What To Do If You Smell Sewer Gas In Your Home

Leave a Comment - 56



Subject: open and blocked sewage hole

Right outside my gate there is a sewage manhole thats always blocked, the stench comes through to my house and we can't even sit outside sometimes the house smells as well. I have small kids id it safe to continue staying here?


Subject: Above open & blocked sewage hole

Call the town and report it, they may be unaware that there is a sewer failure in that location. If the gases are strong enough it can cause an explosion of the sewer and that will cost them more to fix!


Subject: Common in S.Korea

This is a common problem in South Korea. About 95% of the population lives in high-rise apartment complexes. In the older complexes, there is a methane smell 2-3 times a day (not as much in the freezing winter). There is an balcony pipe that passes through every floor in the building - this is the main area that the gas comes from. It also comes from the sink & tub drains, if they are not plugged up. I've asked neighbors about it & they agreed but said they do not care. I've had headaches & chronic pharyngitis for the past year, that I've lived in this complex. I also developed Meniere's Disease (disequilibrium in the inner ear) a couple of months after moving in. The only logical fix I can see is to have enough people in the complex complain to get it fixed, but that could mean having to tear the apartments apart... Or move. My company provides my housing so I'm sure they would not be thrilled if that were the case.
Any thoughts or advice on this???

R. Jones

Subject: Intermittent Sewer Smells

My husband and I have experienced the same thing. We rented a beautiful condo and started smelling intermittent sewage smells a couple times a week. We had to move. We were getting really sick and continue to be ill. We now have a horrible case of parasites. I have done much research to believe that these came from the gases. Some parasites are airborne and get into your sinuses and all over your home. One symptom of these horrible parasites is dizziness. I am now extremely dizzy and if I were you; I would not believe in your diagnosis of Meneire's Disease but, consider your disequilibrium being caused by all the parasites that are most likely living in you. Since you are in another country; you might find someone to treat you for parasites. Know this: It takes many tests to detect and most of the tests do not show them. I am so sorry that this has happened to you. Blessings and I hope we all become well. R. Jones


Subject: Smell from your toilet

The wax ring seal where your toilet connects to the pipe could be bad, allowing sewer gas to escape. The easiet fix is just to install a new wax ring. It's not bad, there are several helpful videos on YouTube of how to do this. A plumber should do this too for a relatively small fee. One quoted me $75 recently.


Subject: Smells like a dead animal very intense odor

I've lived in this attached studio for a year this Febuary. Few days ago I smelled a bad order during the night on the outside.
During the day there is no smell and did not find anything dead around or where the odor is coming from. My son notice my bath plumbing pipe in under the tin roof and informed me the vent should be above the roof not under the roof because it cause the septic gases to sip into the walls entering the home.
Now it's effecting my lungs and throat. After doing research I realize what caused my long time illness. For a year now I was always feeling sick off and on. During the mornings I can barely wake up and struggle just to stay awake. I'm sleepy when I awake and throughout the day I would get angry because it happens everyday and I get angry because I didn't know what was causing this tiredness and sleepiness. I blamed my medication or found other reason, but lo, and behold now I know, it's the septic leakage gas filling the house that was causing me health problems. Now I'm waiting for the landlord to take care of the problem..also it explains why my house is always infested with tiny black bugs with wings by the hundreds. Someone told me to spray it wit 409 it works but they come in every evening. I hope this will help others with their problems too.


Subject: SOLUTION!!

Hi all, I had this problem before, and it was a very easy fix.

In my house, in the winter time, a smell of sewer gas started to come out of the vents in the house. Whenever I turned the heat on, the whole house smelled like I'd gone #2.

My AC unit is in the attic, like many houses. There's a small PVC drain pipe that takes the excess condensation in the summer and dumps it into the sewer.

If you ever looked under your sink, you'll notice there's a U shape in the PVC pipe (called a P Trap) . Many people think the purpose of this is to keep you from losing items like jewelry, but the real purpose is to hold water and keep out sewer gas. Without a constant fill of water in this U shape, sewer gas would vent back into your house. The water in the U prevents this.

Now back to my attic. The pipe also had a little U to keep the sewer gas smell out of my house. In the winter, when you're not running your AC unit, you're not getting any additional condensation. This U dried out and the sewer gases were coming directly into my AC unit/heater and venting into the house.

The solution, there should be a pop off cap in the PVC near this U bend. Simply remove the cap and pour a glass of water in it. This restores the block to the gases.

This can happen to shower drains, tub drains, toilets, and sinks. Just pour a glass of water down it.


