How To Get Rid Of Sewer Gas Smells In Your House

Getting rid of sewage odors in your home starts with the easier to detect causes. 

The first place to check is the water trap, sometimes called a P-trap or S-trap.  They can be located near floor drains and underneath sinks and toilets. If the sink or toilet has not been used for a while,  it may become dried out. Pour water down the drain or toilet to refresh the dried out water trap to fix the problem. 

Similarly, if a drain is clogged, sewage smells can’t escape and are pushed back into your house.  To fix, you’ll want to clear the drain with a tool called a drain or pipe snake and boiling water.

However, if you have a major sewer leak in your home, you should contact a professional with the proper equipment and training to protect you and your family’s health. At the first signs of a sewage leak, call HRS Restoration Services for sewer cleanup in Denver

Our dedicated, responsive team of professionals have the right equipment to quickly and expertly fix the problem causing the sewer gas leak. HRS experts are experienced in getting rid of sewage gas smell. Our two decades of experience and glowing customer reviews are a testament to the fact we solve sewer gas problems for homeowners in a safe and efficient manner. 

Call us ASAP to schedule an appointment today!

What Is Sewer Gas?

Sewer gas is made up of a complex blend of toxic and nontoxic gases. When household and industrial waste breaks down, sewer gas results. The most toxic components of sewer gas are hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, but it also contains methane, and carbon dioxide.

Hydrogen Sulfide

Hydrogen sulfide emits a “rotten egg” smell and is highly flammable and toxic. National Institute of Health studies show hydrogen sulfide is dangerous to the oxygen system, and in high amounts, can lead to adverse health symptoms, organ damage, or even death.


Most people are familiar with the smell of ammonia from glass cleaning products. Ammonia is a colorless, pungent gas that, although effective as a cleaner, can lead to health issues and can be toxic when released in large amounts. 

Common household sources of ammonia include household cleaners, refrigeration units, and fertilizers. 


Methane is largely responsible for the bad smell of sewer gas. Methane is the result of organic matter decaying or rotting. If too much methane builds up and combines with ammonia, there is a risk of an explosion or asphyxiation.

Carbon Dioxide 

In high concentrations, carbon dioxide can result in a lack of oxygen in the blood, leading to serious health effects and, if untreated, death. 

Normally, sewer gas doesn’t produce enough carbon dioxide to be dangerous, but if you have a large sewer gas leak, the amount of carbon dioxide released can reach dangerous levels.  

Is Sewer Gas Dangerous?

Our customers want to know, can sewer gas make you sick? The answer is yes, symptoms of sewer gas exposure include red, irritated eyes, coughing, nausea, shortness of breath, headaches, irritability, memory issues, or dizziness. 

If someone has a pre-existing health condition, even minor sewer gas exposure could result in a serious health issue. In high concentrations, sewer gas may lead to loss of consciousness, respiratory distress, coma, or even death. 

What Causes Sewer Gas Smells? 

There are a few main reasons why you may smell sewer gas in your home. If your pipes or vents are improperly sealed or placed, sewer gas can escape back into your home. Over time and under pressure, your pipes may crack and leak sewer gas as well. 

Or, if your air vents become blocked with dirt, debris, or other items, sewer gas can not make its way through vents to the outside and it becomes trapped indoors. 

When drains are clogged, sewer gas has no pathway to escape and the smell of sewer gas can become overwhelming. Also, infrequent use of toilets and sinks can result in a dry water trap where sewer gas builds up. Finally, if your toilet isn’t tightly fitted, the result may be sewer gas leaking back into your home instead of away through your pipes. 


There are various reasons your pipes may leak. One cause can be a sudden temperature change inside your pipes. Going from hot to cold causes expansion of the pipe and the resulting pressure can result in a leak. Other reasons for a leak include tree roots growing into your pipes, excess water pressure, and pipes that have corroded over time. One clue that your pipes are leaking is an unusually expensive water bill. Another way is to use a water pressure gauge on your home’s outdoor water spigot. 


Cracked Pipes

Many of the same causes of a pipe leak can also lead to cracked pipes. A pipe can crack when exposed to outside temperature changes and the pipe is not insulated, either by being inside a wall or floor, or lacking any additional insulation. While one tip off to a cracked pipe could be a higher than normal water bill, other signs can include a sewer gas smell escaping from your pipes. 

Blocked Air Vents

An indication that your air vents may be blocked is temperature variation from room to room. Also, keep an eye on your heating and cooling bill. If your air vents are blocked, the entire HVAC system has to work harder to keep your home’s temperature consistent. 

Your air vents remove gas and odors coming from the plumbing system and allow fresh air in, so if it’s blocked by leaves, debris, or even rodent nests, sewer gas becomes trapped. 

Clogged Drains

Hair is not the only reason for clogged pipes. Soap scum, supposedly flushable wipes, paper towels, napkins, feminine products, even coffee grounds and cooking oils can clog drains. 

When your drain is clogged, running water and sewer gas has nowhere to go but back to the source and unfortunately, back into your home. 

Dry Plumbing

If there are sinks and toilets that are not used on a regular basis, their water traps can dry out, thus losing their buffer between the sewer gas in your pipes and smelling the noxious gas inside your home. Often this is an easy fix of flushing extra water down your drain or toilet to replenish the water trap. 

Loose Toilets

Toilets must be completely and tightly fitted to the sewer line. If the toilet is not properly connected, or if construction or renovation knocks it out of line, sewer gas can leak into your bathroom. 

How To Remove & Prevent Sewage Smells

If you’re feeling industrious, there are many steps you can take to prevent and remove sewer smells. You may need to clean out your sink overflow, check the seal on your toilet, or caulk the base of your toilet. 

