What Is Sewer Gas & What Does It Smell Like?

You may be wondering what type of gas is sewer gas? Or perhaps, what is sewer gas made of? 

Sewer gas is a toxic soup of various gasses, such as hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, methane, and carbon dioxide. These gasses form when household and industrial wastes break down, and when large amounts are inhaled, can cause serious adverse health effects.

Indeed, exposure to sewer gas through inhalation can lead to nausea, vomiting, headaches, and more. Sewer gas exposure can affect some groups more than others and must be addressed ASAP.

We hope you don’t have to wonder, “What does sewage smell like?” and that it is an issue that never affects you. However, if your plumbing backs up and flows into, instead of away from, your home, you risk exposure to sewer gas. 

At the first whiff, consider calling a professional with the proper equipment to remove sewer gas smell from your home. Call HRS for rapid response around the clock. 

What Does Sewer Gas Smell Like? 

What does sewer gas smell like in a house? Sewer gas gives off a sulfur smelling scent that may cause you to feel nauseous.Sewer gas is an unmistakable smell found in bathrooms and kitchens, and is similar to that of rotting food.

What Causes Sewer Smell? 

There are a few main causes of sewer gas in your home. If your pipes or vents are improperly sealed or placed, sewer gas can leak in. If you have signs of a collapsed sewer line, you may notice a sewer gas smell.

If your drains become clogged, sewer gas has no way out and a sewer gas stench will creep into your home.  If toilets and sinks are not regularly used, their P or S-traps dry out and let sewer gas odors back into your home. Finally, if your toilet isn’t flush with the floor, sewer gas leaks back inside instead of away through your pipes.

Collapsed Sewer Line

Signs of a collapsed sewer line may include frequent clogs in multiple household drains. If you detect the smell of sewage in your house, that is another sign that you may have a collapsed sewer line. 

Clogged Drains

An extremely common problem, a clogged drain can lead you to wonder, “What is that sewer gas smell?” It doesn’t take much to clog a drain so be prepared with liquid drain cleaner, a drain snake, and hot water and vinegar. All of these items can help clear a drain clog. 

Blocked Air Vents

The air from your bathrooms is vented up and away from your home. If this vent is blocked and suction is not occurring, the sewage smell will end up back inside the room it originally came from.

Leaking Pipes

You may not know your pipes are leaking unless you see a pool of water or hear your pipes dripping. Leaky pipes may happen when pipes corrode or if a pipe is punctured by something. Pipes can be patched or covered using sleeves and tape.  

Excess Biofilm

Biofilm describes the substance that accumulates in your drains from the use of bath, beauty, and cleaning products. The various chemicals and compounds in these items don’t always flow seamlessly through your drain. They can build up, harden, and attach themselves to bits of soap and hair. 

Loose Toilets

A toilet needs to be attached completely flush to the bathroom floor. If the bolts have become loose, or the toilet wax seal has lost its suction, you may smell sewer gas inside your bathroom. A loose toilet needs to be reattached and wax seals need to be replaced. 

A Dry Or Damaged Traps

If your sinks or toilets go through a period of non use, the water in the P or S-trap may evaporate. The water barrier that prevents exposure to sewer gas is now gone so you will quickly smell sewer gas. It may only take a few days for a P or S-trap to dry out, and happens far more often in sinks or toilets that are rarely used.

Is Exposure To Sewer Gas Dangerous? 

Can sewer gas make you sick? Exposure to sewer gas can have many negative health effects. Signs or symptoms of sewer gas exposure may include tiredness, irritated eyes, coughing, nausea, shortness of breath, headaches, irritability, memory issues, or dizziness. 

With higher concentrations of sewer gas, the health effects can be severe and may include loss of consciousness, respiratory distress, coma, or even death. 

Additionally, if someone already has a respiratory illness, even minor exposures to  sewer gas can cause a serious health issue. If your sewer gas poisoning symptoms are minor, you may not need to see a physician, but if the issue causing sewer gas to leak into your home is not resolved, you may continue to experience these symptoms. 

How To Remove The Smell Of Sewer Gas From Your Home

There are many steps you can take to prevent and remove sewer gas. You may need to clean out your sink overflow, inspect the wax toilet seal, or reattach your toilet’s bolts. 

Regularly cleaning out your drains can keep you ahead of bacteria growth, and regular cleaning of your garbage disposal will help keep the smell at bay. 

Once the sewer gas smell is present, open up all your windows to bring in fresh air and keep smelly 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. 

When To Call A Professional

The source of your sewer gas smell could be due to tree root obstruction that ruptured your pipes. To determine if this is the cause, HRS Restoration Services can perform a professional video drain inspection. 

If the source of the sewer gas smell in your home is caused by a loose seal or a clogged pipe, you can likely fix these issues on your own. But, if you can’t determine the source of the sewer gas smell, or if plumbing repairs are needed, call a professional like HRS Restoration Services. 

Why Choose HRS Restoration Services

HRS Restoration Services are specialists in Denver sewage cleanup and removal. We understand sewer gas smells and its causes.

Our team has eliminated sewer gas situations for two decades. HRS employs plumbers and general contractors who work quickly to find the source of sewer gas smells and rid your home of this noxious odor. 

No matter the cause, or the time of day, we’ll arrive quickly to contain the situation.

Our Process

HRS implements the following sewage cleanup and removal process. First, we stop the breach in your sewer line. Then,  we extract moisture and water and any waste. Finally, we clean and restore the sewage affected area. Here’s how we do it:

Stopping The Breach

A breach in your sewer line is serious and affects your entire home.  You can usually spot a sewer breach because the disgusting smell comes from all of your sinks. If the breach occurs in pipes bringing in fresh water into your home, shut off the main water valve. 

Removing Water & Waste In The Affected Area

Water extraction prevents more severe structural damage, but also speeds up the drying process and minimizes the risk of mold growth and secondary water damage.

The first step is to remove standing water with the help of truck mounted suction pumps and commercial grade wet/dry vacuums as well as powerful submersible pumps.

Cleanup & Restoration

HRS performs cleanup and restoration duties such as removing and replacing damaged flooring, drywall, and other building materials. We also make repairs where and when we can, eliminate mold, and perform humidity and moisture testing to know if the area is drying properly. 

Contact HRS Restoration Services Today!

HRS Restoration Services KNOWS what kind of gas is sewer gas, and we have the tools and experience to get rid of it. Call us today for more information or to schedule an appointment. 

Always Available

Anytime of day, any day of the year, HRS is here to fix what may seem overwhelming and intimidating. Our professionals in Denver are here to help 24/7.

what is iicrc and Why is it important?

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.


Helping Our Customers Immediately.

Figuring out what steps to take when disaster strikes can be a daunting task. HRS is here 24/7 to walk you through the process and bring your home or business back to habitable condition(s).

Taking care of emergencies so you don’t have to.

At HRS, we understand the panic that can set in when your basement floods or a fire breaks out at your business. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to repair damage and give you peace of mind.