Sewer Odor

If there is a sewer odor in your home or business, you may notice it more when the heat is being used. We get a lot more calls for sewer odor problems this time of year when the furnaces are being fired up again as the weather cools. The heating system fans pick up the odor and spread it through the building. The first step is to check all the traps in your floor drains. Floor drains traps have to have water in them so that sewer odor cannot escape from them. If this is not the problem further investigation is needed.

Sewer odor diagram

The sewer system of a building is called a drain waste and vent system (DWV). Part of the DWV system is underground piping which drains water and waste from the building.

Sewer odor diagram in home

Part of the DWV system is not underground and runs in the walls. The vent portion of the DWV system exits through the roof and is the vent stack. Normally if there is an odor it is the above ground portion of the system where there is a leak or break in the system. To find leaks in the upper DWV system we use smoke testing. A smoke is induced into the DWV system and smoke escapes from the breach in the system. American Leak Detection has a continuous smoke unit that continues to place smoke into the system. It is much more effective than the smoke bombs often used. Smoke bombs give off a limited amount of smoke and may not fill up the system. This is especially true if the problem is in a drain/waste pipe in the wall behind drywall. What kind of problems do we usually find?

Sewage hose coming out of houseSewage pipes on ground

We find toilets that are no longer sealed, often due to wax ring deterioration. The toilet sits on a wax ring where it attaches to the waste system. We find nail holes in the pipes behind the wall. A nail could be in slight contact with the pipe after construction and over many years the nail wears a hole in the pipe. Occasionally sewer odor can be a result of the underground waste plumbing. For this problem normally the pipe is inspected with a sewer camera.

Underground waste cleaning

If you notice a sewer smell in your home or business do not hesitate. Call American Leak Detection (the original leak specialist).

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