If you're suddenly noticing a sewer odor in your home, there are several possible causes ranging from minor and easy to fix, to more serious problems. Here are some things to check first:
1. Check the floor drain trap. Without water to block the sewer gas from escaping, odors will enter the room. Pour water down the floor drain to refill the trap.
2. Check the clean-out plug inside the floor drain. Remove the grate that covers the drain and make sure there's a plug inside the drain bowl. If the plug is missing, sewer gas will be able to bypass the water trap. A replacement plug can be bought at most home supply stores.
3. Unused toilets. When toilets are unused for a long period of time the water in the trap will eventually evaporate. Flushing the toilet will refill the trap.
4. Worn toilet wax ring. The wax ring seals the toilet flange to the toilet base. If the wax ring cracks, sewer gas can escape from the pipe beneath the toilet. If the ring is worn or broken, the toilet will need to be removed and a new wax ring installed. If the toilet is loose on the base, shims can be used to ensure the toilet doesn't shift and break the new wax ring.
Other possible causes of sewer odors include a broken or cracked sewer line or, less often, a loose connection joint in an interior wall. If you've checked the other possibilities above, it's time to contact your plumber to hunt down the cause.
Have sewer and drain line questions? Call Maitz Home Services, we can help will all your sewer and drain problems.