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Why Does My House Smell Like a Sewer?

Why Does My House Smell Like a Sewer?

Why does my house smell like a sewer? If you have been wondering about this lately, you might be dealing with a severe sewage problem.

Sewage gasses can back up in the house if the outlets are blocked.

If your home smells like sewage, the smell is probably coming from a clogged or leaking water outlet, or even improperly installed or cracked toilet pipes. Dried water traps can also results in your home smelling like a sewer.

While not all sewer problems are urgent, it is best to identify and repair them quickly to avoid escalating the issue.

The sewer gasses can back up in the home from a blocked shower or sink drain due to built-up grime or a dropped item.

Not every issue causing sewage smells in your home poses a great threat, but you should address them quickly to limit its effects and escalate the problem.

Even with basic knowledge and skills, you can resolve many issues yourself, while more severe problems might require a plumber.

Sewage odors are a common household problem.

So we talked to various plumbing experts to put together this guide and help you identify and provide solutions for the sewage smell in your house.

Causes and Treatments of Sewage Smell in the House

Water Traps

Every house’s sinks have water traps beneath them near the drains. These are also known as P-traps or S-traps due to their shape.

These water traps are primarily installed to block sewage gas from traveling in the house by trapping water and stopping the gas’s way.

However, traps can dry if they have not been used in a long time. They can also dry due to scorching weather or if the water leaks out from a crack or gap.

The sewer gas can enter the house easily if the water trap is not functional.

If the water trap has dried because of the weather or less use, you can restore the trap by running the water for a few seconds.

If there is a crack, seal it first, then run the water. If the smell comes from a drain, pour a liter down the drain to restore the trap.

Shower Drain

Shower Drain

Clogged shower drains are one of the most common causes of sewer smell. You can notice it easily, as it will be coming from the bathroom.

We use several products while bathing containing different chemicals.

These leave sticky residues within the drain, along with hair and other debris that grows eventually and form grime and gunk that releases smell and slows the drainage by narrowing the drains.

Fortunately, you can avoid this by regularly cleaning the drains with commercial cleaners or making a DIY cleaner at home if you don’t want your money to wash down the drain, literally.

Baking soda, hot water, and vinegar make perfect cleaners for the drains.


The toilet is another inlet for the sewage smell in the home that usually has more pungent fumes. Sometimes certain items can fall in the toilet and clog the drain.

You can identify this if the water comes up when flushing and drains slowly. You can solve this quickly by pouring in septic treatments that will dissolve items like septic waste and soap, allowing water to flow freely.

However, the chemical solutions do not break down some objects. You can try pushing and breaking them with a toilet plunger or a high-pressure pump.

On the other hand, an improperly installed or damaged vent pipe or broken seals are two more severe problems with the toilet that can release sewage smells in the house.

The vent pipe regulates air pressure in the home’s plumbing system and directs smell out of the home.

Your vent pipes might not be installed correctly or have been damaged, and the lack of ventilation is releasing the odors in your house.

Broken seals allow wastewater to leak out of the toilet, creating solid foul smells.

The toilet bowl seal can also break, and the leaking water can gather around the toilet.

While that might not generate the sewer smells, the bacteria that form in water can create odors.

These issues are severe and create an extremely unhygienic environment besides releasing foul smells.

You will probably need an experienced plumber to resolve these issues as they are more technical and you won’t want to risk the recurring problems.

Conclusion to Your Home Smelling Like Sewage

Generally, if your home starts to smell like sewage, it is because of a cracked toilet pipe or a water trap being backed up. If it’s something to do with your toilet or otherwise somewhat involved issue, it’s best to consult a professional to fix the problem.

Water traps can generally be fixed pretty easily by yourself, just be careful to seal any cracks that you may see on the surface before continuing.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.