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7 Reasons Why Your Toilet Smells Like Sewer

You walk into your toilet and crumple your nose as you detect the faint smell of sewage. While most home toilets are once-in-a-while homes to foul odors, this one is uniquely out of place. Your toilet smells like a sewer! 

What could be the cause of this?

Your toilet could be smelling like a sewer for many reasons, which vary from bacteria to mold to plumbing hitches. If using fresheners has not helped you, then it is time to explore further into this.

In this article, I discuss what could be causing your toilet to smell like sewer and how you can fix it.

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Why Your Toilet Smells Like Sewer

1. Sewer Backup

If your toilet smells like a sewer after heavy rainfall, it could be a result of sewer backup. During heavy rains, the extra runoff water puts pressure on the city’s sewer system, leading to sewer’s backflow into individual lines. The backflow may cause sewage to back up into your home.

Nonetheless, when pressure is not as high, there may not be a sewage backflow into your home, but sewage gasses trapped in your lines may be pushed back into your house, causing a sewer smell in your toilet.

2. Damaged Toilet

After serving you for a long time, your toilet could be damaged because of wear and tear. This could be the reason why you have it smelling like a sewer. 

A good example is when the wax sealing found at the base of your toilet loosens up, creating tiny gaps that may cause smelly sewer gas to leak into your bathroom.

Also, small cracks in your toilet bowl can cause water leaks which may end up causing a drop in water levels in the P-trap. Low P-trap water levels might give way to sewage gasses into your bathroom, causing the sewage smell. 

If your toilet is experiencing this problem, it will be good to engage the services of a professional to have the problem addressed.

3. Shower Drain Clogs

Pieces of shower gel, soap, dead skin, hair, and other kinds of debris may cause clogging in your shower drains.

If you notice a sewer smell in your toilet accompanied by minor flooding when taking showers, you could be handling a case of the clogged shower drain.

You can solve this problem by yourself since it is straightforward. Nonetheless, it can be messy. You can call a professional to help you fix it if you do not like getting your hands dirty.

If you decide to handle it yourself, this is how you can do it:

Unscrew the shower drain cover. Then pour a mixture of hot water and vinegar slowly into the drain in a continuous stream before adding 1 cup of baking soda. Allow it to sit for 2 hours.

This treatment is sufficient to loosen up the debris. 

After the two hours, use a drain brush to remove any solid matter that may be trapped in the drain and then run clean water for a few minutes. Screw back the drain cover into place…and you are done!

4. Dry P-Trap

A dry P-trap ranks among the most common causes of sewer smell in your toilet. The P-trap is a U-shaped pipe found under the drains or sinks. It traps water beneath the drain, preventing sewer smells from reaching the bathroom.

There is a possibility that water in the P-trap will dry out if you do not use your bathroom sinks regularly. This will allow sewer gasses to flow freely into your toilet.

Fixing this problem is straightforward. Run some water into the sink for a few minutes, and voila! The problem is fixed! Also, you can add a little baking soda into the drains to get rid of any possibility of clogging.

5. Plumbing Problems

A broken, clogged or poorly installed vent pipe can cause your toilet to smell like sewage. The breather of your sewerage system is the vent pipe. When it is clogged, it may cause sewer gasses to back up into the toilet and sink. You may notice bubbling sounds from the toilet or the drain as sewer gas forces its way into the bathroom.

Potential causes of blocked vent pipe could be poor installation or blockages caused by solid objects that find their way into the vents. To handle this problem, check the vent for any blockages and get rid of them where possible, or engage a professional.

6. Bacteria Build-Up

The sewer system is an excellent environment for harmful bacteria, which can find their way into your toilet and begin multiplying under the toilet bowl, ending up becoming a source of foul smell in the bathroom. This is particularly common in hot seasons when bacteria multiply rapidly.

You can use bleach to eliminate bacteria growth. Nonetheless, you need more than just swishing the bleach around the toilet bowl. You can add the bleach to the flush tank and flush the toilet a couple of times to eradicate the bacteria menace.

7. Full Septic Tank

Your toilet could be smelling like a sewer because of the septic tank in your compound that is connected to your drainage system. When your septic tank is full, you may start hearing bubbling sounds from the drains and the toilet, and your toilet may become sluggish. This may then be followed by a sewer smell in your toilet.

The solution to this is simple: Drain the septic tank. Check your septic tank levels regularly to avoid being caught off guard by a full tank.

By and large, the toilet is one of the sacred parts of any home. Nonetheless, a sewage smell can make a mess of the tranquility. Your toilet smelling like a sewer may be a source of embarrassment, especially when you have visitors around. Hence, you need to address the issue with urgency.

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