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What's Causing the Sewage Smell tn Your Bathroom That Won't Go Away

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A consistent sewage-like odor in your bathroom is rarely a sign of something serious, and can usually be corrected by inspecting and repairing any one of a few different plumbing components. Failing toilet seals, clogged vents, and a buildup of gunk and bacteria in your drains can all cause this smell, and with the help of a plumber, these issues can usually be corrected quickly.

Failing Toilet Seal

Every toilet is fastened securely to the floor with a wax ring, also called a toilet bowl gasket. This ring keeps an airtight seal, ensuring that everything goes properly down the drain. When this ring starts to fail, it can lose its airtight seal and allow gasses from your sewer or septic tank to come back up. It can also allow waste to seep out of the toilet onto your floor rather than going down the drain like it's supposed to, though this may not be visible unless there is a large amount of waste or water.

If your toilet is old or feels only loosely attached to the floor, contact a plumber to take a look and make sure the seal is intact or repaired.

Clogged Plumbing Vents

Plumbing vents make sure that the water inside your drains flows smoothly. If any of these vents are clogged, this can cause two main problems. First, liquids may drain more slowly even if the pipes are clear. Second, gasses from your sewer or septic tank that are usually filtered harmlessly outside your house will now come up through your drains instead.

If you've noticed that liquids seem to be draining more slowly at the same time you smell this odor, the vents could be your problem. Locating and accessing your plumbing vents can sometimes be a challenge, so ask a plumber to help you find and fix the problem.

Gunk in Drains

A lot of cleaning products, waste, and more flow down your drains on a regular basis, and some of that can get stuck on the inside of the pipes. As this happens, more and more gunk builds up together and bacteria starts to grow it. This bacteria emits a toxic gas called hydrogen sulfide, which smells a lot like rotten eggs. The good news is that this fix usually only requires having your drains cleaned. These buildups of gunk can be stubborn and may not get cleared with typical pipe cleaners and chemicals, so you should ask a plumber for help.

Dry P-traps

P-traps are useful for more than just catching things we accidentally drop down the drain. The water that stays at the bottom of the P-traps prevents gasses from coming back up your pipes. If you haven't used a sink or tub in a little while, this water can evaporate, letting these fumes out through the drains above. You can test this by running some water down every drain in the area in which you notice the odor. If this fixes the problem, it's likely you only need to run water down your drains more consistently to keep the fumes at bay.