a line of trees, wind vortexes can be created that bring that odor close to the ground. There is a website, http://IndustrialOdorControl.com that has the Wolverine Brand Activated Carbon Vent Filter that will solve this problem. Remember though, you will need one for each vent on the roof.

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    Adasha Knight 16 months ago

    You just saved my life literally. Living in an RV full time and not knowing about this issue, had my drain tanks open full time to the sewer line. Been steadily getting sicker and sicker until being bedridden after two weeks of not leaving home. Last night my daughter walked in and smelled the smell I was immune to. I read another article and then this one and immediately ran water in all drains and closed my tanks. I hope the damage isn't done and this reverses. I'm dizzy, lethargic, can't think, have fever, hurt all over. I had pre-op labs done this week and they called me that my liver labs were over the top. I assume that's from it trying to filter out the toxins?

    This is very dangerous, especially for people with compromised immune systems.

    Thank you so much for your information and saving my life.

  • profile image

    LindaMarie1221 16 months ago

    I too have dreadful sewer gas smell, but it comes from the toiler, not the sink or the shower. I have not seen any resolutions for the toilet smell. I don't think that they use the same pipe. Help me!

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 16 months ago from Deep South, USA

    Thanks to everyone who's left a comment lately. I'm glad these tips have been helpful to you and appreciate what everyone added to the discussion.

    Jaye

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    Thanks so much! 16 months ago

    Thank you so much, this totally worked! We had the issue in our bathtub...Just a note for the bathtub issues-take off the overflow cap in there and do some of the baking soda/vinegar/water/mineral oil in there as well...

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 17 months ago from Deep South, USA

    Beenthere - It seems very likely that your roof vents are blocked by debris. If you're good at DIY, you can check them yourself; otherwise, it's time for the plumber. Good luck!

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    Beenthere 17 months ago

    Once lived on ground floor of 3 story newer building, complaints of sewer gas to management company ignored so I reported it to Health Dept. This whole process took several weeks. Turned out the pipes in the crawl space below the building were broken and weeks of sewage from all 3 floors were under my apartment!

    Now live in 1 story condo, slow drains for 3 years in both bathrooms, have been doing DIY for 3 years to keep them flowing, now notice sewer gas smell but it is just at edge of building.when i am outside. From reading up, i think air vents on roof are blocking up.

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 19 months ago from Deep South, USA

    Dwight – You didn’t say whether the vanity installation was DIY or whether a plumber did the work. If it was recently performed by a plumber, you should call the pro and report the smell. However, licensed and bonded plumbers are accustomed to meeting building codes, so a plumbing mistake is unlikely.

    Since the smell is only noticeable the first time you turn the water on in the morning, you may have a high concentration of dissolved sulfides (if your water supply is municipal) or hydrogen sulfide gas if you have a well. These gasses rise to the highest point in the supply side of the plumbing, such as the valves of faucets and linger as concentrate. The smell lasts briefly when released and isn’t likely to be at every faucet in the house. Factors affecting the amount of sulfides gathered at any place in your plumbing may include: the way the water line was run; pipe size; and style.

    Your local Chamber of Commerce can likely advise you of an agency that can test a sample of the water from that faucet, probably for free. The test will show if the water contains sulfides and, if so, if the amount is harmless. In the latter instance, you may want to put a filter on that faucet.

    On the other hand, if it’s above the recommended level, you will need professional help. Municipal water treatment plants test water for acceptable levels of all sorts of minerals and other materials. Notify your water department if your sulfide level is over the safe level.

    If you get your water from a well, here’s a link where you can get advice: http://www.wellowner.org/water-quality/hydrogen-su...

    Good luck!

    Jaye

  • dugoutwhirl profile image

    dugoutwhirl 19 months ago from USA

    Thats good..

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 20 months ago from Deep South, USA

    roob - Thanks for adding to the discussion. You're right about bad-smelling water. I once lived in a town that had tea-colored water with a sulfur odor. The municipal water department insisted it was safe and actually healthy (due to minerals, I think), but it did smell bad and stained white clothing in the laundry.

