Asked on Jan 13, 2016

Sewer smell throughout the house

by Kim
I need help getting rid of a sewer smell. I just had a plumber here to clean out clogged pipes. Since then, sewage smell emanates throughout the house. However, I'm in a one-level house that's built on a crawl space...and the sewage pipes run next to the heating pipes. Go figure! I need help quickly as its making me ill. Thanks!!
  10 answers
  • KathyM KathyM on Jan 14, 2016
    Have you tried Baking soda and vinegar? The best roto-rooter job leaves residue behind. If you have a bath tub, I'd start by running it full blast with hot water to flush out loose debris. Next, I'd go to the sinks and treat all of them with baking soda and plain white vinegar, the kind you buy in a gallon jug. This helps clear the traps (u-sections). You can find many sources of instructions on the internet. The basic procedure is put baking soda in the dry drain and follow with vinegar. Wait at least 15min (don't have to be precise as to the maximum wait time) then flush with very hot water. I usually put a pot of water on the stove to boil so there is heat when I first turn on the tap until it gets hot. A third step: check your local hardware, general or home improvement store for septic sytem treatments. Look specifically for one that cleans out the drains. Toilet paper and hair treatments leave thin coatings on the walls of pipe, a little like cholesterol in arteries. Some septic treatments clean them off, like a chemical roto-rooter, working best as preventative treatments.

    • Kim Kim on Jan 19, 2016
      Thank You KathyM....Been doing the baking soda / vinegar to no avail 😖

  • Dfm Dfm on Jan 14, 2016
    if there is a yucky mess where the pipe worker slopped some sewer stuff around- try kitty liter- the clumping kind- dump about a hand full, wait for it to clump. don't put it in the pipes though. use the vinegar and baking soda for that.

  • Tonia Tonia on Jan 14, 2016
    If you have a floor drain in a laundry room pour a gallon of water or so down it as well. If floor drains dry out they will emit a horrible sewer smell. The plumber may have forced enough water out to dry your drains.

  • Johnchip Johnchip on Jan 14, 2016
    They are right. You need to 'purge' the system, plumber should have told you that. Start with tub but flushing all drains at once for a 'few hours' and reuse vinegar and baking soda repeatedly during the 'flush-out'. Open all doors and windows so at the end you have a nice fresh house.

    • See 1 previous
    • Johnchip Johnchip on Jan 19, 2016
      @Kim Open them anyway.. actually the drastic change in temp will help rid the odor!

  • Sheri N Sheri N on Jan 14, 2016
    You might try running water through all the showers, bathtubs and sinks in the house that haven't been used for a while. Running the water will act as a natural barrier and keep the smell from the sewer returning through your pipes.

  • Pat Bowman Pat Bowman on Jan 14, 2016
    If you have water that just sits you need to run water at least once a week. A friend had that problem. She had a bathtub that wasn't used and the plumber said that was the problem. It worked for her. It has been a long time and no bad smells.

  • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Jan 14, 2016
    Agreed, you need to run water throughout all of the drains to clean out all of the traps throughout your house. There will be a trap at every shower, tub and sink. Also, if you are on a slab or have a basement there might be a drain somewhere that has a trap that has dried out of water: meaning you need to get water in that trap to keep the smell out.

  • Laura Sutherland Platt Laura Sutherland Platt on Jan 14, 2016
    Certainly sounds like your traps are dry. Flush every toilet, run every sink and poor a bucket of water down any drains in the entire house. Dry drain tile can cause this too, if you have a sump pump make sure it has a little water in it or flush with some water. for some reason when it gets bitter cold this happens. GOOD LUCK!!

  • Lisa House Lisa House on Jan 14, 2016
    Don't forget the toilets, especially if you have an extra bathroom that is not used much.

  • Kim Kim on Jan 19, 2016
    The sewer smell is coming up through the heating vents. Plumber said the pipes are picking up the smell from spillage from the cleaning...and that the smell should dissipate with time. Umm...seriously? How long I wonder. Can't open windows due to cold weather.