Subject: sewer smell

I moved in my 4th ex in late summer, everything seemed fine. Then me and the husband started smelling a foul odor in the master bath under the sink. So the landlord came and said it was rancid paint they used to paint under there. Next it spread to guest bathroom, then to kitchen, now the whole place smells like sewer. The rain has made it worse than ever. I have had Asthma attacks and headaches. The place is so damp and cold we have to stay in one room and embarrassed to have guests. The landlord came opened the door to under the house and said it is wet under there and what ever was there the rain activated the odor. But hasn't done anything. What should we do. What is this? Please help


Subject: Above Sewer Smell

Move. He knows what is wrong and will not fix it... he is one of those dead beat landlords... you should report him after you move though to the health department, AFTER you get your deposit back! The rental obviously is having major plumbing failures that he does not want to fix, so he is blaming it on something in the crawlspace.


Subject: Rotten egg smell

I'm in school right now and the whole bottom floor reeks of rotten eggs. A couple kids have got nose bleeds and our stomachs hurt really bad. What is going on?


Subject: Above about school rotten eggs

Call the Dean and inform them of the situation. They are responsible for your health and safety if they are providing your housing! You obviously are being exposed to methane gas!


Subject: Rotten egg smell

There is an on again off again rotten egg smell that seems to come from the pipes, it has been happening for over a year, i have made the landlord aware of it, however they don't send professionals out, they sent one guy out who definitely wasnt a professional and said i will just have to deal with it and to pour bleach down the drain they have some sewage trap thing that is constantly overflowing and the alarm is constantly going off, after reading the article, i am scared it is hydrogen sulfide, please help, oh and i have had chronic nasty sinus infections since i have moved in here, with bleeding and black discharge from my nose


Subject: Above Rotten Egg Smell

The plumber's solution is only partially correct and only partially the solution. First of all, this smell would only be intermittent IF you are talking about a bathroom fixture that does not get used regularly, like a second sink in a double sink, or a guest bathroom, a tub where there is a separate shower, etc... the reason is because the drain trap dries up (it is the U-shaped part of your plumbing on the drain)... allowing gases to enter the home. I say he is partially correct, because he left out other steps. You have to first pour 1 cup of vinegar down the drain and wait 10 minutes, then pour 1/4 cup of baking soda down the drain and wait 30 minutes to 1 hour, then pour 1 gallon of very hot water (not boiling water if you have plastic pipes) down the drain, wait 15 minutes, follow with a cold water rinse for 1-2 minutes.... repeat all the steps again... then after the cold water rinse wait 10 minutes... rinse again for 2 more minutes, then pour 1 cup of bleach down the drain and let it sit for 2 hours (this will kill the bacteria).... after 2 hours, rinse the drain with hot water for 3 minutes, then follow with warm water for 1 minute, then cold for 1 more minute. Pour 1 Tablespoon Mineral Oil down the drain and rinse with hot water again for 1 minute, (this keeps the water from evaporating so quickly in the future)... now this method is ONLY valid IF you don't have a plumbing crack, damage, or faulty plumbing and it is being caused by long periods of non use. If that is not the case, I suggest you move... however, based on the sewage trap comment, I don't think it is because of non-use of plumbing fixtures and you should move, get your deposit back and report them to the health department!

D Brown

Subject: Funny Smells

When it rains a great deal, my house smells like gasoline - I'm wondering if any of the above posters are smokers... I know smokers' smell/taste is altered so I'm wondering if the smell is actually sewer gas? I've lived in my house for 5 years and this just started October of this year. Here's the catch - since late October, my husband and I have been suffering terribly from respiratory illness. I have had severe difficulty breathing, wake up with blinding migraine head aches and left leg/knee pain. It only smells when we have a large amount of rain - three times since October. Ugh!


Subject: bad sewer and sulfur scent from sprinklers

I've been living in a town house complex for just over a month and almost every other night I'm awakened by a foul odor. This happens every time the sprinklers come on. And when it does I have a hard time breathing, and the sewage and sulfuric odor is intense. It disrupts my sleep and I been having consist headaches for almost three weeks now.

Do you think that the property managers may be using the sewage water for the vegetation/garden and is that normal.

Marilyn Berry

Subject: Neighbor spray toilent water through air ventilation shaft/sewe

I and my husband live in an apartment building and have been having problems with the new neighbors that live above us. They are not friendly neighbors at all and have taken to spraying toilet water down inside the air ventilation shaft in their apartment, which also leads downward into ours air vents. And when they are not doing this they are directing sewage gas odor into it all day and night when we are trying to sleep. I have been getting severe headaches from these odors and stomach pains and chest pains. No matter what I do I can't get them to stop. My husband and I are sleeping at odd hour during the day and finding it difficult to wake up in the mornings...we are usually early risers. My husband suffers from COPD and he and I both have very serious heart problems and are under doctors care. I have talked to the management and seem to get no where with them they treat us as if we are senile and don't take us seriously. I am afraid that one day we may not wake up from this. Please help me and tell us what can we do to stop this from happening...I would call the our local law authorities but after the way the management has treated us I am afraid they may also treat us the same way. We are an African American couple and the new neighbors are white...I don't want to say its racial but I don't know what else there is to call it. We have been good friendly neighbors to everyone here and do not understand why these people are acting the way they are to us. Please give me some advice as to what to do about them.


