19 answers

Sewage Smell in Home

There is a funny odor in our home. Its not alway there but at times it smells like rotten eggs or sewage. Iv'e read that it could be a clogged vent on the roof. My husband checked them and there was no clog. We are afraid it is a broekn pipe or something we can't get to. Has anyone else come across this problem?

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Thanks everyone. I forgot to mention that we are on city water amd the smell is through out the whole house sometimes. Also its not chinese drywall because our home is not new construction. My guess it that its the vent pipe that is closest to the ac. If my husband can not figure it out then the only thing left is a plummber. Thank you everyone for your advice.

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Yes and it is probably a broken sewage pipe under the house. The sooner you call a plumber the better. I use Danny Septic. He goes all over, does a great job and for a very fair price. He's been my sewer and drain man for over 10 years. Good luck.

When we lived in NY we had a pipe break underground that caused a back up. I would consult a good plumber.

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It seems as if it's coming from the structure, not the sink like others suggested, as you say it comes from the vents and don't mention having this smell only when the water is turned on. The only thing I can think of therefore, and which others have suggested, is Chinese drywall, which smells like sulfur. The Environmental Protection Agency confirms there is a problem with drywall, but says the breadth and severity of that problem are unknown. “It is the drywall, and from what I gather it is causing a problem with copper and, specifically, air conditioning units,” said Dawn Harris-Young, spokeswoman from the EPA’s Region 4 in Atlanta. After new home buyers in Fort Myers Florida complained about the sulfur odors, the builder had the Chinese drywall tested and determined that it was the problem. The builder replaced the drywall in one house and used ozone, fogging and barrier paint in the other. Florida health department officials have received over 50 complaints from around the state about these problems. It can make the coils and copper in your a/c turn black, so some people say this can be a hint of the problem, or if your a/c coils need constant replacement. Good luck, I hope for your sake it isn't this problem, as it is hard to get the builder to cover your costs of having to basically redo your home due to the drywall they chose to use. This is even harder to accomplish when builders go bankrupt or take off, something that's becoming very common nowadays.

My mother just had this happen and it reeked! She had to have someone completely empty her water tank then they added bleach to the tank and ran it through the pipes for a while to clean the pipes and tank out. It smelled like eggs then bleach and finally her smell was gone! The men that came to do this said that if this didn't work she would need a new water tank! Hope this helps!

Yes and it is probably a broken sewage pipe under the house. The sooner you call a plumber the better. I use Danny Septic. He goes all over, does a great job and for a very fair price. He's been my sewer and drain man for over 10 years. Good luck.

I've heard this can happen when you need your septic system cleaned out.

Not to discount the other theories..
but particularly if you are on a well system (your own private well or a community well) it could be sulphur. It smells a lot like rotten eggs. Occasionally ours will get that smell until the company that manages our community well comes out to tinker and recalibrate, etc.

Also, if your water has not been run for a while (you went out of town) it can build up. If THAT is the case, then running all the taps with hot water for a while will usually get rid of it. If either of these is what is happening, then no water softener that I know of can help.. but adding an aerator to they system can.
Good luck. I hope it is something simple and not a big expensive problem when all is said and done.

I am not sure if someone else responded to this. But my husband does chinese dry wall inspections and one of the most obvious signs is the odor of rotten eggs. You will won't to get this checked out. Please let me know if I can help. He is an inspector and could atleast tell you if it is present. also if you want information about what it is he is a great source. Please let me know if you would like his phone number. N. W

I have the same problem, but only when it rains. We have city water. It was not chinese dry wall and we cleaned out the septic tank and it kept happening. If this is also your scenario, you must do a "smoke" test. This should be done by a reputable plumber. It can be either the AC vent was connected incorrectly to the "escape" pipe of the plumbing or vents were not properly installed in the bathroom so when the pressure changes outside (like in a storm) the smell rises and is not trapped in the pipe like it is supposed to. Or it could be both like ours. Not a fun process I can assure you!

A couple things come to mind.
1.Do you have a septic tank, or are you on city sewer? If you have a septic tank, it probably needs to be pumped (yucky, I know). Don't do what I did: ignore it until it backs up into your house and floods and ruins your carpet (and fills your house with sewage- that was a disaster!).
2.Are you on city or well water? Well water can smell nasty at times! Ours got so bad I didn't even want to brush my teeth, so I spent a chunk of money and got hooked up to city water, and have not regretted it.
3.If neither of those apply to you, but you believe its a plumbing issue, I can recommend a great plumber.
Good luck!

Isn't that a sign of chinese drywall? Are u in a newer home?

E., we had a similar situation in our home. Every time I washed dishes in the kitchen sink, I could smell this terrible odor. It was only apparent while washing dishes. My husband had to snake the pipe in the kitchen. When our house was built, the plumber did something with the pipe that prevents everything from flowing through smoothly and "slime" gets collected and eventually backs up the line. What we do now is periodically throw draino down the sink to break up the slime and then it passes through and there is no more odor. I would suggest putting draino in the pipes and see if it clears up the odor.

check under your fridge for a drip pan. mine does this sometimes when it needs to be emptied and cleaned. most fridges have them. just pull it out and look under it. you should see a plastic pan that you can pull out.

if you are on a well.. it could be the sulfur. You can go buy some salt rocks and put them in your water tank. and then buy some chlorine tablets and put them in the airerator (sp). sulfur smells like rotten eggs. your water will also taste funny. good luck

When we lived in NY we had a pipe break underground that caused a back up. I would consult a good plumber.

If you have a septic... it sounds like you need it pumped.. God Bless

Rotten egg smell could be a gas leak. Thats what mine was. If you have gas in your house you should have the gas company come out to inspect it. They should inspect for free bbut they may charge to fix if its inside your house. Mine was outside so I got lucky. Hope that helps. Happy new Year!

How long have you been in this home? Do you have city or well water. Or is the city's water coming from somewhere that might have a high sulfur content. My parents have well water and honestly, it always smells like rotten eggs. If the water has a lot of sulfur in it, then it will smell bad. It's just not always strong. If it's not the water, then it might be something in the house somewhere. I can only think of two things that smell like rotten eggs. Rotten eggs, and sulfur. If it is more of a sewage smell, then you should have a plummer look at your pipes. You may have a back-up somewhere. If there was a leak somewhere at a point in the past that got into the walls, it could have left sulfur behind. I've never heard of the Chinese drywall problem (and I live in Florida) but that could be worth looking into if you can't find other causes.

It may be the drywall from China. Supposedly it has a sulphuric smell like rotten eggs. Good luck.

We once had that at a office I worked in. There was a pipe above the bathroom that had not been connected, and that was causing the smell to come in the office. After that was connected everything was ok. Don't know if this is your problem, but you might check it out just in case.


Sounds like a smell associated with Chinese Dry Wall...you should look into this.

Here is an informative website about what to look for and check

Good luck!

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