February 29, 2020 by

Why Is There a Sewer Smell in My Bathroom?

Everyone wants their bathroom to smell as clean as possible – so if you walk in and there’s a sewer smell in the bathroom, you want to figure out the cause quickly!  As expert plumbers in Victorville, Apple Valley, and Hesperia, we spend a lot of time helping people with these sorts of smell-related issues.

As it turns out, there are actually several possible causes.

The Four Most Common Reasons A Bathroom Smells Like Sewage

1 – Dried out water traps

You can’t see them, but there are water traps directly below the major drains in your bathroom, such as in your bathtub.  These are supposed to hold water, to create a barrier between your bathroom and the sewer gasses below.

If this is the problem, it’s easy to fix.  Just pour a gallon or so of water through the drain where the smell is coming from.  This should refill the water trap, and hopefully, the smell goes away.

2 – Leaky seals

Other methods are also used to prevent sewer gasses from moving up into your bathroom.  This includes the wax seal around the base of your toilet, as well as cleanout plugs in floor drains.  If either is cracked or missing, they’ll start letting gasses through.

Replacing a cleanout plug is easy; you can buy them in any hardware store.  However, you may need professional help replacing a toilet’s wax seal since that requires removing the toilet before fixing the seal.

3 – Backed-up septic tanks

Septic tanks are common in Victorville, Apple Valley, and Hesperia.  If they become full, or something clogs the outflow pipes, the sewage gasses will start to back up into the house. If this is the case, you’ll know it because you’ll be getting unpleasant scents coming from multiple drains at once.

There’s no DIY fix for this.  You’ll need to call in septic tank specialists to look into the problem.

4 – Bacteria in your water heater

If you’re getting odd smells from hot water in your shower or faucet, the problem could be in your water heater – especially if it smells like rotten eggs.  A water heater that is rarely used can develop bacterial colonies.

Try turning your water heater up to maximum, then (carefully!) running the shower for an extended period to fully flush it.  Do this a few times.  If the smell doesn’t go away, you probably need a new water heater.

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