Subject: Above Neighbor Problem

Maybe it is not your neighbor, as that seems to be a lot of work to be spiteful. It is possible that their plumbing is leaking. This happened to me once, my neighbors toilet was leaking above my apartment and making me sick... turned out they had to tear my walls out, my floor and the ceiling to fix the problem, plus fix his toilet leak... which was never reported. Also, there could be a plumbing leak coming from somewhere else leaking into your apartment... how long was the apartment vacant. If it was a long time, 1 month or more... even weeks could cause the trap drains to dry out and allow sewer gases to leak out into the apartment, and possibly into your apartment as well since you seem to share the same air shaft. (And by the way, if that is the case, you new neighbor will be grateful that you saved them from getting very very sick if it does turn out to be leaking sewer gases!) Not every one is devious, and I am willing to bet that this is more likely the problem than they are being mean. You should ask the landlord to check their apartment for plumbing leaks and tell him what I wrote... there is a procedure that doesn't cost anything at all to fix it (stuff from the pantry and time, read comments from previous post above)... if he find nothing, ask him to check your plumbing for the same. Good luck.


Subject: your problem with the neighbors

If I were you, I would have someone younger and bigger come over and have a chat with your neighbors. Maybe someone from your church or your son who can let these folks know that you are not going to put up with this kind of behavior. If it persists, by all means go by the police station and tell them about your dilemma. It is their job to protect all citizens. This sort of behavior is not acceptable. If I lived nearby I would gladly intervene on your behalf. Best of luck and I'm sorry there are people like this in the world! Shame on these low-lifes!

Chuck Nelson

Subject: Unlikely to be malice

Your explanation of the gas is almost certainly wrong, but that doesn't mean the gas isn't real. Leave out the unlikely stories of neighbors pouring sewage into air vents, and just state the facts to your landlord. The fact is you have sewer gas in your home and it is causing serious health problems. Make your landlord get a plumber out to look into it.

It's probably a simple P trap failure in the HVAC system, which other comments here reference as well. If your landlord isn't helping, call a plumber yourself and send the bill to your landlord. If that doesn't fix it you need to do whatever it takes to move out. No one should be living in an apartment filled with sewer gas nor in a place where they don't feel safe from their neighbors and landlord.


Subject: Bad Neighbors

Take the landlord to court. Also, find out if you can withhold rent (there are laws for landlord responsibilities to tenants). The landlord needs to fix the problem by putting those people on notice to cease their behavior or move. You could also request moving to a different apartment. It never ceases to amaze me how evil some people are.

Mary Gee

Subject: Sewer gas in basement

Always get sewer smell after washing a couple loads of clothes. The plumber and replaced the vents on the sump pump but it didn't solve the problem. HELP....


Subject: water heater fonk

That odor after u wash your clothes could be the water heater. The hydrogen sulfide smell and would leave black stains on my brand new clothes. Slimy sulfur bacteria as well. And who knows what else. The landlords never replaced. Now i live in another one of their apartments owned by portland c reinvestment initiatives and they have sewer problems here but now its with all the plumbing smells like dead musty sewer rodent crap.and the parking lot is always flooded making the smell horrible. My food even tastes funny. They are trying to ignore this like they ignored the mold and roof leaks for five years.and denied the proof.of itnin inspectors report and the.mushrooms growing everywhere. They have failed hud inspection year after year. Now i have trigeminal neuralgia and way more health issues id ever imagine behind their neglect. Now i have to deal with this all be cause they think their company is great because they provide.low income housing. Yeah that would be nice if it was clean habitable low income housing like the federal regulations require of these so called not for.profit crooks.

