Why Does My House Smell Like Sewage?

Jun18 By Sewer Service
A woman making a bad smell gesture after opening her dishwasher

Why Does My House Smell Like Sewage?

If your home has a consistent or recurring sewage odor, even a faint one, you could have an underlying plumbing issue. When your home smells like sewage, it means that sewer odors, gasses, and maybe even liquids are escaping from your sewer line. This could indicate a broken or damaged sewer line or a sewer line clog. Both sewer line clogs and damaged sewer lines will only get worse over time, eventually causing a sewer system backup, which could affect the safety, comfort, and value of your home. At Puget Sound Plumbing and Heating, we specialize in efficient, trenchless sewer line repair and replacement services. Keep reading to find out the answers to “why does my house smell like sewage” and “what causes a sewer smell in a house” in Seattle, WA.

What Causes a Sewer Smell In Houses?

Sewer odors in homes are usually caused by a problem with your plumbing, specifically your sewer line or septic system. A foul odor that smells like rotten eggs, waste, mold, mildew, or dirt can indicate a major problem with your home’s sewer line. Sewer odors can be dangerous to your health, as they may indicate the presence of methane gas, which is a gas that forms as waste breaks down. Methane gas is highly flammable and can cause health and safety issues. The most common sources of sewer odors in or around your home are clogs, leaks, or damage to pipes and drains, including:

  • Shower and bathtub drains
  • Laundry room or utility room sinks or drains
  • Washing machines and washing machine drains
  • Toilets
  • Sink drains
  • Dishwashers
  • Pipes inside of walls or under floors
  • Outdoor or exterior pipes
  • Vent pipes
  • Sewer drains
  • Cleanout drains

Dangers of Ignoring a Sewer Odor or Foul Odor In Your Home

Ignoring a foul odor or sewer smell in your home will give the problem time to get worse. Without an inspection and diagnosis of the problem, your sewer line issue will get more extensive, dangerous, and expensive to repair. What started as a small leak or clog will turn into a bigger problem that may require a complete sewer line replacement. If you notice a recurring smell of sewage inside or around the outside of your home, or if there is a persistent or severe sewer odor in your home, you should schedule a sewer line inspection right away.

Warning Signs of a Sewer Line Clog or Break

A sewer line clog or break can cause major damage to your home if it isn’t repaired. A clog or break will only get worse over time and can eventually lead to a sewer system backup. This is a serious problem that can cause major health and safety issues for your home and require extensive remediation and repair. If you notice any of these warning signs of a sewer line clog or break, you should call a plumber for emergency sewer line services and a sewer line inspection:

  • Slow-running drains or frequent clogs
  • More than one clogged drain in your home
  • A clogged drain and a clogged toilet
  • A toilet that keeps clogging and overflowing even after using a plunger
  • A toilet or drains that gurgle
  • Using one appliance makes another behave strangely, such as when you run your dishwasher and your shower or bathtub drain bubbles up
  • Mold or mildew
  • Foul odors
  • Lush patches of new grass in your yard
  • Soggy spots or marshy areas in your lawn
  • Tree roots that have burst up into the yard
  • An increase in rodents, insects, and other pests in your home or around the outside of your home
  • Cracks in your walls or foundation
  • Signs of water damage in or outside of your home
  • A sudden increase in your water bill with no increase in usage
  • Clogged drains despite using a drain opener and/or a plunger
  • Standing water around drains
  • Dirty, smelly water or sewage backing up through the drains

How to Find a Sewer Smell In a House

When you smell a foul odor in your home, it can be hard to trace the smell back to its source. Generally, a sewer odor will come from somewhere along your sewer line. An odor might be coming from your drains, toilet, exterior sewer drains, or anywhere along the pipes. It’s best to call an experienced plumber to inspect your sewer line and determine exactly where the odor originates from. Keep in mind that sewer odors may come and go, and they may be stronger when you’re using multiple plumbing appliances at one time; for instance, if you are running the dishwasher and washing clothes at the same time, you might notice a foul odor coming from your drains.

