Smells Like Sewage? Here’s Why

Posted on
Man plugging his nose because of foul smelling sewer vent

Smelling sewage outside or in your home can feel and be alarming. There are a variety of causes, fortunately not all of them major. With that said, don’t take too deep of a breath (if it’s smelly), and know that you have a team ready to help. Not only that, but we have this article for you to learn what may be causing unpleasant smells in your home and what you can do.

How it Works

Before we get into the causes, here’s a quick recap of how sewer related plumbing works. Drain pipes move sewage and waste water out of your home to the main sewer line which dumps it into the septic tank or municipal sewer system. The sewer clean out is the access point to the sewer line. The plumbing vent allows sewer gases/odors to escape outside, since the septic tank is submerged under ground.

Image Source:

Sewers Smells Inside the House

Now, thorough cleaning will usually get annoying smells out in the kitchen and bathroom. However, if odors persist, the culprits might be hiding in the walls or under sinks.

  1. Clogged Drains: Drains tend to clog up when materials are improperly disposed of. Toilets should only carry water, waste and toilet paper. Nothing else, including feminine products, “flushable” wipes, floss, etc. Sink and shower drains tend to accumulate hair, sand and dirt so keeping those out will help keep drains clear. Nonetheless, drains get stinky when water can’t go through and things just sit. You can read more about drain cleaning solutions in this blog post.
  2. Cracked or Leaky Drains: While clogged drains trap waste and odors, cracked and leaking drain pipes will seep it. So not only will your nose know it, you might see wet/moist spots in the floor or underneath the sink. Keep an eye out for those and call a plumber if you notice leaking.

Sewer Smells Outside of the House

Smelling sewage outside your home? It’s most likely the sewer vent pipe (aka plumbing vent) on your roof or a damaged sewer line. Professional help is highly advised when dealing with venting and the actual sewer line.

  1. Roof Vent Pipe: These pipes carry sewer odors and release them outside. When improperly installed or cut too short, gases can linger around the home. Should the vents inside the home get clogged, gases get stuck and seep through the walls. Usually in the bathroom, laundry, and other places where vents are directly connected. 
  2. Sewer Line: A damaged sewer line will do more than just stink and needs professional attention immediately. Look out for wet/soggy spots in the yard, clogged toilets and sinks, and sewage coming up in your bathroom drains. Here’s more on that. Since the sewer line runs through the front yard, it will be your responsibility to get it repaired.
  3. Weather: Believe it or not, winds and outdoor temperature can also impact the severity of the sewage smell. The wind can carry sewer odors coming from the vent pipe down and around the home. Hot weather can cause the smell to stick around. Though weather isn’t the direct cause of the smell, it can still impact how much you smell sewage outside your home.


Simspon Plumbing: Your Local Plumber

Don’t want to deal with the dirty work? You don’t have to! Our team will take care of the clogged and leaky drains, diagnose the sewer line using a sewer scope, and help with any other plumbing services you need. After all, we’re here to help you take care of your home. Contact us today.

About Us Services Plans Commercial