Kimberly Eastwood

Subject: Sewer Gas got bad sick problem fixed finally

We moved from a 1 bedroom apartment to a 2 bedroom recently actually moved Sept 28 I had an awful smell in the bathroom I tried cleaning with bleach still didn't help just kept getting worse I keep 3 grandkids every day after school and I have a dog about a week and a half after moving smell got extermly worse I normally can't smell anything and I dreaded going to bathroom taking shower or walking in my hallway were r drain was in a closet I started getting bad headaches could not eat sick several days and was sleeping day and nite even with kids here and my dog was bad sick sleeping alot also my husband had been t ok visit his brother and then during the day he was doing a job so he wasn't here much for 2 weeks. I finally told him last week I knew that smell was making me deathly sick and I was worried and he said he had started having headaches sure enough we had sewer gas due to the last person that lived here had got electric cut off and was off 2 months when I ran the air if carried it all thru the house but I was burning up most of the time but also had chills some so if your air is by your drain don't run it just makes it worse. My husband used bleak and water and put in ours didn't help maintenance put bleach an water didn't help plus I been told don't ever use bleach for this finally my husband put a washrag over the hole where r air drains in the sewer line and ran lots of water like 2 gallons before he placed wash rags in it and next day I could still smell alil but maintenance changed filter in my air and that helped a bunch it is alil smell but not bad I can tolerate it my husband is gonna do something this week and fix it completely thank god. I lost about 7 pds I can still barely eat my headaches after we got fixed cleared up in about 3 days I haven't had bad leg and body cramps since we got fixed I also was itching severely and so was my dog we both have stopped what worried me the most I seen post that it was dangerous to have been smoking in my apartment I guess I'm lucky hopefully my grandkids r me will not have no long term effects. I now know what to do if this ever happened again. I have been told if u r in a Renta if landlord won't fix problem like this call heath department they will have no choice but to fix.Good luck stay safe if u have any sick symptoms leave till it is fixed this is dangerous

bobbi haverly

Subject: sewer gas smell in home

My daughter has a sewer gas smell in her home.She is going to have a plumber come out.Is it safe for her to stay there until this is resolved?

Deborah Mauldin

Subject: bad sewage smell in mobile home

in the warm weather i used a floor ac unit and noticed first time awful sewage smell, my mid bath is out of order due to an idiot not knowing how to help us get our homestead ready, so i don't know if it is the vent in that bathroom or not. my son complains awful daily abut headaches and now i am wishing to be in denial but when the heat is on i smell the sewer smell in my room too. i have nobody to help me so ifeel awful,and neither of us know this stuff. something is wrong.with my medical issues and his i don't know what to do but post this hoping someone can help me, deborah~~~

susan smith

Subject: smell of sewer gas in federal building

in downtown Cleveland oh. the bathrooms reek of it especially on lower floors but even on 16th floor and 26th floor . we have asked the building people to deal with it and they put up air fresheners!. they control all the air- heat, air etc. I am constantly tired, irriable, poor memory, no appetite, nodding at my desk. I am fine at home or out of this building. what recourse do we have? OSHA? retaliation as a federal gov worker is always the fear but I ain't dying for this place!

Ann Stein

Subject: sewer smell when ac is on

The sewage smell is very strong when the ac or heater is on. A plumber couldn't find the problem and neither could 4 ac companies. The air conditioner companies did find a rusted pan and I had the coil replaced and an UV light put in, but the smell is still just as strong. I am having worsening allergy symptoms. My house has a sump pump and that was checked by the plumber and nothing wrong was found. I need a solution fast, please.


Subject: We have the same problem

Hello Ann, we have the same problem! it is present in cold weather, when the heater's on. I am now going to hire inspectors instead of plumbers or HVAC people because they keep blaming the other without a solution. I also installed a UV filter and had the coils replaced. I also cleaned all the HVAC ducts including the flu pipe, which was clean and seems properly installed: you might want to check yours too, as it can get condensation leaked inside the furnace, particularly in cold weather. I'll have the inspectors check it. Just yesterday I checked the pipes myself behind the ceiling walls in the first floor with an inspector camera (the tiny ones with a 3ft cable) hoping to find a broken or disconnected vent pipe and found nothing. My furnace is in the attic as we don't have a basement or crawling space. I checked all the "P" pipes and they do have water so the water seal is fine. If I find the solution I'll post it here and everywhere I can. If you find the answer, would you post it here too? thanks. Good luck!!


Subject: Sewer smell when AC or HVAC is on

I had a sewer smell that was coming up through the vents. It turns out the ac contractor had the condensation pipe run from the ac unit directly into the sewer with out a trap. So sewer smell was backing into the unit from time to time. When I corrected this the smell stopped at once.

Rebecca Lane

Subject: Strange sewer smell.

Hi! A couple of months ago we noticed a leak in our basement ceiling directly below our jacuzzi in our master bath. It turns out that the seal on the water pump in the jacuzzi had busted so we had it fixed thinking the problem was solved. Now every time I use the jacuzzi there is an odd sewer like odor in the tub water with me. This has only been noticed since the leak and never had a problem before. Any ideas?

