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Last reply on Feb 16, 2016

Why does my house smell like sewer every time it rains?

Last reply on Feb 16, 2016

Here I am again with an "old house" problem! Every time it rains hard my house smells like sewer and I am at a loss as to the cause. I put in a new sump pump, had the septic tank cleaned, and constantly check the two basement floor drains for any back-up, but nothing seems to stop the smell -- it goes away the day after the rain stops! I want to call a plumber, but would really like to have some idea as to what the problem might be before I get someone here so I can feel comfortable about what they say needs to be done. HELP!

10  of  15 comments
  • Rockin Ronnie
    Rockin Ronnie
    on Feb 21, 2014

    Just seal off the sump pit. I had the septic leach issue and this works for now. Sewers coming in 2 years so I can wait. Great house and property .. worth it.

  • Erin Long
    Erin Long Mount Pleasant, NC
    on Apr 14, 2014

    I am having this problem. My landord has been out and dug up the septic tank to reveal that it was leaking. He had it repaired but the smell still remains. Is this smell toxic for my family?

  • Cheryl Waltman-Navarrete
    Cheryl Waltman-Navarrete Fountain Valley, CA
    on Nov 4, 2014

    I live in an apt with a dirt filled backyard. It finally rained the other night and now it smells bad in backyard what should I do?

    • @Cheryl Waltman-Navarrete just sent you a quick hint on asking questions that you will find useful To answer your question. That smell is money to farmers, however there is little you can do to stop the odors from the fresh organic makeup of the soil. If its an abandoned property that has the soil, contact the township. If its the landlord fixing the yard, with new landscaping etc. wait it out. If its simply the way it has been for a long time, depending upon your landlord, you could request that he does something like put grass down or simply move. Unless he is violating some sort of local township law he is under no obligation to do anything. As a tenant there is not much you can do unless its a health issue such as excessive doggie droppings etc.

  • Rachel
    Rachel Tahuya, WA
    on Dec 17, 2014

    Water building up in the soil causing the bad smell makes sense but how can I find out for sure where the smell is coming from. If it's the soil then how do I know for sure where to dump the bleach? It's not exactly super cheap to buy s lot of bleach and I worry that it may not be good for animals. What about plants? I have an idea for where I could start at but I need more information. I have two bathroom no leaks or clogged drains. If someone fixed a leak prior to my moving in the soil contamination makes sense. Only one bathroom smells bad and it smells bad in the vent. Does anyone care to comment on this problem. Obviously I need to wait until the soil is dry so I do have time.

  • Shirley McElmurray
    Shirley McElmurray Augusta, GA
    on Apr 16, 2015

    I don't have a septic tank, but, have that awful sewer smell in the house. Could it be from using drano and have it setting in the sink till it goes down?

  • Stevo1025
    Stevo1025 Forney, TX
    on Apr 19, 2015

    I have been experiencing this same issue and don't have a septic tank. It seems to come from the A/C registers in the ceiling, but only certain ones. I don't know who to call...plumber, HVAC, General Contractor? The smell is very foul and only started this year after a hard rain. We were told that it could be from a drain that doesn't get used much and tried pouring bleach down it to flush through periodically. They thought it could be back flowing through the p-trap and causing the foul odor. That didn't fix it. I'm out of ideas and wonder how extensive this search and remedy will be...

    • Mike k
      Mike k Burke, VA
      on Jan 8, 2016

      Hi Stevo, did you ever figure out what was causing the smell?

  • Barb Chapman
    Barb Chapman West Simsbury, CT
    on Aug 14, 2015

    You don't necessarily need bleach. If it's a p-trap that has dried out from non-use, you just need to run water down that drain for a while (maybe 5 minutes depending on the faucet tap) every 6 months or so. (Play it by ear - it depends on the size of the pipe.) A dried-out trap allows the sewer gas to come through; it's not the same as a back-flow of actual sewage.

  • Debra R Fisher Dailey
    Debra R Fisher Dailey
    on Oct 3, 2015


  • Debra R Fisher Dailey
    Debra R Fisher Dailey
    on Oct 3, 2015

    When it rains it smells like septic in my house

  • Judykelly7
    on Feb 16, 2016

    I have a septic smell every time it rains

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