    Regards, Jaye

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    Ruby 20 months ago from United States

    being a plumber if there is a smell what we recommend is taking the drain cover or pop up off plug off then using a hacksaw blade or hanger to get hair that may be trapped & causing the smell. Next if still smells pour bleach down the drain with some baking soda. Remember people, your water also can have a sort of rotten smell to it as well!

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 21 months ago from Deep South, USA

    Vanessa - I'm so glad my tips were helpful to you! It's a pleasure to learn when someone used these DIY suggestions with good results. Regards, Jaye

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The Reminder - Happy to be of help to you in Canada. Sometimes the simple remedies work well. Take care . . . Jaye

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Peter S - I'm delighted my tips got rid of your guest bathroom odor. Regular flushing all the drains should keep the traps wet and non-smelly now. Best wishes, Jaye

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    The Reminder 21 months ago from Canada

    Very good and informative hub. Thanks for the info!

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    klewis0906 23 months ago

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!! I have spent literally thousands of dollars over the years trying to get rid of that smell. Just recently I had my entire sewer line replaced. I was told that was the problem. Cracks in the sewer line. Although the smell temporarily dissapeared, it recently came back with a vengeance. I wanted to cry. I called the gas company this week to see if I had a gas leak. No gas leak. Last year I had DWP come and flush the sewer line from the street. All out of options, I finally googled (which I could kick myself for not doing this first) and found this article. I did the DIY solution yesterday, and I'm happy to find this morning that the smell is gone. Sending a big virtual HUG to you!!!!

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    vanessa wellington 23 months ago

    My plumbing was causing a lot of smell in my kitchen and bathroom. Thank God I came across your post. Life savior!

    --------------------

    http://www.thesischampions.com

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    goingrich 23 months ago

    nice info to share...

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    Jonah Engler 23 months ago from New York, NY

    Never thought of this - will give it a try next this it happens to me :D

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 24 months ago from Deep South, USA

    Monis Mas - You're very welcome! I hope the tips in my article prove helpful to you. Thanks for your comment. Regards,

    Jaye

  • Monis Mas profile image

    Aga 2 years ago

    Thanks for the advice

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Adrian - Thanks for the reminder about PVC (plastic) pipes. After I published this Hub, someone mentioned in the comments section that boiling water poured down the drain might crack a pipe. I asked an engineer about this issue and was advised that PVC (plastic) pipes should not be hurt by a little very hot or just-about-to-boil water. However, PVC pipes don't need regular dousing with water over 175 degrees Fahrenheit (and water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit), or the joints might melt. (He didn’t mention rubber fittings, but I know heat can damage rubber.) Anyone who isn’t certain whether or not a plumbing system includes any PVC pipes, PVC joints, or rubber fittings should not let the water boil. If it's just very hot water (in moderation), it should still do the trick. After all, some people take very hot showers.

    Regards, Jaye

    m - Monthly maintenance of your drains to clean them and prevent clogging is a good idea. Thanks for stopping by and sharing this tip. Jaye

    argdraw - Keeping the trap wet is, as you pointed out, a must to prevent sewer gas. Guest baths are often forgotten for periods of time if no one uses them but occasional visitors. I've developed the habit of running water in my guest bath weekly to keep the traps wet. If you need a reminder to do this, put a note or colored sticker on your calendar to jog your memory until it becomes natural to do it regularly. We certainly don't want sewer gas smell to welcome our house guests, do we?

    Regards, Jaye

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    argdraw 2 years ago from London

    Your method, is a good way to clean the pipes, even clear a minor blockage, but the gas smell, is sewer air coming out of the pipe, because the water has dried out of the trap, running some water, into the trap will refill it, stopping the smell, little used pipework is unlikely to need cleaning just a cup of water.