Jeannette Lawson

Subject: Getting sick from possible sewer smells

I have a brand new town house, It has an attached garage, and the cement step coming into the house is always wet, from underneath. I have been sick all summer, and getting worse, but near the floor, in every room it smells like urine, but in a heavy rain or wind, it just plain stinks like an outhouse. My symthoms are: sever leg cramps, falling asleep, weakness, left leg swelling and painfull from the knee down. I feel like I am wasting away, bad skin ..I am very thin except for swollen belly. I believe when toilet is flushed, it goes under the house. How can that be checked?


Subject: methane gas in trailer house

this has been going on now for over 6 months,landlord wont fix it and the plmber she sent didn't do much. I left for 5 days and was not sick , came back and within day and a half was back to nausea, breathing problems, bad headaches and the smell of sewer.how can I take care of this without getting evicted.


Subject: sewage smell in apt

I've had a rotten smell in my sinks. When I'm home more in the day or night.I experience breathing problems .nausea coughing continuously headaches dizziness .swollen legs can't hardly walksometimes it's so bad that when I fall asleep it's hard for me to wake up I feel drugged I've approached the management in this apartment complex and evidently they think I have a mental problem because they said that they would ask the owner what they can do for me its called ,Rcall a plumber I've had gas poisoning before to wear my organs almost shut down and I was crawling in the house because I never left the house and they had been stuck in the house for 6 months with backed up sewer from the city to the house but they don't believe me because I not yet have gotten anybody out here to check out the situation I've had various people tell me that my sink smells like rotten eggs the more I'm home the sicker I am the longer I'm away from the home I start to feel better desperate Picadily East residents

jesse smith

Subject: suspected sewer gas leak

I had a sewer line break inside a slab, I fixed that at the same time the sewer line was leaking water, washing out some of the fill in the slab,causing part of my house to settle,I hire a foundation company to come in to raise the floor by using jacks and mud a mixture of porceland cement and top soil, to fill the gaps that had bee washed out by the leaking plumbing. they put in some jacks but rupture a sink line allowing that hard mud and cement to get into the kitchen sink & basement bar sink below. The plumbers redirected the sink and bar line closed it off below the sink and in the basement, and using the original vent pipe in the basement. both lines are within 2 feet from the main line, can that work?.I smell some oder but nothing like rotten eggs,is that sewer gas? something to be concern about.


Subject: I need help sewer gas

I have been smelling a rotten egg smell from our shower for quite some time now. I've had numerous plumbers come out. And tell me nothing is wrong. But I have been getting sick on and off for a long time now. After we found a gas leak from our heater. But I still think it might be something in our plumbing. So my question is if there's a rotten egg smell is coming thru does that mean a dangerous had is coming in our home

p l mcavin

Subject: sewer/trash smells

In Washington County VA the building inspector allows the air handler to our heat pump to be connected to the sewer vent. For over 5 years we have had the sewer/trash smell in our home, less in summer, more in winter. This year was extremely intoxicating. After about 3 months we finally were able to realize when we were walking in the door that our air handler was emitting these odors into our home. We contacted our heat pump installer who came and put in a make shift larger trap on our condensation line that goes from the air handler to our sewer vent. Unfortunately he also connected the drain pan line to this line after the vent some 5 years ago so we still have an open line in our attic. After contacting the building inspector he is contacting the installer and advising him to come get a permit so this unit can be inspected. Go figure!! We have experienced all of the symptoms listed and hope all readers will beware of what appears to be installers on the up and up because he knew he needed a permit and never got one and we've been shall we say knee deep in smells since then.


Subject: sewer gases

I think I might I have this problem I know I have a gas leak I smell it its giving me a headache I'm just want the smell to go away please help me!


Subject: Dry traps

Test to see if the sewer gas might be seeping into your house via a dry trap. Got a sink or shower you don't use often? Is it possible the water in the "p" shaped trap under the drain has evaporated and is letting gas in? It would be a quick fix to rule it out, and it doesn't cost anything. Google "jayewisdom" and "awful smell" to get some really good info on fixing this.


Subject: Daughter has sewer fumes in house

Ever since my Daughter has smelled sewer smells in her home she has been having chronic Headaches. She seems to be very irritable and loses her train of thought. She has been on meds that aren't working, made Dr visits, went to ER to get Migraine injection that didn't work at all and she also went for a Migraine massage. Nothing has helped. Please someone tell us what she needs to do. The headaches are getting much worse. Scares us! They have a 2 yr old in the house and that's concerning too. She has talked and talked to the Landlord but hardly has done anything, Had her pour something down drain and it didn't help and she told him. Now they don't know what to do. Anyone with suggestions??? Thank You


Subject: Sewer Gas, parasite, bacterial infection. Almost died!