If you regularly inspect and clean out your drains, you can stay on top of bacteria growth. Furthermore, keeping an eye on your garbage disposal and making sure it’s in working order will go a long way. 

Once sewer gas smell is noticeable, there are few easy things you can do to eliminate it from your home. First, open up all your windows to bring fresh outside air in and keep the affected air moving. Next, use vinegar and baking soda to absorb noxious smells. Baking soda works best on soft fabrics while vinegar can be sprayed on surfaces to absorb odor. 

To neutralize the noxious smell of sewer gas, use charcoal in bowls and scented odor eliminators. 

Clean The Sink Overflow

A sink overflow is a hole located either underneath or across from the faucet. It can be a major source of sewer gas smell in the sink. 

It’s where bacteria, soap scum, and hair can accumulate and produce  foul smells. If you have hard water, mineral buildup can also prevent the overflow from draining correctly.

Because it’s easily overlooked, the sink overflow usually doesn’t get cleaned regularly. To clean your sink overflow, you can use a small bottle brush to clean out the hole and wipe away any buildup. Or, you can mix a solution of half chlorine bleach and half water to clear out any grime easily.

Check Toilet Wax Ring

If your toilet’s wax seal ring is damaged, sewer gas can seep through and result in a terrible odor. A telltale sign is water around the base of the toilet. You can replace the wax ring yourself but it is a relatively difficult process. You’ll need to drain out all the water, disconnect the water line and then remove any old caulk from around the toilet base with a utility knife or other caulk removal tool. 

Next, you’ll clear away debris using a general bathroom cleaner and a clean cloth. Finally, use a caulk gun and squeeze the tube at a 45-degree angle to place the caulk between the toilet and the floor. 

After that, use your finger or a caulk finishing tool to remove excess caulk and deepen the seal. Then you’ll need to install the new toilet wax ring, tighten the bolts back on and flush to see if there is any leakage. 

Clean Out Bacterial Growth In Drains

Using a combination of baking soda and vinegar, you can clean drains naturally. Add one cup of baking soda to the clogged toilet or slow drain and wait a few minutes for it to work its magic. Follow this step with two cups of vinegar. 

You may hear a bubbling and sizzling sound. Wait another couple of minutes before either flushing the toilet, or running hot water down the drain. If you still notice a smell, repeat the steps. 

Also, don’t run straight to the store for commercial drain cleaners. These harsh cleaners can do more harm than good and we’ve seen the after effects close up. 
Instead, use an enzyme-based cleaner. Enzyme-based cleaners use good bacteria cultures and concentrated enzymes to naturally eat away at the organic matter clogging your pipes.

Inspect Garbage Disposal

Unfortunately, garbage disposals are an open pathway to bad smells and need regular attention. Add regular doses of citrus like lemon, lime, or orange peels and run it for a few moments with hot water. Baking soda can also work wonders on a smelly garbage disposal. 

Open All Windows

The easiest way to move smelly sewer gas out of your home is to open as many windows as possible to keep fresh outside air circulating, and stale indoor air moving. 

This will work as a temporary fix, but should be combined with other methods to neutralize or eliminate the smell of sewer gas. Also, note that opening the windows is not the best solution when it’s unbearably cold in Denver. 

Spray With Vinegar

Vinegar is primarily made up of acetic acid that easily bonds with volatile molecules.  This makes vinegar an effective spray solution for bad smells. Vinegar’s smell neutralizes when it combines with other elements, so you won’t smell a strong vinegar smell once it finds something to bond to. 

Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is a powerful odor absorber, so it’s no surprise that almost everyone has a few boxes of it in their refrigerator or pantry. Most smells are acidic, and baking soda works as a pH neutralizer, meaning that when it is added to smelly carpet or a garbage disposal, it will quickly work to absorb noxious smells. 

Use Bowls Of Charcoal

Charcoal has the ability to filter the air in your home. Activated charcoal can remove volatile organic compounds (VOC), remove odors, and help control humidity (by removing excess moisture from the air). Charcoal packs a triple punch while helping control the smell of sewer gas in your home. 

Use Scented Odor Eliminators

Look for products with the term “odor eliminator” and use them on surfaces and in the air. Don’t confuse an odor eliminator with a fragrant spray that masks odors with another strong scent like flowers. Odor eliminators are typically odor free and work to neutralize the chemical components of whatever causes the smell, not just cover them up. 


When To Hire A Professional

If the source of the sewer gas smell in your home is caused by a loose seal or a clogged pipe and you’re able to reseal or remove the clog, there’s no need to hire a professional. However, when you cannot determine the source of the sewer gas smell, or pipe repair is necessary, it is time to call a professional team like HRS Restoration Services. The source of your sewer gas smell could be due to sources outside of the home, like a tree root obstruction that ruptured your pipes. To determine if this is the cause, HRS can perform a professional video drain inspection. 


Why Choose HRS Restoration Services

HRS Restoration Services are Denver odor removal specialists. We have the know-how to eliminate sewer gas smells and have been helping homeowners for two decades. 

Our team of professionals, including plumbers and general contractors, work quickly to find the source and eliminate the smell of sewer gas.  We know how to get rid of sewer smell in houses, whether the cause of your sewer gas problems lies deep below the surface, or deep within your drain, we can help!

Contact HRS Restoration Services Today!

Call HRS Restoration Services as soon as you smell sewer gas. The sooner we can come out, find the cause, and fix the problem, the sooner your home will be safe and sewer gas free.

Call us today to schedule an appointment time. 


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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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