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    Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

    greatstuff - Thanks for adding to the discussion. I'm glad your cat's "sewer system" got fixed. Regards, Jaye

  • greatstuff profile image

    Mazlan 2 years ago from Malaysia

    Our cat's house has it's own 'sewage system' (I don't use cat litter anymore..used to) and connected to the washing machine drain pipe (that goes to the sewer line). Unfortunately, the plumber didn't add in the so called trap and it gave out the 'cat poo odor smell' :-(

    Now that it is fixed, we can all breathe easier now :-)

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

    peachpurple - Thanks so much. By the way, you are fortunate to have a hubby with DIY abilities in plumbing! Regards, Jaye

    Linda - Thanks for your kind comments and the follow. I'm glad you enjoyed my hub and hope these tips will save you money. Regards, Jaye

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    Linda Robinson 2 years ago from Cicero, New York

    Hi Jaye just wanted to say so nice meeting you, and that I really enjoyed and got so much important information and easy to comprehend and so many outstanding tips do-it-yourself repairs before calling the plumber that will save you hundreds. Great hub. Happy to be following you. Linda

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    peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

    these tips, I gonna bookmark for my hubby, he is the plumber of the house

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Sam - Sorry I missed your comment, and I hope you got the problem corrected. The amount of vinegar and soda doesn't have to be measured; just dump some in from a home-size bottle and box.

    Greenmind: Thanks!

    Alekdo - I don't suggest that anyone try DIY plumbing repairs, only remedies using household products that may work but won't harm the plumbing even if they don't. And...if they don't, it's time to call the plumber.

    Thanks for reading, all....Jaye

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    Aleksey Donets 2 years ago from Cherkassy, Ukraine

    The hub is really helpful, but I think that if a person lacks experience and knowledge in DIY repairs, it is still better to call the plumber! Don't you think so?

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    GreenMind 2 years ago from USA

    Nicely done -- This is a great hub about a great topic -- I love helpful ideas and suggestions like this one. Thanks and well done!

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    Sam 2 years ago

    Hi Jaye, I have a commercial building. there's 2 bathrooms, men and women but the men bathroom is constantly having the sewerage gas smell. I think its coming from the urinal. I called in the plumber and the guy charged me $50 dollars for advice, which is to pour a bottle of bleach down the urinal. It worked temporary but 2 days later the smell came back again. If i use your method, how much vinegar and baking soda along with bleach should i pour?

    Thank you!

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    Gestor TI 2 years ago

    Thanks! Great tip!

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Jana - The heat may worsen the smell, but should not be the cause of it. Your vent to the outside may be stopped up with debris or you may have a dry trap in your plumbing, such as a guest room shower that's not used frequently. Unstopping a vent may not be DIY for everyone, but the dry trap is an easy "fix" using the tips in my article. If that doesn't work, it's time to call the plumber. Good luck...Jaye

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    jana 2 years ago

    Hi i have lived in my house for 2 years and have never had this problem before. Could the temp outside being 110 have anything to do with the sewer smell?

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Thanks for your comment, bnayr. I'm glad your landlord took care of the problem, but now you have some DIY tips for the future. Regards, Jaye

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    Ryan 2 years ago from Manchester

    Thanks for sharing this great guide. I had a recent problem with this, but fortunately my landlord called someone in. At least for the future I'm now well informed. Cheers.

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    Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Cajun - Thanks for the credit and for using a link that takes the reader (and traffic) back to my HubPages article.

    Jaye

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    Kevin Hussey 2 years ago from Baton Rouge LA

    I have shared your article Jaye - but I have given you full credit.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cajun-Maintenance/9...

    See our FB page if you'd like to verify. Thx - KH

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Thanks, Cajun - And I'm confident you aren't going to do like numerous other plumbing professionals and "borrow" my article for your business blog, are you?

    ; ) Best wishes with your Baton Rouge business. I'm from the Deep South myself.

    I have the utmost respect for plumbers and plumbing contractors, and have spent a small fortune using their services since I bought an older house years ago. However, I managed to avoid it with this situation, save a bit, with good results.

    Regards,

    Jaye

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    Kevin Hussey 2 years ago from Baton Rouge LA

    This was a great article - thanks for taking the time to post!!

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Hi, Avery - I'm not a plumber or professional contractor--just a homeowner who found a way to rid my bathroom of sewer gas coming through the shower drain. You may be able to get that information for free simply by phoning a plumbing and plumbing equipment business. Good luck!

  • profile image

    Avery 2 years ago

    I am looking for that low pro-drain for my shower what is the brand name of that one

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Thanks, Cynthia - "Useful" was the word I hoped would be most used for this hub.

