Why Does My House Smell Like Sewage?
Your home is your castle. Some would even say your sanctuary. But if your home smells like sewage, can you really relax and feel at ease?
If there is a sewer odor in your house, it is almost always related to a plumbing problem. If it is a clogged pipe or drain, you may be able to fix it easily yourself with a few tools. However, if you have a sewer line break or a broken septic tank, it is in your best interest to call a professional sewage removal company like HRS Restoration Services.
HRS Restoration has received glowing reviews from Denver homeowners for nearly two decades. Our customers love our 24/7 availability and our attention to detail. Our teams are licensed, trained,experienced, and work in accordance with IICRC guidelines. Many disaster restoration companies claim to help with all kinds of sewage related disasters but most are only there to clean up.
Our team, which includes licensed contractors, electricians, and plumbers, can completely eliminate all signs of sewer gas and sewage from your home. When sewer gas becomes an issue, contact us right away to help solve the problem and avoid potential adverse health effects.
What Is Sewer Gas & What Does It Smell Like?
Sewer gas refers to a complex mixture of toxic and nontoxic gases.
What causes sewer gas smell in your house? Sewer gas forms naturally when household waste breaks down. The most toxic components include hydrogen sulfide,and ammonia, but sewer gas also contains methane, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxides.
Sewer gas is particularly noxious and smells terrible. If you are particularly sensitive, it may cause you to throw up. The smell is best described as rotting eggs.
Is Exposure To Sewer Gas Dangerous?
Being exposed to the dangers of sewer gas in your home can be harmful to your health. If you have a pre-existing illness, especially if it affects your respiratory system, you may be more prone to becoming sick.
For the most part, minimal exposure won’t result in negative health consequences. However, if you are predisposed, or already sick, or exposed to sewer gas for a long period of time, you may experience uncomfortable and stomach turning symptoms such as:
- Poor Concentration
Causes Of Sewer Gas Smell In Your Home
If you’ve ever wondered, “Why does my house smell like a sewer?” we’re going to cover a few common causes below. The sewage odor could be a build up of biofilm, a dry P-trap, a loose toilet, or simply a clogged drain.
The issue may be outside your bathroom and inside your vent pipes or your water heater or could even be due to a chemical in your hot water. Finally, sewer leaks and loose pipes, undetected and lying deep below the surface may be the source of the smell.
Below we discuss each cause in more detail.
Every product you use in the shower can potentially leave behind a film or buildup of stinky biofilm.
If this happens,you can pour water boiled and cooled to 150 degrees down the drain, chase it with vinegar and baking soda and repeat another dose of hot water two hours later.
If your P-trap has dried out from not being used enough, make sure to run some water down your shower drain or flush your toilet at least 1-2 times a week. Doing so will replenish a dried out P trap.
If your toilet is not completely flush, sewer gas smells can easily leak out. Make sure the wax seal around the toilet’s base is intact. If not, you will need to remove the toilet and remove and replace the ring. You may also be able to tighten the bolts connecting the toilet to the floor.
A clogged drain is a common cause of sewer gas smell. Clean out your drains before it becomes a problem by using a drain snake and hot water. Use liquid drain cleaners sparingly.
Clogged Vent Pipes
To clear out clogged vent pipes, you’ll need to access it from your roof. If it’s too steep or slippery due to weather, call a professional. Have someone inside flush the toilet while you hold your hand over the vent. If you don’t feel suction, the line is blocked. You can use a plumber’s snake to unclog the stoppage. You may also use a garden hose to flush out remaining debris. Then, you’ll want to repeat the flushing to see if you now feel suction.
Bacteria In Water Heater
You may be able to solve the problem of odor causing bacteria in your water heater by turning up the temperature to 160 degrees. Do this for a short time period and ensure no one uses the hot water at this time.
Hydrogen Sulfide In Water
You may need to have your water tested to know if it contains hydrogen sulfide.
A sewer leak is a problem best handled by a professional sewage cleanup and removal company. They have the cameras and tools to access your pipes deep underground. These pipes may have cracked or have become punctured by nearby tree roots.
The only way to know for sure if you have a sewer leak is to access your sewer line, which is a significant undertaking. If you utilize a sewer scope, you’ll be able to see what you’re getting into before you get in too deep.
Loose Pipe Connections
If your pipes are loose or cracked, sewer gas has a pathway into your home. With most pipes hidden inside your walls or ceilings, it is best to leave the investigation up to a professional sewage cleanup and removal company. HRS Restoration Services employs licensed contractors and plumbers who can get to the root of the problem.
How To Remove Sewer Gas Odors From Your Home
To remove sewer gas smell, begin with your drains and P or S-traps, also called the water trap. These are located near floor drains and underneath sinks and toilets. If these drains don’t have water regularly flowing through, they become dried out and the smell of sewer gas will become overwhelming.
To fix, pour water down the drain or toilet and replenish the dried out water trap.
The sewage smell in your house could also be due to your drains being clogged. When the raw sewage smell can’t escape your drains and is pushed back into your house. Since sewer gas can make you sick, you’ll need to clear the drain.
Common tools used to do this include a drain snake, plunger or hot water.
How To Prevent Sewer Gas From Getting Into Your Home
Instead of worrying, can sewer gas make you sick?, why not do everything you can to avoid having to inhale it in the first place? Below, we discuss various steps you can take to prevent sewer gas from getting into your home.
