What Does Sewer Gas Smell Like?

Jun 10, 2022 | Blog

You may have noticed a funny smell coming from your drains every once in a while. This can be caused by many different things, but one of the most common culprits is sewer gas. If you’re not sure what sewer gas smells like, don’t worry – we’re here to help! In this post, we’ll explain what sewer gas is, what causes it to smell, and how you can get rid of the odor. Keep reading to learn more!

So, What Does Sewer Gas Smell Like?

If you’ve ever wondered what sewer gas odor smells like, the easiest way to describe it is “like something died.” The odor is usually a mixture of hydrogen sulfide and methane, which can smell like rotting eggs or garbage. In some cases, the odor may also be accompanied by a hissing sound.

Common Causes Of Sewer Gas Smell

Water pipes

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There are a few typical reasons why sewage gas might be emanating from rooms in your home. Below we list some of them:

Water Traps

Every sink or floor drain in the house has a water trap under it, and these are often known as P-traps or S-traps. They function by keeping water trapped within the bend and preventing gas from returning to the home. When traps aren’t frequently used, they become dry.

Another reason that can cause a dried-up trap is when the air in your home is extremely arid or there is a leak in your plumbing system. Without water in your trap, sewer gas has free entry into your home.

Missing Clean-out Plug

The clean-out plug is a white or black rubber cap that covers the clean-out fitting. It’s usually placed outside the property.

Its main function is to assist keep debris and pests out of sewage pipes while also preventing dangerous sewer gases and noxious fumes from backing up into the home. If this plug is missing, gas will be able to enter your home freely.

Blockages In Your Drain Line

If there are blockages in your drain line, it can cause a backup of sewage and lead to sewer gas smells. These blockages can be caused by many things, including grease, hair, soap scum, toilet paper, and more. In some cases, tree roots can also cause blockages.

Bad Wax Ring On The Toilet

The wax ring is a rubber seal that goes between the bottom of the toilet and the drain pipe. Its purpose is to create a watertight seal so that sewage and gas cannot escape. If this wax ring is damaged or not installed properly, it can cause sewer gas smells in your bathroom.

Sewer Or Septic Pipe Leaks

If there is a leak in your sewer system or septic pipe, it can allow gas to escape and enter your home. Sewer gas leaks can be caused by many things, including cracked or broken pipes, joint leaks, and more.

Natural Gas Leak

In some rare cases, the sewer gas odors can actually be caused by a natural gas leak (like methane gas). If you suspect that this might be the case, it’s important to leave your home immediately and call your local utility company.

Now that we’ve explained some of the common causes of sewer gas smells, let’s talk about how you can get rid of the odor.

Getting Rid Of Sewer Gas Smells

A water drain

If you smell sewer gas, the first step in getting rid of it is to identify the source of the problem. Once you’ve done that, you can take steps to fix the issue and prevent it from happening again in the future. Below are some tips on how to get rid of sewer gas smells:

Clean Your Drains Regularly

One of the best ways to prevent sewer gas smells is to clean your drains regularly. This will help remove any build-up of debris, soap scum, hair, and more that could cause a blockage.

You can clean your drains yourself using a plunger or a drain snake. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, you can always hire a professional plumber to do it for you.

Check Your P-Traps

As we mentioned before, water traps (also known as P-traps) are designed to keep water in the bend and prevent gas from entering your home. If you think your P-trap might be dry, simply pour some water into it and wait a few minutes to see if the water level drops. If it does, that means your P-trap is working properly.

Replace Your Wax Ring

If you suspect that your sewer gas smell is coming from the toilet, one of the first things you should check is the wax ring. This is a rubber seal that goes between the bottom of the toilet and the drain pipe. Over time, it can become cracked or damaged, which can cause sewer gas smells. If you think your wax ring might be damaged, simply remove it and replace it with a new one.

Fix Any Leaks

If there are any leaks in your sewer or septic pipes, it’s important to fix them as soon as possible. These leaks can allow gas to escape and enter your home, which can be dangerous. If you’re not sure how to fix a leak, you can always hire a professional plumber to do it for you.

Is Sewer Gas Dangerous?

A toxicity sign

Sewer gas can be dangerous if it’s inhaled in large quantities. Inhaling sewer gas can cause a number of health problems, including headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and more. If you think you’re being exposed to high levels of sewer gas, it’s important to get to fresh air immediately and call a professional plumber.

Need A Plumber In Maryland, DC?

If you suspect a sewer gas leak in your home, contact us today. We offer a wide range of plumbing services, including sewer smell removal, drain cleaning, and more. We’re always here to help, so don’t hesitate to give us a call. Thanks for reading!


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