Why Does My Bathroom Smell Like Sewage?
If you walk into your bathroom and you notice a sewer-like odor that won’t go away even after ventilation or using air fresheners, chances are that sewer gases are escaping from the drain. Such an issue requires immediate attention. The primary gas in a sewer system is methane, and if it leaks into your house in large volumes, it can cause nausea, dizziness, loss of coordination, or suffocation.
Even worse in high concentrations, methane gas is flammable and can cause an explosion. The first step to protecting your house occupants from such smells is by spotting the source. Take a look at the following possible causes of a sewer-like smell in your bathroom.
1. Biofilm Accumulation in the Shower Drain
During a shower, people use various products, including shampoo, conditioners, exfoliants, shaving creams, and soaps. When you wash away these elements together with dead skin and hair fragments down the drain, they form a clog. Such conditions attract bacteria growth on the sides of your pipes. The bacteria will begin to decompose the debris, emitting awful smells that spread all through your bathroom.
Fortunately, you can solve this issue on your own. Take out the shower drain cover using a screwdriver, and then, pour in hot water slowly. Next, add 1 cup of vinegar, followed by 1/2 cup of baking soda. After around two hours, pour in 1 gallon of hot water, use a drain brush to clear off any other remaining debris, and then screw back the drain cover. If you don’t wish to do all the dirty work or if the problem persists, reach out to a professional.
2. Water Evaporation in the P-trap
Another common cause of awful odors in your bathroom is a dry P-trap. It’s a U-shaped pipe located under the sink that traps and holds water to prevent gases from the sewer system from seeping into your house. If you fail to use your taps regularly, water might evaporate from the P-trap, and it can dry out over time. When the barrier preventing gas leaks is no longer there, you will experience a sewer smell in your bathroom.
You can quickly resolve this issue by turning on your taps and letting the water flow for about 10 minutes to refill the P-trap. If the smell doesn’t go away, pour 1 cup of water and a little baking soda into every drain in the house. If the odor remains, you could be dealing with a significant issue like P-trap leaks, which require professional attention.
3. Grim Buildup in the Sink
The sewer smell in your bathroom can also come from the sink. Most times, it happens when the pipe leading to the P-trap gets clogged. Because of the moist conditions, the sink can quickly accumulate mildew and grime in the overflow area, resulting in unpleasant odors.
To solve this issue, scrub your sink’s interior part with a brush thoroughly. Next, pour in a mixture of hydrochloric acid with water into the hole or any other cleaning agent, leave it for a while, and then rinse. If this fails to work, contact a plumbing technician to examine your sink.
4. Bacterial Accumulation in the Water Tank
If you smell the sewer odors only when using hot water, there could be a problem with your water heater. Bacteria colonies may form in the tank if you fail to use it often or when you set the water heater temperature too low. It results in a strong rotten egg-like smell throughout the bathroom. To fix this issue, set your water heater temperature to the maximum, and then, flush out the water to eliminate the bacteria. You can repeat the process as many times as you need to until the smell clears out.
5. Toilet Damage
The sewer-like smells could also be coming from the toilet. If you can smell a nasty odor coming from the walls near the toilet, your home could have an improperly installed vent pipe or a pipe that is damaged. The vent pipe’s primary role is to send odors outside your home. In case the plumber installs it improperly or if it develops a crack, it could leak the sewer smell back to the bathroom. Have a professional plumber solve the issue with the vent pipe. They can quickly diagnose the problem, trace the issue, repair the leak or reinstall the pipe.
The problem could also occur because of a loose or broken seal. When your toilet bowl doesn’t fill up naturally, it’s a clear sign of a broken seal. Sometimes, when a seal leaks water, it causes a pool around the toilet, which attracts bacterial growth and results in a foul smell.
Additionally, when you have a loose toilet bowl, it can damage the wax ring allowing sewer smells to spread through your bathroom. You can sort this problem by applying fresh caulk to the toilet seals. If you have a wobbly toilet bowl, replace the wax ring. Seek professional help if the entire toilet appears broken.
6. Odors in Your Water
If the bathroom smells terrible while using cold and hot water, there could be a water source problem. High hydrogen sulfide levels in water can lead to an awful odor throughout the bathroom. Immediately contact your local water testing lab to have it examined for potential contaminants.
7. Extremely Cold Weather
If you live in icy regions, the weather can significantly contribute to sewer-like smells in your bathroom. Ice may build up in the vent pipes, trapping odors inside. It will begin to seep back into the house. One way to solve this is by pouring hot water into the drains to melt the ice blockages. You can also insulate the vent pipes. Talk to your plumber to come up with the best possible solution.
8. Odors From the Washing Machine
If you cannot locate the sewer odor source in your bathroom, check your washing machine. It also contains a P-trap, and when improperly installed, it results in an awful smell. You might have installed the flexible hose too far into the drain box, which hinders the P-trap’s functionality, so odors seep into your bathroom. To correct this, pull out the drain hose. The machine’s drain line may also clog, attracting bacterial growth that results in awful smells. Use a drain snake to clear out such debris.
Contact the Professionals
Sewer smells in the bathroom are very unpleasant, and when neglected, they can lead to some health issues. Therefore, start investigating the smell source as soon as you notice it, and quickly take action. For some minor cases, you can eliminate sewer smells from your bathroom on your own. However, some significant tasks are beyond a homeowner’s expertise and require professional help to prevent damaging your plumbing system.
If you are struggling with awful smells in your bathroom, you can reach out to Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air. We are always ready to help identify the stench’s cause and restore a natural smell in your bathroom. Our company also offers various services including air conditioner and heating systems installation, repair and maintenance services. We also deal with indoor air quality, humidification, duct repair, and replacement services. If you reside in Sacramento, CA, and the surrounding regions, get in touch with our team now and book an appointment to enjoy any of our services.