You like to keep an immaculate house. Everyone knows that about you because of the time you put into hygiene matters. Some of the areas that get your daily attention are the kitchen and bathroom.
But, suddenly, you start to notice a sewer smell in bathroom. No one wants to live in a house with an unpleasant odor. No matter how much air freshener you use, it will not mask the issue. Indeed, the use of deodorants will only give short-term relief.
You may also not know that gaseous sewage can have severe health impacts. What you are exposing yourself to is a mixture of carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and methane. Hydrogen sulfide is responsible for the smell that is common with rotten eggs.
Long-term exposure could lead to respiratory issues and organ damage. You may experience nausea, headaches, vomiting and dizziness. Others are shortness of breath, coughing, loss of memory and fatigue.
Why Does Your Bathroom Smell Like Sewage?
We sought the advice of Hoffmannbro’s sewer services to get the reason for the smelly drains. Having been in the business for some time, they have come across various reasons. You see, the cause of the sewer smell in the house could range from very simple to more serious problems. This will determine the action you can take to fix the issue.
One of the first things you need to do is identify the exact source of the smell. The best tool for this is your nose, so get sniffing. It could be coming from the shower drains, sink drains, or toilets.
You can also identify problem areas using your eyes. Slow drainage would be an indicator of clogged pipes. Constant wet areas near the toilet could mean there is damage to the wax seal.
The next step is to answer the question, why does my bathroom smell like sewage? We will also share some quick fix tips and how to get rid of smelly drains in the bathroom.
1. Septic System Failure
Let’s get the most severe reason for smelly drains out of the way first. A septic system failure is a big issue that requires professional resolution. Home owners without connection to the municipality sewerage system must install septic systems in their homes.
The installation experts will look at the number of people in the home to determine how much waste water they generate. This is critical because it will determine the size of the drainage tank. Part of the routine maintenance entails inspection and pump outs every 3-5 years, depending on usage.
Failure to take good care of the septic system could result in overloading and eventual collapse of the whole system. The drainage tank will not have the capacity to handle wastewater from the household.
There may also be clogging of the pipes that will further impact the system’s efficiency. Sinks and shower drains will not work. When you try to flush the toilet, it will all come back.
The fix to septic system failure is to let the experts handle it. They will check the pipes and do the necessary repairs. They may also recommend a total pump out and thorough cleaning if the tank is full.
2. Backflows Due To Surface Runoff
If you use the city sewer system, you may notice a problem when it rains. Surface runoff may put serious pressure on the system. In the end, there may be a backflow into the lines servicing individual homes. That forces the sewage back into your home. Other than the smell, you will have drainage issues and toilet backups.
If you are lucky, there may be no backup. But you can bet the bathroom will smell like sewage. The sad news is that there may not be too much you can do about it until the municipality handles the problem.
Going forward, get a plumber to put in a backflow valve in the sewer lines. It provides an effective way to prevent sewer backup due to excess surface runoff.
3. Damage to Sewer Pipes Due to Invasive Tree Roots
The installation company may recommend removing some trees when laying down sewer pipes. Some of them have very invasive roots that go deep and far, searching for water. A casual internet search will show you plants to have or to avoid near the sewage pipes.
It would be hard to imagine how much damage the fibrous roots can cause such as smelly shower drains. Yet the aggressive search for water means they can find entry into the pipe or even cause them to crack.
You will have to contend with low flow rates in the drains. As the situation worsens, you will have complete blockage.
The only fix to this issue is to get rid of the tree or move the pipes. For the former, do find out what the process entails from the municipal council. You may require special permits before you can do this. After that, you will need a professional plumber to repair the sewer pipes.
4. Clogging in the Drains
It is important to be mindful of what goes down your drainage pipes. Any solids in your pipes will end up clogging the system.
It is quite interesting what the plumber will unearth when it reaches critical levels. Such include balls of hair, Q-tips, entire rolls of tissue, pieces of clothing and much more.
Waste in the pipes will decompose and result in a sewer gas smell in the bathroom. A quick fix you can try is to use a plunger. You can also use some pantry items to dissolve the buildup if that doesn’t work.
A mixture of hot water, baking soda and vinegar may work. It also helps to get rid of the unpleasant sewage smell. The other option is to buy a commercial sewage odor neutralizer.
Clogging in the pipes could also be why your washing machine smells like sewage. The machine pump provides a route for the gaseous sewage fumes to get into your bathroom. Call the plumber to clear the drain pipe if the smell persists.
5. A Dry P-Trap
Take a minute and look under your sink. Do you see that U-shaped pipe? Well, in plumbing language, that is a P-Trap. It traps water underneath the drain and prevents the sewage gas from seeping into the bathroom.
But, the P-Trap must always have some water in it. When it gets dry, the gas will have free movement. It will eventually escape into the atmosphere, in this case, your bathroom resulting in a rank sewage odor.
You will notice this problem a lot when you do not use the sink or drainage for some time. You will be happy to learn that this fix is pretty simple. All you need to do is run some water for about a minute. Use the vinegar baking soda mixture to get rid of any lingering smell.
6. Sewage Smell from Toilet Damage
Your toilet experiences normal wear and tear due to usage. Over time the wax sealing at the toilet base may loosen or crack. This gives the smelly sewage gas room to escape into the surroundings.
The smell could also be due to urine or other waste matter getting into the crevices. Over time, bacteria will grow, resulting in a foul smell.
Other issues could result from improper installation of the pipes or cut vents. We would recommend that you let the experts do this type of repair for you. This is especially critical for larger issues like improper installation. For the wax sealing, you can take care of the issues if you don’t mind some DIY. Applying a caulk to seal the cracks should take care of the issue.
7. Bacterial Attack
We have to share the ecosystem with so many other living creatures. Bacteria, for example, are helpful in the sewage system. They are, for the most part, responsible for the breakdown of waste matter in the septic tank.
But, the bacteria may not confine itself to the septic tank. They may find their way through the pipes, right into your bathroom. We don’t mean to scare you, but that is why you must keep up with cleaning.
One place that provides the perfect breeding ground is under the toilet bowl. It won’t be long before you notice a very unpleasant odor in your bathroom.
The simplest solution at hand is to use bleach. Keep up with the cleaning and add a little bleach to the water bowl as well.
It is essential to take good care of your sewage system. Routine inspection and repairs should be part of the maintenance work. If you notice a sewage smell in the home, it will indicate a problem that needs urgent attention.
As we have highlighted above, some of the problems are pretty easy to fix. Running water through the drains to fix the P-trap issue is one example.
But, what about more significant issues like a septic system failure? In such a case, you may want to consider letting the experts do the work for you. That is, of course, unless you have the relevant experience. You get a long-term, lasting solution to never have to deal with sewage smells in the bathroom, kitchen or basement ever again.