No one enjoys the smell of sewage in their home (or anywhere else) and, if nasty odors linger, it could mean there’s a problem with your plumbing. Common culprits include clogged drains, dry P-traps, a worn toilet wax ring, debris in roof vents, and blocked or damaged sewer pipes.

The first step to solving this stinky situation is to identify where the smell is coming from. If you’re unsure, it’s a good idea to check the basement or crawl space for sewer backups or stagnant water. Call a licensed plumber right away if you can’t identify the source. The problem could be loose or faulty pipes hidden in the walls or under the floors of your home. Keep in mind that sewage gases can be dangerous over time, and plumbers are trained to prevent them from entering your home.

Here are guidelines to help you remedy the smells you can trace. You might be able to fix some of these issues on your own, and others require qualified professional help.

Clogged Drains

When it comes to clogged sink or bathtub drains you can start by reviewing these helpful tips: How Do I Unclog My Tub and 4 Things You Should Never Put Down Your Garbage Disposal and 1 You Should. Clogs that persist may require expert intervention.

Dry P-traps

A smelly drain could also be caused by a dry P-trap, which is the s-shaped bend in the pipe below the drain. I mistakenly thought P-traps existed so you could retrieve jewelry and other items when you accidentally dropped them down the drain. In fact, they have a nobler purpose: to hold water and seal out gases like methane from entering your home. If your drains haven’t been used in a while, try pouring a quart of water down them to eliminate funky odors.

Worn Toilet Wax Ring

All toilets have a wax ring where the fixture attaches to the floor. Its purpose is to seal the connection between the toilet and the drain, as well as to prevent water and gas leaks. Unfortunately, wax rings deteriorate, and the seal can become ineffective over time. A competent do-it-yourselfer can replace a toilet wax ring, but it’s not a job for the faint of heart.

Debris in Roof Vent Pipes

The plumbing vent in your roof is there to draw gases up and out of your home.  In addition, it helps bring in fresh air and regulate the pressure in your plumbing. To prevent issues, make sure the vent is free of leaves, animal nests, and snow or ice, and that it’s not loose or corroded. A gurgling toilet is a common sign of a blocked plumbing vent.

Blocked or Damaged Sewer Pipes

This is where it’s always best to call an experienced plumber. Sewer pipes can get clogged by tree roots, “flushable” wipes (which aren’t flushable at all), grease, and more. They can also break, especially if they’re old metal pipes and are corroded.

The experts at East End Plumbing have the specialized knowledge and equipment to diagnose and safely repair sewer issues. Our drain cleaning specialists use methods such as snaking and high-pressure water jetting to remove clogs. They also have cameras to detect damaged or broken lines.

Don’t let nasty sewer smells and the issues that cause them stress you out. Call today and leave the work to us!

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