How to Get Rid of a Sewer Smell In Your House

The best way to prevent sewer line problems is to schedule regular plumbing maintenance services and sewer line inspections. Most homeowners should schedule a sewer line inspection every five or six years for newer homes or every year for homes that are more than 25 years old. Older homes usually have older pipes and are at a higher risk of plumbing and sewer line problems. Routine plumbing maintenance will extend the lifespan of your pipes, drains, and plumbing systems and can reduce your risk of plumbing emergencies like a sewer line leak, break, or clog. You can also reduce your risk of sewer line issues by following these tips:

  • Do not pour grease, fat, or oils down your drain.
  • Do not flush anything other than waste or toilet paper down your toilets.
  • Schedule regular sewer line and drain cleaning services.
  • Have your sewer line inspected regularly for signs of problems.
  • Replace old or damaged sewer pipes right away.
  • Do not plant trees or bushes near sewer pipes.
  • Use your garbage disposal properly.
  • Use strainers in your sink, shower, and bathtub drains.
  • Clean your drains every month with an enzymatic drain cleaner.
  • Install a backwater prevention valve.
  • Schedule hydro jetting services every 5-10 years.

Importance of Hiring a Professional for Sewer Line Repairs

Sewer line repairs should only be completed by a licensed plumbing professional. If you try to teach yourself how to do your own sewer line repairs or how to install a new sewer line in your home, you could cause major property damage, violate your home warranty or homeowner’s insurance policy, violate local or federal ordinances and laws, or injure yourself. A licensed plumber has years of experience diagnosing, evaluating, and repairing sewer line issues. They will arrive on the job with the proper tools and equipment to complete it safely and efficiently, minimizing stress and inconvenience. Professional sewer line repair or sewer line replacement services will protect the safety, comfort, and value of your home and help you avoid future plumbing problems.

Most Common Types of Sewer Line Issues

Understanding the most common types of sewer line issues will help you schedule preventive plumbing services that reduce your risk of sewer problems. Being aware of these common sewer line issues will also help you recognize signs of a problem with your home’s sewer line. These are the most common causes of sewer line clogs, broken or damaged sewer lines, and foul sewer odors in homes:

  • Clogged drains and blockages
  • Blockages or backups from the city’s sewer system
  • Tree roots that have intruded into the sewer line
  • Heavy traffic or construction nearby that damages pipes
  • Ground that frequently freezes, thaws, and re-freezes
  • Old clay pipes
  • Poorly installed or maintained pipes
  • Poorly designed pipe systems
  • Heavy storms and flooding
  • Gutters, downspouts, or sump pumps that are routed into your sewer line
  • Clogged cleanout drains
  • Scale build-up or corrosion on pipes
  • Leaves, dirt, or debris in pipes
  • Animal damage to pipes

What to Do if You Have a Damaged Sewer Line

The best thing to do if you have a damaged sewer line and have noticed foul odors in your home or other signs of sewer line problems is to call an experienced plumber. Your plumber will inspect your sewer line and drains, determine the underlying issue, and recommend one or more of these solutions:

Schedule Sewer Line Repairs With Our Experts

If you haven’t been able to locate the cause of the sewer smell in your home, or if you have noticed warning signs that you have a major sewer line issue, you should call an emergency plumber right away. At Puget Sound Plumbing and Heating, our plumbers have extensive experience locating and diagnosing the cause of sewer line issues and sewage smells in homes. We offer reliable, professional sewer line repair and replacement services in Seattle, WA, and throughout the Seattle area, including the Eastside, South King, and the North End. We work efficiently to make sure the problem gets solved as quickly as possible with as little stress and inconvenience as possible. We are a family-owned and operated business with over 20 years of experience in the industry, and we offer fair, reasonable pricing and monthly payment options through Hearth. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a sewer line inspection.

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