I was poisoned hy a neighbor dumping septic above ground. It went on for 2 yrs before I discovered it. By then I was so seriously ill with swollen legs, organs shutting down. Mental confusion, severe migraines, all over body pain level of 10!
Don't waste time with a regular doctor!!! Seriously, find an Applied kinesiolog Chiropractor right away! By the time you become that ill antibotics will only make it way worse!
The Kinesiologist should be from the Applied College of Kinesiolog. Explain what you've been exposed to! It's taken me two years to become functional. I still have a ways to go. But the longer you wait the worse it will become! This is serious! If you'd like to speak by phone, contact me though my email! Seriously, the parasites keep reproducing and go deep into organs & nervous system! The Bacterial infection Proteus OX19 is what poisoned & killed people in the Warsaw Ghetto during WW2.
Kinesiologist will put you on antibotic alternatives & possibly homeopathics. Most people are foolish & don't want to pay out of pocket & its not that expensive! Expect an office visit to cost $70 & treatment not to be much more! Its a slow, ugly painful death otherwise!
Best wishes!


Subject: garbage smell

I have been noticing an intermittent garbage smell in my basement and dining room (where my sewer system runs), I live an a 3 story twin. I have went around and ran water through all the drains. The slop sink in the basement isn't used often, so I thought that could be the problem. I also opened up my basement floor drain and poured 2 gallons of hot water in that. I can still smell the odor. How would I know if it is coming in from my neighbors house? The house was empty for quite some time, and not there are people in there, but I don't think they have any water? I they don't have water running would it be a good assumption that the smell is emminating form their house? How would I know if it was my house or thiers.


Subject: Sewage/rotten egg smell in home

We bought a dream home newly remodeled all interior, new kitchen, new bathrooms very nice. When we moved in and we dicovered a bad smell sewage/rotten egg smell only in the summer mostly when the air conditioner was on.

I was having an issue in my home of a sewage/rotten egg smell only on the 2nd floor when the air conditioner was on and the smell traveled through out the house. After spending alot of money on plumbers, experts and heat & air conditioner companies. No one could find the problem. We spend alot of money trying to figure it out. We had air ducts cleaned, 2 new coils, 2 new furnances, upgrated to 24 hour water softner, this year new water heater and rotted out the main sewage drain thinking it was that. Then next expense would be purchasing 2 new air conditioner units to figure if that could be it or I had a sick house. We were disappointed of spending money and the still have a smell problem. My husband decided to do an investigation himself through out the whole house from roof, attic to basement and he is no expert. I don't know if this can be a problem in your home, but one of our vent stack pipes was near two return vents in the bedrooms. This year my husband went on the roof and with a hose ran water down the vent stack pipe to figure out if there is a leak or its clogged. This process can cause water damage in your home. We discovered a water leak in the basement. We tracked the water leak. My husband ripped open the wall in our 1st floor bathroom guessing to find something. The bathroom is right above where we discovered the leak in the basement and right above the bathroom are the two bedrooms. It turns out that there might have been a cabinet sink before and who ever remodeled did not cap the sewage pipe that connected to the sink and that pipe connected to the stack pipe and that was causing the smell and my return vents were right next to it. When the bathroom was remodeled they added a new type of sink, pipe setup and left the old stuff there in the wall. We bought the house remodeled so had no clue of this. This has been a headache for all these years trying to solve the problem. My husband capped the pipe we have had no smell. It ended up being something simple and no camera would have found it. Now we have to spend money on fixing the wall and painting the bathroom. I am writing this information because it may help someone having a similar problem. It is difficult to detect a sewage smell in a home and this was the problem in my home. We were lucky to find it and guess, otherwise we could have torn several walls in the bedrooms to find the leak. I am so happy we finally fixed the problem.

W L Gwynn

Subject: Sewer Gas

My symptoms are the same as Beatrix (above). I have just complained to apartment management. I will feedback later.

Beatrix Days

Subject: Sewer Gases

Hi my name is Beatrix Days and i have been exposed to sewer gas inhalation and are having many health problems. I have address this problem to my land lord, and DHEC and so far a statement was made and the studor vent was changed. The problem is i'm still smelling some odor that's not as strong as the sewer that's got me with red eyes, chest pains, muscle spasms, chills, fever, and just recently another UTI. I need to know who else could i talk to to get this issue resolved?

View Comments - 56 Hide Comments

Post New Comment

Offers <
Popular <
Answers <



First - NOT full septic tank - if that was the case you would be getting backup of sewage into the lowest drains in the house, and possible very slow flushing or refusal to drain out of the bowl - the opposite of your case.

Second - I assume you are the owner. If a renter or on a lease, this type of problem may be the responsibility of your landlord, depending on the terms of your lease or rental agreement.