    Regards, Jaye

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    Cynthia 2 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

    Well-written, useful hub! I will certainly share this broadly! ~Cynthia

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Thanks, Shyron. I have to "remind" myself to do the same. Blessings and hubs right back to you on this cold and icy Tuesday. Jaye

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    Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

    Jaye, thank you for this very useful information. we have two bath rooms that are seldom used and I need to go make sure they have water in the J-Traps.

    Thank you for the reminder.

    Blessings and Hugs dear friend

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Thanks for your comment, Scott. I only know what worked for my situation. However, simply running water regularly in a shower used infrequently (such as a guest bathroom) will keep the trap from drying out.

    Jaye

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    Scott lyons 2 years ago

    A shower trap holds about two cups of water. That's all you need to pour into a dry trap. No need for bleach, vinegar or baking soda.

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    Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Mark - Your vent pipe may be clogged with debris or even a "critter's" nest if the bad smell is recent. If it's an ongoing problem, the vent pipe may be improperly installed.

    If it's a clog and you're the DIY type (and can safely gain access to the pipe), you may be able to flush out any clog. Otherwise, you will need to call a plumber for the job. You'll also need a plumber if the pipe is improperly installed.

    These are just my opinions, of course. I'm neither a plumber or an expert, but have personally experienced enough plumbing issues living in an older house to both spend a small fortune on plumbers and also learn some simple DIY methods for correcting non-critical problems, such as those described in this article.

    Good luck! Jaye

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    Mark 2 years ago

    Our foul sewer smell is coming out of the bathroom area. We dont suspect its the drains, it smells like its coming from the toilet. I dont think its the wax seal because there is no water around the base of the toilet. Someone told me to check the stink pipe...Any advice?

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    Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

    You're very welcome, Morgan, and I'm glad your landlord finally responded to your request for repair. I hope everything goes well. Thanks for returning with an update. Jaye

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    Morgan 2 years ago

    Jaye,

    Thank you so much for your kind reply. The problem finally got bad enough that we were able to insist the landlord do something about it. A plumber is going to come with a camera and check everything. Our township inspector was here, and his guess is that we have a crack in one of our pipes or a clogged vent. Either way, he said the problem has to be addressed.

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    Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Minh - Terrific! I'm so glad these DIY tips worked for you and your wife. By continuing to use these inexpensive products regularly, your drains should stay free from odor. Thanks for your nice reply. Regards, Jaye

  • profile image

    Minh 2 years ago

    Thanks, Jaye! There was a bad odor that was gradually getting worse in our master bathroom. The bathroom is frequently used but we thought we would try this DIY remedy before calling the plumber. For a couple dollars, why not?

    While the vinegar and baking soda was working in the two sinks and shower drains, I asked my wife if she thought the odor was stronger by the drains or toilet. After reading the comments here, I was hoping to determine if the toilet seal was the problem. She thought the smell was equal in all three places. Darn.

    It was then that we both glanced at the Jacuzzi. Oops, there was a fourth drain! We never use the tub. Your DIY remedy did the trick and the smell disappeared in less than an hour. And now we know how to maintain our drains. Thanks so much!

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Hi, Morgan. I'll preface this by stating that I am neither a plumber or an expert on plumbing and sewer system issues. However, I do have some suggestions that may be helpful.

    You don’t mention whether or not your home is connected to a city sewer system or if you have a septic tank, so I’ll address both situations. Let’s start with the city sewer system scenario. The vent stacks on the roof are more likely to be stopped up in the winter months if the covers are missing (or loose) by falling leaves and other blowing debris that become packed inside the pipes. Small animals may also make nests in the stacks under these circumstances. If you live in a very cold climate, ice can build up on and inside the vent stacks. Painting the stacks black attracts the sun to the dark color and may help prevent ice buildup in the future. Someone needs to climb up on the roof and inspect the vent stacks—both pipes and covers. Actually, this should be done after every winter season ends as well. As a tenant, however, that should not be your responsibility but the property owner’s.

    Now...septic tank systems: Simple preventive maintenance for septic tank systems may include flushing a package of baker’s yeast down the toilet twice a year. However, codes and regulations regarding septic tanks vary in different areas. If a septic tank needs repair work, it should be done by a professional.

