If you've recently caught a whiff of an unpleasant sewage smell from inside your bathroom, you may have embarked on a cleaning frenzy in an effort to rid your home of the smell, only to realize the problem lies deeper. Fortunately, in many cases, even the most stubborn sewage smells can indicate only a minor issue that's easily resolved without requiring you to dig up sewer lines or pump your septic tank. Read on to learn more about some of the potential causes of a sewage odor inside your home, as well as the steps you'll need to take to resolve this issue.
What can cause sewage odors inside the home?
In most cases, sewage odors that aren't obviously the result of a broken main or pipe (which can cause raw sewage to bubble up in your lawn or through your sink and laundry drains) but are instead due to a clogged or faulty P-trap. This water-filled P-trap is designed to create an impermeable airlock barrier against any sewer gases that might bubble back up through your pipes. However, when the P-trap is damaged or the water it contains begins to evaporate, it becomes much less effective at blocking sewage odors and can allow potentially dangerous (and flammable) sewer gas to enter your home.
In other cases, particularly in homes with older plumbing, there may not even be a P-trap -- instead, sewer gas may be able to creep back up the pipes each time they're emptied. If this is the case, you'll need to have a P-trap installed to prevent further odors and protect your plumbing from damage.
What should you do to correct your sewer problems quickly?
If you don't mind DIY projects, you should be able to solve many P-trap-related problems without enlisting the help of a plumber. Often, the P-trap has stopped working to its maximum ability because some of the water it uses to create an airlock has evaporated. If this is the case, simply refilling the P-trap with fresh water should be all that's needed to keep these sewer gases where they belong.
In other cases, your P-trap may be cracked or broken, requiring replacement. Although you can try this on your own with the help of some instructional videos and online directions, a plumber may be a better option for those who are worried about causing damage to their plumbing or who suspect their plumbing issues run deeper than a faulty P-trap. Calling a plumber from a company like Holmes Sewer And Drain to make a visit to your bathroom can ensure you've correctly identified all the potential issues and that they're repaired correctly for the long term.