OK - two possible situations here - low water in BOWL, or low water in TANK. I am assuming your toilet flushes OK, with adequate water to clean out the bowl, and that it is a typical type toilet with a tank sitting on the back of the bowl. If this is not the case and it is a designer toilet or looks like those at public restrooms (no tank), then the BOWL answers still apply if it is initially refilling OK, but if not enough refill water coming in at all then call a plumber.

First, low water in the toilet BOWL case. If the water in the toilet BOWL is low after flushing, I see four likely causes, in order of most likelihood -

1) the fill valve is not putting enough water into the toilet bowl. If you take the top off the tank, you will see a small hose (typically black plastic) coming from the fill valve (a vertical mechanism, usually at left side of tank, that the incoming water tube or flex hose connects to the bottom of on the bottom side of the tank). While the tank is refilling after a flush, a steady but not large flow of water flows through this fill tube and down into a vertical pipe or tube (usually brass or plastic and about 3/4 inch diameter, which stands almost full height of tank). The small tube puts water into this pipe, from where it flows into and refills the toilet bowl. This is also the overflow tube, which keeps the tank from overflowing if the fill valve fails to shut off. If the fill valve has a problem or the fill tube has a blockage, it may not be letting enough water into the bowl. Also, check the tube is actually pointed down into the overflow tube - if the clip came loose, rusted away or broke, then it may just be filling the toilet tank rather than the bowl. Check that a steady flow (will not be a real foreceful jet) of water is flowing out of this tube into the overflow pipe while the toilet tank is refilling. You should also see the bowl filling up at this time. If it come in but does not fill high enough because it does not run long enough, some fill valves have an adjustment - check fill valve manufacturer website for instructions. Others just have to be replaced - doable if you are handy at home repairs (see web videos on how to do it), or call a plumber for probably about $150-200 to replace fill valve (have him replace the flapper valve at same time if you get this done).

2) there is something like a rag or string caught in the trap (the waste passage within the toilet body itself) which is slowly wicking the bowl water down the drain - would be solved by a good snaking. If this is the case, the bowl will fill fully after flushing, but then slowly (typically many minutes to hours) drain down to just filling the start of the oval or round drain passageway where the waste passage starts to curve up into the toilet body.

3) blocked sewer vent pipe (which vents sewer gas and lets air into the sewer system so when you flush the traps in drains and toilets and such do not get sucked dry by the vacumn caused by the exiting flow. If this is the problem, then several drains in your house may have the same problem, or drain slowly. When you flush, the water will drain totally down the pipe and almost all the water in the bowl and trap will go down the drain too, typically with a gurgling sound for a few seconds at the end as the air seal is broken in the trap, then a small amount of water will flow back from the trap into the bowl, leaving you with water in the entrance curve to the trap but nowhere near normal height in the bowl - maybe not even enough to fill the entrance of the drain passage.

4) a crack in the toilet, letting water gradually leak out of the bowl onto the floor or into the subfloor. If this has been going on for long at all you should see water on the floor, or water coming out in the ceiling downstairs, or in the basement or crawl space under the toilet.

Case 2 - the problem is low water in the toilet TANK - since this is a sudden problem, two likely causes:

1)  the float arm has corroded or the float setting has moved. Look in tank for any broken part. You may have a black ball on the end of a metal or plastic arm connected to the fill valve (which is the part, normally at the left side of the tank, that the flexible or copper tubing comes into at the bottom of the tank), or it may be a sliding cylindrical float that slides up and down on the fill valve (typically all plastic) - see if it is broken or loose or alll corroded up (for the arm type). When you flush, this float hangs down (if lever type) or slides down the fill valve (cylinder type), opening the fill valve so fresh water comes in to fill the tank and bowl. As the tank fills it lifts this float, till at the proper elevation the bouyancy of the float shuts off the fill valve. If the setting on this float has changed then it will either cause the toilet to "run" continually because it is trying to overfill the tank (float shuts off at too high a level, so water is continuously flowing down into the overflow tube and into the bowl); or it will shut off too soon, causing only a partial tank fill. There are adjustments to adjust the float shutoff setting - typically an adjustment xxxx on the arm-type, and a slider stop clip on a small rod for the sliding type. See web videos on how to adjust this, or call a plumber.

2) your flapper valve (in bottom of tank, the part a chain or cord or rod connects to the flush handle, which opens it when you flush the toilet, leaks. If it leaks AND the fill valve is working, the tank level drops till the fill valve opens, then the tank refills. This repeats at intervals, with the tank refilling periodically even though it has not been flushed. May need new flapper valve or just a good wiping of the sealing surface to remove grit that is causin it to leak. If this is the problem you will have a slight flow of water into the bowl continually, and will probably see a slight ripple in the toilet bowl.