    I’ll address your landlord problem last. If you have a lease for the property and pay rent, you have a right to expect that plumbing and other major problems with the property will be corrected very soon after you report them. The tenant-and-landlord laws vary by state, so call your state’s building and health inspectors to find out what can legally be done. Sewer gas isn’t just an annoyance, but is a health and safety issue.

    There may be a number of options legally open to you if your landlord is ignoring your requests to repair the sewer gas leakage: withhold rent payment; have the problem repaired by a plumber and deduct the cost from your rent payment; move and sue the landlord for rent you paid for defective premises and the costs of moving. Whichever option you select, you should inform your landlord in advance via USPS certified letter (requiring a return signature) of the step(s) you intend to take if your request for repair is not honored immediately (say, for example, within three business days). Mentioning in that letter that you already notified your state’s building and health safety inspectors may get his attention! Be sure to keep a photocopy of the letter with your signature as well as the certified receipt and the returned signature form. Good luck. Jaye

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    Morgan 2 years ago

    I came across your article while searching for a solution to my stinky problem. For two or three years now, our house takes on a horrible sewer smell when it gets cold outside. It never happens in the spring or summer; only in the fall and winter when it drops near or below freezing. It usually starts around 3 a.m., but sometimes it will start earlier (it's just after midnight, and it smells right now, which is what prompted me to Google "sewer smell in house"). Our landlord doesn't seem concerned, even though we've complained multiple times (*he* doesn't get woken up at 3 a.m. because the smell is so strong!).

    Do you have any idea what might cause such a smell? We don't have any unused plumbing in our house; we have one bathroom, with a sink and shower that get used daily; a kitchen that's always being used; and a washer and dryer that we use several times per week. So it doesn't seem like "dry trap" is the problem. I can't figure out what would cause this only when it is cold outside, though.

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    Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

    You're very welcome, Charmon. I'm glad an exorcist wasn't necessary! Regards, Jaye

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    Charmon 3 years ago

    Thank you for this instructive and my case timely article. Your DIY first line of approach to remediate the source of these nauseating miasmsas eminating from who-knows-where in my house makes perfect sense - both in terms of what the problem may be and how to go about fixing it myself. Until now, short of calling in an exorcist, I was at a complete loss as to where to start. Again, thank you.

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    Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Hi, Crystal - This is one time I'm not going to suggest using the tips in this article, and that's because you have a lease that undoubtedly provides for maintenance of your town home when needed. That lease protects you as well as the owner of the complex, guaranteeing you a safe and habitable place to live.

    Since you describe the smell as 'musty', I'm concerned that it may be a buildup of mold in the walls due to a plumbing leak or a roof leak that led to standing water, rather than sewer gas. Certain types of mold can present very dangerous health issues, so you should not delay getting something done about it.

    You need to be very assertive in your interaction with the office administrator, communicating not only over the phone, but putting your request in writing and keeping a copy for your records. Mention the possibilities of both mold and sewer gas, and state that you're aware both present serious health hazards and require immediate attention. In addition, both mold and sewer gas could pose major problems for the property--mold by growth and spreading to other units, sewer gas by build-up that could lead to an explosion.

    When you convey the dangers in those terms and mention the potential liability of the property owner, the office administrator should take you seriously and do something immediately. Most maintenance personnel are on call for night-time emergencies. You should insist the situation is an emergency and someone should be there at 11pm to verify the odor. (The odors caused by mold or sewer gas are each distinctive. An experienced maintenance person has probably smelled both and will recognize which is more likely to be the problem.)

    There are regulations about mold removal—requiring a contractor who is certified to do that type of work. This is because mold spores cannot be allowed to escape into the atmosphere where they can spread and cause additional health hazard. Certified mold removal contractors also have equipment that can determine if and where there is water from a leak without tearing out the walls or ceiling.

    Because the responsibilities of landlords vary from state to state, you should consult local codes regarding rental properties in your state and city. This information should be available from your local building or housing authority, as well as local health and fire departments, either by phone or from their websites. Since I'm writing this on a regular workday, you should be able to get this information today so you will know your rights when communicating with the office administrator.

