Gone Outdoors

How to Eliminate Sewer Gas Smell in Drains

by Cecilia Harsch

Many factors can allow sewer gasses to invade your home. Water evaporating from a P-trap, dirt and scum buildup along the sides of a shower or floor drain, a blockage in a sewer vent pipe and a damaged wax ring beneath the toilet can either simulate sewer gas smells or allow actual sewer gases to escape into your home. Repairing, cleaning and replacing these items can eliminate the sewer gas smell in your drains. Contact a plumber if none of these repairs alleviates the sewer gas smell.

1. Pour 1 or 2 qt. of water down the drains in your home. Adding water back to the P-trap in the drain can eliminate the sewer gas smell.

2. Remove the strainer off shower, tub and floor drains. Let the strainer soak in soap and water while you clean the drain pipe.

3. Scrub the inside of the pipe with a nylon bristled scrub brush, such as a round dishwashing brush or a disposable toilet brush; the one you choose depends on the diameter of the drain. Pour clean water down the drain to thoroughly clean the sides of the drain.

4. Remove the strainer from the water, and scrub off the gunk with the nylon brush. Rinse the strainer, and replace it onto the drain.

5. Access your roof and check the vent pipes for bird’s nests or other items that could clog the vent pipes. Remove the items clogging the vent pipe to allow the sewer gasses to escape.

6. Turn off the water supplying the toilet at the valve beneath the water tank. Drain the toilet by flushing the tank.

7. Disconnect the supply line from the tank with an adjustable wrench. Remove the two tank bolts from beneath the tank holding the tank to the bowl. Lift the tank from the bowl, and carefully set the tank on a blanket or towel spread over the floor.

8. Remove the two nuts from the flange bolts on the bottom of the toilet bowl. The flange bolts hold the toilet bowl to the floor and the drain.

9. Scrape away the original wax ring from the top of the drain line and the bottom of the toilet bowl. Install a replacement wax ring onto the bottom of the toilet bowl, and set the toilet bowl back over the drain. Replace the flange nuts onto the flange bolts.

10. Place the tank back onto the toilet bowl and reconnect the water supply line to the tank. Turn on the water supply to the toilet.

Items you will need
  • Phillips or slotted screwdriver
  • Soap
  • Nylon bristled scrub brush
  • Wax ring
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Blanket or towel

About the Author

Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.

Photo Credits

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