3) water is leaking out of the fittings or bolt holes on the bottom of the tank. If this is happening enough to make you notice low takn water level, the tank will refill periodically the same as if the flapper valve is leaking, plus you will have water on the floor and dripping off the bottom of the tank.


Fill valve and flapper valves each cost around $15 if you do it yourself (you can buy just replacement flapper for less if that is the problem and the matching seal is good, but that is rarely the case). A plumber call to replace both probably $150-200, ASSUMING your water shutoff valve (at the wall, under the tank, with a flex or copper tube coming fromit up to the toilet tank) will work.. If it will not shut off the flow of water, then add another $50-150 to replace that, depending on how it is plumbed and whether he has to cut into the wall to replace it (rarely required). If you do go and have a plumber do it, have both the fill valve and flapper valve (and flush handle, if aluminum or brass and corroded) replaced at the same time, as all tend to go out with age - every 10 years or so. You don't want to have to call the plumber to replace another part in just a year or two.


From the sounds of it, you have a clog between the floor drain and the connection to the city sewer (unless you have a septic tank).  The lower flow rates of sinks / showers / dishwashers probable don't cause a backup like the washing machine does.  A couple of suggestions.

1.  Snake the drain line with a spade tip snake, twisting the snake as you advance it.  This should clear the partial blockage.

 2.  If feasable, have your washing machine discharge into a utility sink and put a strainer on the drain to catch the clothing fibre (fibres and grease from the sink probably made the clog in the first place not to mention a garbage disposal).

3.  Replace your floor drain with one that has a backflow preventer (looks like there is a ping pong ball in it).

 Good Luck

It is not uncommon for a plumber to have to go get the parts necessary to repair and complete the job.  It is very hard to determine what the problem is over the phone and it is not until the repair process begins that the parts needed to resolve the problem is discovered.  It may also depend on if the plumber is using hourly rates or per job rates.  I would hope the time to get the parts would be minimal and the charge would be as well!

You have not said how old your house is, what normal water line life in your area is, whether it is leaking under the foundation or under the yard, etc. Cost depends a great deal on length of run, depth to dig to get below frost line, whether excavation will be through trees or other obstructions or open area, whether ground along route is too steep for a backhoe to work on, etc.

The first thing you really need to figure out is whether this is a spot repair issue, or a total line replacement issue. Your plumber should be able to help with that determination.  Very general rule of thumb - very old line from before 80's, if galvanized pipe, could be at its practical life and be ready for total replacement. Copper line generally last about 50-70 years UNLESS in a corrosive soil environment or if it has groundwater flowing actively past it, then can be 20-30 years. Plastic lines from the 60's to 80's vary a lot - from as little as 10 years to 50 plus dependingon brand. Plastic lines (PVC, HDPE, PE) from the 80's and later are expected to last 50-100 years - most have not failed yet, so no good handle on how long they will last.

An above-ground or under the slab line a plumber will do. Buried line outside he generally subcontracts to an excavator to dig and backfill the line, or asks you to get the excavation done.


If section needing replacement is under your floor slab or foundation, then a full replacement can be many thousands of $ depending on how many linear feet, and if interior flooring will have to be replaced or if you are on a bare concrete slab or bringing the new line in above-ground once you get through the foundation. A simple one-spot buried pipe repair (based on acoustic locating and precisely measuring the location of the problem) can be as little as $400 but probably more often $1000 or so - more if poor access like under a slab underneath stairs.

If the runs to be replaced are exposed in a crawl space or basement than it can run as little as $20/LF (probably $400 minimum job cost) to replace.


Outside line to the street can run from as little as $10/LF in areas where the pipe is shallow (no annual frost penetration) and in easy digging soil, to $250/LF or more if deeply buried, have to excavate through trees and heavy roots or boulders, steep topography, other utility interferences etc. Generally not more than $50/LF. Commonly, instead of digging up the old line, they select a new semi-parallel route from a good connection point for you existing interior water lines at the foundation (maybe not where it currently comes in, depoending on access) to the street main shutoff valve (called a "key box", taking a route between them that is easiest to get a backhoe into and minimizes destruction of valuable plantings or trees. A number of $50/LF is commonly tossed around as "normal" for this type of job, if exceeding 100 feet or so and digging and access conditions are normal.

If your connection is in the middle of the street rather than along your side in the yard, that can easily add $2-5,000 to the job, as the water utility usually has to do that part, and repair the street afterwards. In a major throughway street, even more because of traffic control, multi-agency permits, etc.


As always, find 2-3 responsible, well-recommended (Anglie's List ?) contractors, and then get bids. The route I would go is first go with your regular plumber to locate the leak (probably acoustically, by listening for the leak) and determine the scope of work needed, then if major, go for multiple bids.