    When a landlord fails to make the necessary repairs or maintenance after receiving a request from a tenant (you), depending upon your state's laws, there may be several options open to you. You may have the right to (1) withhold all rent or put it aside in an escrow account until the repair is made adequately, at which time it will be released to the landlord; (2) pay less rent until the problem is resolved satisfactorily; (3) hire an outside party, such as a licensed plumber, to make the necessary repairs and deduct the cost from your rent payment; (4) if the problem violates state or local building or health codes, contact the local authorities regarding the issue. If their inspectors come to your town home and find the problem, the landlord may be ordered to fix it, plus face a fine for the delay in doing so; or (5) since the problem is pervasive (an ongoing odor that may be caused by a hazardous condition) and disturbs your right as tenant to live in a habitable structure, you may choose to move out of the town home and legally end the lease agreement because the landlord has breached responsibility of the contract.

    If you take this latter course of action (#5), you may want to consider what is called a constructive eviction lawsuit in which you must provide evidence of two things. You must prove that the uninhabitable conditions were a result of the landlord's lack of action to fix the problem and that you left the rental property in a reasonable time. Your evidence of the problem could consist of having two people (witnesses) come to your home during the hours when the odor is evident and give written, notarized statements of that fact. The property owner could face stiff monetary damages for breaking the lease, plus your discomfort from the bad condition leading to emotional and physical stress.

    Just knowing your rights and communicating them clearly (both orally and in writing with a copy saved for your records) to the office administrator should get you a prompt and satisfactory resolution to the problem you're experiencing. Believe me, that person does not want to jeopardize his or her job by ignoring a situation that may cost the employer a lot of money in damages.

    Always be assertive about your rights. That old saying about the squeaky wheel getting the grease is true. I hope you will take action today to get this potentially dangerous problem in your home resolved. Good luck, Crystal.

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    Crystal Y 3 years ago

    Hi, I moved into this townhouse couple months ago. There is a terrible smell rising every night, sometimes 7pm and sometimes 11pm. It's a smell we never smelled before, so musty is what we can describe. I always have to keep the window open and the smell goes away about 9am. It gets worse on rainy days. The layout of the whole place is like: basement - where washer/dryer are, but I don't have them; first floor - kitchen and living room side by side, a 1/2 bathroom in the back; second floor, a full bathroom. Every night, it stinks in the living room. From what you and others describe, I wonder if it's because there is no ventilation and window in that bathroom. If I turn on AC, every room stinks with that smell. Should I go ahead and try your remedy or have the maintenance guy clean the p trap first? The office is pretty much ignoring me because I can't show the smell during the day and I can't get out of the lease.

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Earl - I'm glad you found where the smell was originating. A leaky toilet seal will cause that stinky odor. Fortunately, replacing the seal is a fairly easy DIY repair and not costly either. Thanks for reading and commenting. Regards, Jaye

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    Earl 3 years ago

    My problem turned out yo be a bad seal around the base of the toilet.

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    Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Premila Angeline - I'm so glad the smell is gone and hope it doesn't return. When a house sits vacant for a while with no water running through the drains (including flushing of toilets), sewer gas is often the result. People in charge of rental property don't think about running water in all the drains at least weekly.

    I hope all is well now and you enjoy your new home.

    Regards,

    Jaye

  • Premila Angeline profile image

    Premila Angeline 3 years ago from Wakra, Al Wakrah, Qatar

    Thank you,thank you,thank you so much for this info. We just moved to a new rented house and the smell started after about a week. We have tried everything to mask the smell but nothing worked. Sometimes it seemed to go away, and then it would be back. I found out that it was coming from the back of the toilet bowl. I googled out of desperation and found your article. I used vinegar and baking soda and lots of hot water. I did not use bleach as I didn't have any in the house. I tried it this afternoon. The smell seems to have gone. I pray it does not return tomorrow morning.

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    Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Thank you, ChiLam, for the suggestion. I know that some plastics smell strongly when hot, and an overheated electrical wire can certainly be dangerous.

    Regards, Jaye

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    ChiLam 3 years ago

    When all the searches for plumbing issues fail and you still have this sewer smell after showing or after using the washing machine, check the switches are not overly hot, if so then call an Electrician rather than a Plumber.

