Omnia Mechanical Group

571 Timpson Place Bronx, NY 10455

Phone: 212-534-2500

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Possible Causes of Sewer Gas Smell in Bathrooms

Why does my bathroom smell like sewage? This is a troubling question for property owners, as the bothersome odor can signal significant problems in the plumbing system. Unfortunately, there isn’t necessarily one simple solution. A licensed plumber can assess the situation, but the extent of the repair and labor depends on the severity of the issue.

To correct a sewer gas smell in a bathroom, you must find the source, of which there are several possibilities. Because different causes require a targeted solution, professional inspections are paramount to the repair process. Discover the potential causes of sewer gas smells in bathrooms.

5 Top Causes of Sewer Gas Smell in the Bathroom

1. Dry P-Trap

A P-trap is a drainpipe with a U-shaped bend, named after its shape, which resembles the flipped letter. The P shape traps water to prevent sewer gas from entering the space.

A bathroom has several p-traps, typically under the sink, shower, and bathtub. If any of these traps dry out, smelly sewer gases may emanate from the sink, shower, or bathtub drain.

The trap should not dry out as long as it sees regular use, but in an apartment complex, especially with vacant units, this is a likely cause of a sewer gas smell in the bathroom. The problem arises from the slow process of evaporation in the line. Typically, a P-trap can take a month or longer to dry out fully, but it can happen more quickly in the winter.

You can avoid a dry P-trap by running the sink or shower in vacant units once weekly for a few minutes. If this doesn’t resolve the problem, call Sanitary Plumbing and schedule an inspection. A crack in the P-trap or poor connection and seal may be causing the trap to drain or dry out.

2. Clogged Drains

Clogged drains can cause or encourage sewer gas smells in the bathroom by impeding drainage and ventilation. Bathroom drains are especially susceptible to clogs and blockages because of accumulated debris, like hair or soap scum buildup. The blockages can occur near ventilation routes, forcing gases back up or toward bathroom drains.

The solution for a clogged drain depends on the material causing the blockage. A plumber might use a plunger, drain auger, or enzymatic cleaner. Because of the dangers involved in mixing bathroom cleaners and chemicals, it is best to leave tough clog removal to the professionals.

3. Broken Pipes

Sewer lines may break or sustain damage because of age, corrosion, or ground movement. The cracks can lead to a sewer gas smell in a bathroom because the openings allow gas to escape the line. Damaged pipes often result in an unrelenting odor.

Because these lines deal with waste and sewage, always call professionals for the repairs. Licensed plumbers are necessary to ensure repairs are correct and meet NYC building code requirements. Sanitary Plumbing’s team understands the laws, regulations, and safety protocols for dealing with sewer line repairs.

4. Vent Pipe Issues

Your property’s sewer gas ventilation system is a network of pipes leading from waste pipes to the primary vent stack or plumbing vent to the outside, typically venting on the roof. The purpose of the system is to create a channel for sewer gases to flow naturally out of the building.

Sometimes, an interruption, blockage, clog, or other damage restricts the pathway out of the building, causing a sewer gas smell in a bathroom. A clog in the vent pipe may cause other symptoms, such as slow-moving water in the drains or gurgling sounds in the toilet.

5. Rare Culprits

Other less common causes of sewer gas smells in bathrooms include leaking wax rings, broken toilets, or sewer main issues. A damaged wax ring is rarely the culprit because the rings can last 20 or 30 years, equal to the typical life of a toilet.

While a broken or cracked toilet can cause sewer smells, it is difficult to break or damage these fixtures. A typical toilet has a weight capacity of 500-800 lbs.; they are robust and designed to last.

Finally, if a city sewer main collapses, deforms, or deteriorates, it can force sewer gases back up through drains in the building. Fortunately, collapses are rare.

Professional Inspection and Diagnosis

Understanding the Potential Risks

Toxic and nontoxic gases combine to create sewer gas, a mixture of hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, methane, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide. The characteristic rotten-egg stench is the product of the decomposition of organic waste in sewage systems, along with solvent odors. Many people don’t dispose of cleaning supplies and chemicals correctly, leading to the wafting concoction.

A sewer gas smell in a bathroom can be hazardous. Low levels of sewer gas can cause coughing fits, dizziness, and eye irritation. Moderate to high levels of exposure can cause headaches, loss of consciousness, and death.

In addition, sewer gas presents a fire and explosion risk. A concentration of methane in a small space, like a bathroom, can lead to an explosion through an inadvertent spark or lit match.

Taking Prompt Action and Preventing Future Problems

You can limit the risk of sewer gas hazards by contacting a licensed plumber at the first whiff. The presence of noxious gas calls for emergency plumbing.

