How to Get Sewer Smell Out of Vent Pipes

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Key Takeaways
  • There are a number of reasons why a sewer smell could be emanating from your drains and pipes.
  • Locating where the smell is coming from is the first step in resolving the issue, some potential causes are: Incorrectly installed plumbing fixtures or pipes, a dry P-trap or a leak somewhere.
  • Installing an appropriate vent filter can go a long way in helping with any odour issues.

The first step to removing a sewer smell is to identify when it started.

If the smell problem started recently, this may be due to a change in the plumbing system, or something else has occurred around your house. Heavy rains, dry weather or inactivity can also affect the vent system.

A sewer smell is usually most prominent in the basement (if you have one), and can be noticed especially throughout the house when the heater is on. Here are some tips to remove the smell.

Sewer Smell from a Dry P-Trap

The most common cause of a sewer odor in a drain is a dry p-trap.

This is common during the winter, when air pressure inside the pipes is low. This can allow sewer gas to enter the drain more quickly. To remedy this problem, you can run water through the drain to let it air out. To avoid a stinky drain, you can also add baking soda to the sink’s P-trap.

You may notice that there’s a rotten egg smell coming from a lesser-used drain, such as a laundry tub, floor drain, or toilet. Most likely it’s a dry p-trap.

Why P-traps are necessary

To prevent sewer smells in your home, you need to install p-traps. They are a curved portion of your sink’s plumbing that prevents sewer gas from venting into your home. It houses a thin layer of water.

The cold winter air can dry out the p-trap water, causing more sewer gas to leak into the vent pipe. To avoid this problem, you should always run water through your pipes.

When you notice a sewer smell, check your p-trap. If you’re lucky, the p-trap was dry, and it’s an easy fix. If it is wet, check for a leak or drained water. Sometimes finding the issue will require some detective work.

Side-Vented Pipe

A common way to eliminate sewer gas smell in your home or business is to install proper traps and vents.

These are necessary pieces of equipment for every fixture in your plumbing system. If any are missing, you may need to have a plumber install them for you.

Once you have installed the proper traps, you should run water through the drain to ensure that the biofilm is not trapped. If you still smell sewer gas in your home, you may want to consider calling a plumber for help.

In some cases, the vent can become clogged with debris or even a critter’s nest. Not only do clogged vents allow a foul odor to get into your house, but they can also cause leaks. If this is the case, you can flush out the clog using a strong cleaner or bleach. Hopefully it’s a minor blockage and you can simply flush the area with water. If you do not have access to the vent pipe, however, you will need to call a plumber for assistance.

Another method is to purchase a metal cage to cover the sewer vent opening. This will prevent things going inside or falling in. But you don’t want to go to small, you might also want to increase the diameter of the vent to avoid ice buildup.

Aside from the smell of sewer gas in your home, you may also notice soggy soil or water. If you notice soggy soil, it’s likely that you have a leaking sewer pipe. This is a significant health hazard and requires immediate attention from a licensed plumber.

Activated Carbon Vent Filters

If you’re tired of dealing with the stinky odor coming from your septic tank or sewer system, consider installing an Activated Carbon Vent Filter.

These products are great for both the septic tank and house vent. The carbon filter will trap the foul smell and absorb it. The best part is, you can install an Activated Carbon Vent Filter at any location. The best part is, they’re very easy to install and are affordable.

Sewage gas vents are a common source of smell in buildings and can be located in a low-level area. If they’re too close to the building’s exterior walls, they can cause unpleasant odours.

Open vents are not effective when the distance from the tank to the exterior of the building is greater than 10 meters. Activated Carbon vent filters prevent gasses from entering your home’s drainage system and reduce indoor odors.

Activated Carbon Vent Filters are made of carbon that lasts about three to seven years before needing replacement. Activated carbon vent filters are easy to install, but you need to keep in mind that they must be replaced after a certain amount of time. They should be replaced when the smell returns, usually every three to five years.

A good way to monitor the life of your carbon vent filter is to schedule it for replacement every three to five years, depending on the level of odor and the size of the house.

An odour vent filter can be used on various applications. A good example of this would be a pump station vent stack, but it can also be used on a sewer line or overflow tank.

You can attach the filter to a small blower to get rid of any unpleasant odors from the vent pipe. These filters are supplied with a replaceable carbon cartridge. You can buy one or more of these filters, depending on the amount of odour you’re experiencing.

Proper Installation

If you’re still experiencing an unpleasant sewer smell in your home, you may have improperly installed or cut vent pipes.

The first step to eliminating the smell is to find the source of the sewage. It is most likely coming from a broken sewer vent pipe, which has been exposed to the elements. This leak may have caused water to accumulate inside the pipe, which is what causes the odor. If the smell is in your ceiling, the problem is in the plumbing vent pipe, and a plumber can repair it. If the pipe itself is cracked or damaged, it could be leaking sewage gas into your home.

The worst case scenario is if the underlying cause of sewer smell in your home is a blockage in the main stack. The main stack runs through the center of your house, exiting through the roof. It connects to the soil stack, which in turn branches off into every room.

Plumbing pipes are connected to this main stack, and if they become blocked, sewage can back up into the house and cause problems such as a foul smell. It could be costly to repair, but see the help of a professional plumber to come up with a solution.

A clogged pipe being unblocked
A clogged pipe being unblocked

Diagnosing a Problem By Running Water In The Sink

Run water in a sink to diagnose the problem. The problem may be caused by a leak from the faucet, a failed washer, or a leak in the cabinet.

If you see pooling water, you have a leak in the handles or a loose connection. To fix the problem, replace the washers or gaskets as needed. If you cannot locate the leak, consult a plumber.

Check the valve seat. If the seat is worn out, water will accumulate under the sink. Replace it or tighten the screws holding the valve seat. If these steps fail, consider repairing the water supply, P-trap, or drain. These parts often need replacement. If none of these steps work, hire a plumber to fix the faucet.

If the leak is not related to the faucet, it is most likely the water supply and will require further investigation.