    Ask the Electrician to check the switches, wiring etc.

    Some electrical cables uses plastics which exudes a fishes odour when it over-heats as a safety precaution.

    I hope this helps.

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Thank you so much, Janice, for reporting your success. I'm so glad these tips worked for you and got rid of the smell. Regards, Jaye

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    Janice 3 years ago

    I can't believe this worked!! But it did. Thank you! My smells were not extremely stinky but still smelled. This got rid of them amazingly... and made my drains drain faster.

  • JayeWisdom profile image
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    Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Electro - Parts of your comments got cut off, but I think I got the gist that you tried the methods (waiting about 20 minutes between each addition to your drain), and I hope it works long-term for you. Good luck!

    Jaye

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    Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Laurey - Thanks for reading and for your comments. I hope the DIY remedies are helpful to you. Sewer gas not only smells bad, it's bad news for a home and its residents. Regards, Jaye

    Susan - I can understand why your bathroom (with the infrequently used shower) has the sewer gas smell because the trap probably dried out, but the smell in your laundry room is a puzzle. Be sure and run water in your shower every day or so and use the DIY remedies to keep your shower fresh-smelling. If your laundry room continues to smell, it may have something to do with the installation of your new appliances. You may need to have this checked out by a plumber. Good luck! Regards, Jaye

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    Susan 3 years ago

    Have septic, manfg home one story. We have a bathroom we rarely use shower but do use toilet. Laundry room is next to it in hall . Have sewer smell in both. We resealed toilet ( no seal) and ran cleaner in washer and water in shower and put ridx in toilet. Hoping that solves problem . Weve lived here one year and have new frontloading washer and dryer .

  • Laurey Williams profile image

    Laurey Williams 3 years ago

    I have been noticing that I am starting to smell sewer gas in my house a lot lately. Obviously, it's not the most pleasant smell to smell on a daily basis. I'll have to try some of these DIY remedies and see if I can get one to work for me! www.lighthouselandscape.com

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    Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Hi, tirelesstraveler - Thanks for visiting and your kind words. I'll be pleased if you link your hub to mine.

    Regards,

    Jaye

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    Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

    No wonder Billybuc highly recommends you. This is a great hub. Do you mind if I link it to my hub on how to unplug a garbage disposal?

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    Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Harry – First, let me state that I am not a plumber, so I’m not qualified to diagnose plumbing problems or recommend solutions. This article only tells people about easy, inexpensive ways to get rid of sewer gas caused by a dry p-trap and how to keep the trap from drying out in future.

    However, I will tell you what I think about the situation and suggest that you verify it with a professional--a licensed plumbing contractor. From what you state, it appears that your basement shower, if installed without a p-trap, must have been done against construction code--without a permit and inspection, perhaps by a previous owner of the house.

    You should be very wary of any product that claims to replace p-traps. If you live in the United States, construction code requirements do not approve drains without p-traps. All drains must be trapped and vented, even sub-grade drains, or they may be hazardous to the health of the home’s residents.

    Although you may see products advertised as “trap alternatives”, they are not supposed to be used in lieu of a trap, but with a p-trap. These so-called “trap alternatives” can be used for drains that aren’t used a lot so you don’t need to prime the trap to maintain the water seal. (I don't know if they are actually effective at doing this. You can't always believe advertising.)

    You should hire a reputable licensed plumbing contractor to advise you about how to bring your basement shower up to code. If there is no trap-door for access, the floor may need to be opened to install a p-trap or, if there’s not enough room, the base of the shower may need to be raised for proper installation.

    I’m sorry, but there is unlikely to be a “quick fix” for your problem that adheres to code and is safe. You need professional advice about this matter from a licensed plumbing contractor qualified to give it. Again, I am not a plumber, so I am not qualified to advise you about this—only to urge you to be cautious and seek the help of a qualified plumbing professional. The health and safety of your family or anyone who lives in the house may be at risk.

    Good luck with solving this problem!

    Regards, Jaye

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    harry young 3 years ago

    is there any kind of plumming device out there that can take the place of a p trap.....i have a basement level shower with no p trap