Sanitary Plumbing provides emergency services and annual service contracts. Our service agreements include inspections and maintenance.

Annual Service Contracts To Prevent a Sewer Gas Smell in the Bathroom

Hire Sanitary Plumbing for Your Maintenance and Repair Needs

The smell of sewage in your building may stem from several problems. Fortunately, you can avoid ever dealing with the smell with proper and timely maintenance and inspections.

Sanitary Plumbing, a trusted New York City institution, can help. With an annual service contract, you ensure your system receives the upkeep and care it needs to avoid both common and complex problems. Call us at 212-734-5000 to discuss service contracts or schedule an inspection of your system to determine the cause of a sewer gas smell in a bathroom in your building.


Our Privacy Policy

Omnia Mechanical Group(the “Company”) strives to ensure the highest standards for property listings and customer information privacy. Please review the following statement to learn about our company practices and policies. Please be aware that our Privacy Policy is subject to change at any time.

1. Purpose.

This Privacy Policy (“the Policy”) provides information on how the Company uses your personal information. By agreeing to the Policy, you agree to our collection and use of your personal information as described in the Policy. This Privacy Policy is effective for all new users of Sanitaryplumbing.com.

2. Personal Information.

You can browse some areas of Antler.nyc (“the Website”) without being a registered user. However, certain activities do require registration. (You consent to the transfer and storage of your information by registering with Antler.nyc). We may collect and store the following personal information:

  • Name, email, address, telephone number, and (depending on the service used), move-in dates;
  • Transactional information (such as lease terms, lease parties);
  • Computer sign-on data, statistics on page views, and traffic to and from the Website; and
  • Other information, including IP address and other web log information.

3. Use of Information.

Our primary purpose in collecting personal information is to provide you with a safe and user-friendly experience. For example, the Company may use your personal information to:

  • Improve our services and the Website’s content and layout;
  • Provide the services and necessary customer support you request;
  • Resolve disputes, collect fees, and troubleshoot problems;
  • Track and record customer satisfaction with our services;
  • Protect the Company against error and fraud;
  • Inform you of special promotions and announcements;
  • Enforce our agreements, terms, conditions, and policies; and
  • As otherwise described to you at the time of collection.

We may occasionally ask you to complete optional surveys. These surveys are used to improve and customize your experience with Sanitaryplumbing.com.

The Company always provides you the ability to opt-out of further communication such as promotions and surveys; see the Opt-Out section below.

The Company does not share any of your personal information with outside organizations, companies, individuals, etc. The only exception to this standard is if such a disclosure is reasonably necessary to respond to any and all legal processes.

4. Links to Other Sites.

The Website may have links to other websites that may collect personally identifiable information about you. The Company is not responsible for the privacy practices of the content of those linked websites.

5. Safety & Security Precautions.

The Website has strict security measures in place to protect you and your information from fraud. Once your information is provided to Antler Pump & Motor Corporation, we strive to ensure the confidentiality of your identity and information.

6. Opt-Out.

The Company provides you with the opportunity to opt-out of receiving promotional and other non-essential, marketing-related communications from Antler Pump & Motor Corporation. If you would like to opt-out of these select communications, please see any of the Company’s email communications and follow the directions indicated.

7. Account Protection.

Your password ensures the security of your account. When choosing a password, the Company suggests using various characters. It is highly recommended that you do not disclose your Sanitaryplumbing.com password to anyone. (If you do disclose your password or your personal information with others, you are responsible for all actions taken in the name of your account.) If the security of your password is compromised for any reason, please contact the Company immediately.

8. Accuracy of Information

The Company does not guarantee the accuracy of information for any and all of its properties on the Website, and is not responsible for any errors or misrepresentations (made by Renters, the Client, or otherwise).

9. Cookies

The Company may place a small cookie on your computer’s hard drive. This allows us to personalize your use on the Website. In order to maximize the functionality and usability of the Website, you must set your browser’s preferences to allow both permanent and temporary cookies.

10. Changing Your Personal Information.

Should your personal information change, please immediately update your information on the Website. This will ensure the accuracy of our records. The Company does retain personal information from closed accounts in order to comply with law and collect and disburse any fees owed.

11. Third Parties

This Privacy Policy addresses only the use of information we collect from you. Since Antler.nyc does not control the privacy policies of third parties, you are subject to the privacy policies of those third parties. It is advisable that you consult with the management of third parties before you disclose your personal information to others.

12. General

We may amend this Privacy Policy at any time by posting the amended terms on the Website. All amended terms are immediately effective after they are initially posted on the Website.

13. Privacy Policy Questions & Concerns

Questions and/or concerns regarding the Policy should be emailed to the following email address: info@omniagroup.nyc.