A sewer smell in the bathroom is always an indication that something is wrong. This smell is not something you should ignore. Sometimes it could be as a result of backed-up plumbing, but it could also result from the sewer itself. This is a broader issue that calls for immediate action. Determining the exact cause of the problem can be difficult, and many people will just assume that it comes from the toilet. The truth is, the issue may have to do with your home’s water system, which includes the piping, the shower, or the washing machine.
To determine where the smell comes from, the first step is to thoroughly clean the bathroom and try to detect with your nose where the problem is coming from. Approach the various corners of the bathroom, the floor, the drains, and the bathtub. Once you determine the source, you can get rid of the smell.
It’s also worth noting that depending on the issue, how the problem is fixed varies. If the issue is related to a dried-out P-trap, the remedy is as simple as having water run through the faucet. However, if the smell results from a broken vent pipe, seeking the help of a professional is highly recommended.
That said, here is a look at the reasons why your bathroom has a sewage smell and the common fixes. Some of these remedies you can do yourself, but others require the help of a professional.
If the smell comes from the drain, it could be a result of sediment buildup from daily bathing. These sediments include dead skin cells, soap, shower gel, and hair. This accumulated sediment is called biofilm. Over time, it clogs the drain, leading to bad odors.
If the drain doesn’t empty the water in your bathroom, you can easily clean it by yourself instead of calling a plumber. Simply prepare a solution of boiled water and white vinegar, remove the shower drain using a screwdriver and pour the water through it in a continuous stream.
Then pour a cup or two of water down the drain, followed by half a cup of vinegar. Wait for up to two hours and then pour a gallon of hot water through the drain one more time. This solution will decompose the deposits in the drain. Finally, use a drain brush to get rid of the biofilm leftovers and run the water through it. Finally, screw the drain cover back in place.
Although the process seems simple enough, if the biofilm is extensive and cannot be easily removed with this process, you should have a professional do the job for you. As a precaution, normalize combing your hair before hitting the showers and make sure that your drain is cleaned once a week to avoid or eliminate the smell in the bathroom.
Another culprit to a sewage smell in the bathroom is a dry P-trap. A P-trap is a U-shaped pipe found beneath the sink. Most of the time, a P-trap contains a small amount of water that keeps the sewer gases away from reaching the bathroom.
Sometimes, the P-trap goes dry, especially if you don’t use it regularly. When this happens, there will be no barrier to prevent the sewage gases from reaching your home. Luckily, this problem has a straightforward solution, which involves returning the water to the P-trap by allowing it to run for up to 10 minutes.
You can also add a little baking powder to the drain to permanently eliminate the smell. But if the smell persists, the problem could be something other than the P-trap, and you should seek the help of a professional. A plumber can diagnose the problem and offer an appropriate solution.
Wax ring problems can also be a cause of bad odors in your bathroom. The wax ring is located at the base of the toilet. It creates a stopper between the drain pipe and the toilet bowl. Sometimes when the toilet bowl has issues and is not fixed correctly, the wax ring gradually gets damaged. As a result, the toilet begins leaking, leading to water accumulation on the floor. This water gives out an unpleasant smell in your bathroom.
This problem can be fixed by replacing the wax ring. For this, you need to drain the toilet and remove it to gain access to the seal. Occasionally, the worn-out ring will require some scraping off the toilet flange. Use vinegar to completely remove its traces before proceeding. After you’re done, install a new wax ring and put the toilet bowl back in position.
Occasionally, the source of the sewer smell in your bathroom could be originating from the sink. When this is the issue, the underlying problem is clogging. Sinks usually have a specially designed hole that serves as a water outlet. This hole ensures no overflow occurs in the bathroom. Unfortunately, like any other type of water pipe, your sink can accumulate grime and mildew in the overflow parts. When this occurs, there will be an unpleasant odor. Luckily, this problem can be eliminated by scraping the sink with a brush. Also, pour some hydrochloric acid or a cleaning agent through the sinkhole, leave it to dry, and run water through it to rinse.
Problems With the Water Heater
Water heater issues rarely cause a smelly bathroom. However, if the water heater is not used often or is only kept at low temperatures, there’s a chance that bacteria colonies will form, which can result in a bad smell.
This problem can be fixed by heating the water in the heater at maximum temperatures and flushing it out to eliminate the bacteria. Repeat this process a few times until the smell disappears. If it does not, have a professional inspect the appliance to determine whether a replacement is required or if it can be repaired.
Hydrogen Sulfide in Water
Sometimes, the problem is not the drain, the sewer or the p-trap; it could be the water itself. This is especially the case if the water smells bad regardless of whether it is hot or cold. Some water sources have high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide, which causes a bad smell in your bathroom.
If you suspect that this is the issue, enlist the help of an expert and have the water tested for contaminants. Hydrogen sulfide is very dangerous. If handled improperly, it can cause serious health issues for you and your family. This is why professional help is required.
Clogged Vent Pipes
All the drain systems in your home need proper venting to ensure that no sewage gases escape into the house. When vent pipes are clogged, sewer air will not have a clear outlet from the drains in your home, and leaking odors will occur.
To fix this problem, check for clogs in your pipes and try to determine whether there are any obstructions such as debris among other substances. Then, using a drain snake, try to dislodge it from the pipe to keep it clear. Work with a plumber for the best results. They have the right skills and tools for properly dislodging and removing clogs in your drainage and piping system.
Contact Complete Comfort Today!
If you are experiencing a sewage smell in your bathroom or are faced with other plumbing issues in your home, give Complete Comfort in Greenwood, IN, a call today! From heating to cooling to plumbing needs, our highly skilled technicians serve Greenwood, Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Indianapolis, and the surrounding areas. They are available to meet your service needs around the clock! Call us today, and expect quality service every time.