We begin with how to remove clogs from drains, pipes and toilets. Next, we move on to how to fix pesky leaks in your plumbing. Then we’ll tackle replacing and resealing your toilet. Finally, the source of a sewer gas smell could be from your water heater so you’ll want to give it some extra attention.
If you see or hear your toilet bubbling, or your water is backing up in your sink, tub or toilet, the cause is most likely a clog. Even when water is slow to drain or you detect an unpleasant odor, these are signs of a clog.
To remove a clog, use a combination of a plunger, a liquid drain cleaner or vinegar and hot water. A drain snake from your local hardware store is also helpful.
If your pipe is leaking, there are various ways you can go about fixing it. First, you can try tightening a loose coupling nut connecting the pipes. If that doesn’t work, you can also use Plumber’s tape as an effective sealant to provide emergency relief.
Note that it is a temporary fix and you’ll need to invest more time and effort later. You can also patch the leak and clamp it or use pipe putty.
No matter which option you choose, remember to shut off your home’s main water valve and drain water from the place where you are performing the fix.
Replace / Reseal Toilets
If your toilet is not completely sealed to the floor, the smell of sewer gas can leak into your bathroom and the rest of your home.
To fix the problem you can remove and replace the seal underneath the toilet yourself. First, disconnect the tank hose. Next, detach the hose that connects the bowl to the tank and remove the bolts on the base of the toilet.
You will need to remove the toilet to make room to reseal. The next step is removal of the old or damaged wax seal using a putty knife. You will also need to unscrew the flange bolts and check for cracks, reconnect the toilet, tighten and reconnect the pipes.
Service Water Heater
Your water heater is a workhorse that doesn’t get a lot of credit or attention. Sediment and unpleasant odors in your hot water are a tip off that something is amiss.
If you have sediment in your hot water, flush your water heater tank annually to remove sediment buildup and lengthen the life of your heater.
If it’s your hot water that smells terrible, the source may be a degraded water heater’s anode. If the anode tube inside looks degraded or damaged, replace it with an anode made of zinc. Or, you may want to raise your water heater’s temperature to 160 degrees for a few hours to kill the odor causing bacteria before flushing the system.
When To Call A Professional
While homeowners may be able to repair minor leaks and clogs themselves with a few tools and elbow grease, hiring a professional sewage removal company like HRS is the best call when you have a collapsed sewer line or an uncontrollable situation involving sewage.
Your insurance company may assist in the cost of cleanup. Also, if the contaminated area is too large and the spill happened 24 or more hours ago, your DIY efforts may fall short.
The situation is even more complicated if your HVAC system has been contaminated or you and the building’s occupants are already at risk due to pre-existing conditions.
Why Choose HRS Restoration Services
HRS Restoration Services is top rated for Denver sewage cleanup and removal. We’ve been helping homeowners and businesses remove sewer gas smell and its causes for nearly two decades. We’re dedicated to customer satisfaction so let us show you we’ve earned our online accolades.
When HRS arrives we will quickly begin our three part sewage cleanup and removal process. The first step involves stopping the breach if the sewage tainted water is still flowing or could flow or leak into the premises.
The next steps involve removing water and waste from the affected area. The last step is cleaning all surfaces and disinfecting, sanitizing and drying all areas affected by wastewater.
Below we discuss each of these steps in greater detail.
Stopping The Breach
Before cleanup can begin, you must first stop the source of the sewage leak or backup, as doing so will help you contain the spread of sewage and prevent any further exposure to the building’s occupants.
You may need to plunge your toilets or drains and turn off running water that connects to the drain system. If the sewage or wastewater is coming from a burst plumbing supply or hot water heating pipe, turn off the main water valve.
You may also need to patch any areas where the affected wastewater is leaking from pipes to minimize the amount of sewage affected water inside your home or office. You can also open windows and doors as the increased air flow and sunlight will slow the growth of mold and mildew.
Removing Water & Waste In The Affected Area
Remove standing water using buckets, mops, sponges, or a shop vac. This vacuum will need to be thoroughly disinfected or discarded after it is used.
A professional disaster restoration company, like HRS, has commercial grade vacuums and fans to aid in this step.
Remove sewage contaminated items as soon as you have removed the sewage tainted water and dispose of them. If the items are porous,like carpet, drapes, and fabric furniture, the chances you can completely remove the noxious chemicals from it areslim.
Dispose of items, where cleaning, even if it is technically possible, is not cost-effective. If it costs more to clean than replace, it is not worth the money or the time to fix. All discarded items should be placed in heavy duty trash bags or double bagged to ensure leaks don’t happen.
Cleanup & Restoration
After items have been removed, it is time to begin the cleaning process. Wash the contaminated surfaces with a cleaning solution before disinfecting and sanitizing. Bleach should be used to disinfect.
Dry the affected area as rapidly as possible using fans and dehumidifiers. Alternatively, you can open windows if a dehumidifier is not available.
Contact HRS Restoration Services Today!
HRS Restoration Services is trusted and vetted to remove sewer gas and its causes from your home or business. Our team members are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to protect your health and safety. Call us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.
IICRC stands for the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. Formed nearly 40 years ago, it is a non-profit organization that establishes globally recognized standards for the cleaning and restoration industry, as well as providing certifications, journeyman and master designation, and education.
By choosing a firm with IICRC certified team members, you are assured the cleaning professionals have undergone rigorous training and will handle your disaster restoration with the highest standard of care.
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