Imagine having guests over, and suddenly it smells like sewage outside your house. That can be embarrassing, but the truth is that awful sewage smell is more common than you think. The foul odor can come from different places in your house, but why?

It smells like sewage outside your house because your P-trap may be dried out, a common problem that can cause sewer gas smells. Your P-trap must have a proper vent to prevent sewer gasses from leaking into your home. Bad sewage smell may come from the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room.

This article will discuss the causes of sewage odor and what you can do about it.

The Causes of Sewage Odor Outside the Home

Sometimes you may notice a foul smell outside your house, and you suspect that the stench might come from your sewer or septic tank. Well, you might be right after all. If the problem indeed comes from your sewer, you have to attend to the problem right away.

Dried-Out P-Trap

If you can sense a sewage smell outside your house, the problem might be caused by a dried-out P-trap. A P-trap is a u-shaped pipe used in toilets and sinks, and it holds a small amount of water to prevent sewer gases containing viruses and bacteria from rising and entering your home through the drain. Poor ventilation can cause gasses to leak, hence the sewage smell.

A P-trap can lose its water for some reasons — maybe it’s not being used or leaking. The P-trap might also be clogged by a clump of hair that slowly pushes water down to the point that it can break the water seal. If the P-trap is empty, sewer gases will eventually enter your house.

Broken Vent Pipe

If your vent pipe is broken, a sewage smell will be able to enter your house. In this case, you’ll need to call in a professional to help you fix the problem. The sewage smell is usually more evident in the summer or when the weather is warmer.

A vent pipe (or air vent) is essential in plumbing because it removes gas and odors from the sewer. It would help if you had a vent pipe to allow fresh air into your plumbing system. A vent pipe helps water flow smoothly through your drain pipes.

Every time you flush your toilet or drain your sink, your vent pipes will provide fresh air to the plumbing system in your house and get water to move through your drainage pipes. The pipes ensure proper air pressure in the waste system by allowing exhaust gases to flow smoothly through the vent. The air vent is what prevents air from “gulping” through traps when pipes are drained. 

Your home’s vent has to work together correctly with your drainage system to get rid of water and waste efficiently that will end up in the city sewer or a septic tank. Your plumbing vent pipes are on your roofs, and they’re usually a little further away from windows so that fumes can disappear quickly.

Can Sewer Gases Make You Sick?

Sewer gases not only smell bad but are hazardous and can make you sick. That’s because sewer gases are methane. When in significant amounts, methane can become a fire hazard.

When too much methane is present around your home, you can get headaches or nausea, and you might feel weak, dizzy, lose consciousness, or worse, suffocate. You must identify the root of the problem and get the problem fixed as soon as you notice it.

How to Make Sewage Odor Go Away

If you have cleaned your house, and yet, you still smell the sewage odor outside your home, then you would know that the smell comes from your septic tank. Usually, the awful gases will go through your plumbing roof vent pipe. However, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and methane gases might get pulled down into your yard, hence the sewage smell outside your house.

Clean Your Shower Drain

Always check your shower drain because there might be a problem in your drainage system after all. Sometimes, the products you use in the shower can build up and create a biofilm, which refers to microorganisms that attach to surfaces. Biofilms are a slimy community of bacteria, and they can cause the deaths of tens of thousands of people across the U.S. each year.

You can use a DIY cleaner to clean your shower drain. Boil water and wait for it to cool down until about 149°F (65°C) before pouring the hot water into the shower drain. Add a cup of distilled vinegar to the water and pour ½ cup of baking soda into the drain.

After 2 hours, pour hot water into the drain. Then, using a brush, clear any debris left in the drain.

If the water in your p-trap starts to evaporate from your shower, then sewer gas can leak into your home. Thankfully, you can fill your P-trap with water again. Go around your house and pour water down every drain at your home.

Fix Your Toilet

Your toilet can smell if you have an improper installation or a cut vent pipe. You’ll need to get a plumber to help you out. If your toilet has a broken or loose seal, you can fix the problem by applying caulk to your toilet’s seal and the bold holes.

Should I Be Worried About Sewage Smell Outside My House?

Just because you can smell sewer smells from your septic tank vent doesn’t mean that your septic system has problems. It’s normal for hydrogen sulfide to smell awful as it’s the by-product of wastes that have been broken down within your septic tank. The hydrogen sulfide usually flows out of your roof vent and dissipates, but sometimes it gets pulled down into your yard and causes your yard to stink, plus an unclean environment.

Final Thoughts

Foul sewage odor is more common than you might have imagined. The stench usually comes from the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room. It occurs when the P-trap is dried out or if you don’t have proper ventilation to stop sewer gases from leaking into your home.

Sewer gases can make you sick because they contain hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and methane. Sometimes, gases might get pulled down into the yard, hence a foul sewage smell outside your house. You can avoid this by making sure your P-trap isn’t empty, your home has adequate ventilation, and your shower drains are clean.

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