The smell from the sewer in the apartment: types of technical malfunctions and methods for their elimination

Vasily Borutsky
Checked by a specialist: Vasily Borutsky
Author: Lyudmila Gudkova
Last update: April 2019

The specific smell from the sewage system in the apartment is hardly compatible with a cozy home atmosphere and thoughtful housing design. Do not try to disguise it with various air fragrances: you need to establish the cause and solve the problem.

We will tell you how to deal with the negative atmosphere created by the spread of unpleasant volatile compounds. The article proposed for consideration describes in detail the reasons for the appearance of a sewer smell and the methods for its elimination. Based on our recommendations, the disgusting “scent” will disappear forever.

Smell Sources: Common Options

Modern houses are equipped with a well-thought-out sewer system designed to remove residual waste products. Its functioning is accompanied by specific odors, since sewage flowing through the pipes emit hydrogen sulfide and other unpleasant smelling substances.

With the correct operation of the aroma sewage system in the rooms (including the bathroom, kitchen, toilet), it is practically imperceptible. Its appearance indicates a malfunction in the functioning of technical communications or plumbing fixtures.

Establishing the cause of bad smell
If there is a smell of sewage, it is important to establish its source. If this cannot be done on your own, it is important to contact a specialist immediately.

The most common causes of stench can be:

  • Errors made during the installation of the sewer system. The appearance of odors in the room may be due to improper installation of pipes or loose connections.
  • Breakthrough sewer pipe in the central or apartment wiring. Leak can be either obvious or almost invisible: microcracks or a joint untreated with sealant are often enough to leak gases and moisture.
  • Poor siphon assembly quality or malfunction.This component of the sanitary construction plays an important role in preventing the access of fetid gases.
  • Clogged pipes or drains. Household waste, hair, food waste that accumulates in siphons or pipes begins to rot, highlighting a specific “aroma”.
  • Water shutter malfunctionas a result of which the "water plug" is destroyed, which prevents the appearance of sewage odors.
  • Defective ventilation, which are equipped with multi-unit and private houses. The system is designed to divert stench from the sewer; if she does a poor job, the stench penetrates the apartments.
  • Incorrect connection or violation of the operating rules of the washing machine. In some cases, a beneficial aggregate becomes a source of a specific odor.

In addition to the above, there are many other reasons that cause "aromas" in the room. Some of them are easily removable, others require the help of specialists, and often voluminous expensive work.

Below we will consider in detail the various sources of stench and tell what measures should be taken in specific cases.

Improper installation of communications

If the tenants who have moved into a new house, feel in the rooms not too pleasant “aroma”, perhaps the builders or independent home masters made mistakes in the device sewer system.

Due to violations associated with the laying of pipes - especially non-compliance with the angle of inclination, which is prescribed in the standards, the sewage in the pipes can stagnate, provoking a specific smell.

Distribution of a common sewerage system
When laying a sewer system, it is important to comply with engineering requirements: all work must be carried out in strict accordance with applicable standards

A cardinal way to get rid of stench will be the complete replacement of communications with the laying of a new system in strict accordance with the technical conditions.

In some cases (when using metal-plastic pipes) the situation can be saved by adjusting the tightened pipe joints, replacing the gaskets, and installing specially selected sealing lips.

In order to prevent clogging, it is periodically required to produce flushing the sewer system, whose implementation rules will be introduced by our proposed article.

Problems of common sewerage

If unpleasant odors are especially felt in the rooms on the lower floors and in the stairwell, the reason for their appearance is most likely hidden in the basement wiring.

The most obvious reasons are:

  • damaged pipe with effluent;
  • clogging of the centralized system caused by the actions of residents who violate the adopted regulations for the operation of plumbing fixtures.

Problems arising in a centralized communications system are considered an emergency. A liquid leak not only poisons the air, but also contributes to the development of microbes, causes dampness in residential premises, and undermines the foundation of the house, causing its destruction.

To resolve this situation, you should immediately contact the Management Company (ZhEK) by writing a detailed statement about the situation. After repairs, it is important to ventilate the basement well to eliminate accumulated moisture.

It is possible to get rid of the negative smell in the apartments of the upper floors by a simple reinforcement of work fan boner:

Disruptions in the functioning of the apartment

If the smell is felt only in places where hygiene devices are installed, it can be assumed that it is caused by defects in the apartment wiring.

Wiring in the apartment
If there is an unpleasant odor in the room, it is first of all necessary to inspect the wiring in the apartment, checking the tightness of the connections and the presence of implicit leaks

As a rule, the leak from the pipe is immediately visible, however, other, not so visually noticeable options are possible, which include the options described below.

Implicit Leak Result

In sewer systems made of traditional cast iron or currently popular plastic, fistulas, cracks, and other defects may occur.

Since the pipes are often walled in walls or in the floor, it is quite difficult to identify and eliminate such defects. It is especially difficult to determine the flow in interfloor partitions with difficult access to the sewer system.

Sewer pipe leak
Leaking in the sewage system often becomes a source of unpleasant odor. To eliminate it, you need to replace the damaged element or seal it with a special composition

In the place where an unpleasant odor appears, it should, as far as conditions permit, immediately check the pipes and their places of contact with the plumbing. If necessary, it is worth calling a specialist who will diagnose and professionally solve the problem.

Typically, to repair leaks, the system is replaced or sealed with modern materials or a cement mixture that does not contain sand (for cast iron pipes).

In order to prevent such defects, when installing an apartment wiring, you must not forget about the following rules:

  • when installing communications use only high-quality pipes, fittings;
  • carry out laying according to a scheme that provides for a minimum number of joints, since leaks most often occur in such nodes;
  • when installing pipes, provide access to the laid systems;
  • take care of high-quality waterproofing of walls, floors in bathrooms, in the kitchen.

Such measures will provide effective protection against leaks, and if necessary, will quickly eliminate the leak.

Lack of system tightness

Appearances the smell of sewage in the bathroom or a kitchen room can also be caused by a leak in the connection of the pipes or when they are docked with a sink, sink, other plumbing fixtures.

Sewer connection
Particular care should be taken to connect the sewer pipes. Joints should always be sealed to prevent moisture and odors.

It is important to carefully check the nodes connecting the devices to the sewer network, fix them, and then carefully eliminate the sealant to eliminate the minimum gaps and cracks. Often, such a simple manipulation allows you to get rid of the smell of sewage both in bathrooms and in the entire apartment.

Blockages and methods for their elimination

A common source of odors is blockages, which can occur in siphons, pipes. To avoid such a problem, it is necessary to follow the rules for the operation of plumbing fixtures.

Drain mesh
The mesh in the drain hole of the sink or sink traps dirt, effectively preventing the formation of blockages in the siphon or sewer pipes

A lot of help can be provided by such elementary devices as protective nets for trash collection installed on the drain holes of a sink or sink.

To eliminate “aromas” caused by clogged pipes, it is important to regularly clean them, which can be done in different ways:

  • traditional plunger;
  • a cable;
  • more complex hydrodynamic devices;
  • special chemicals.

When choosing a method, it is important to take into account both the degree of clogging and the material from which they are made sewer pipes. So, for systems made of cast iron, it is undesirable to use cleaning products containing aggressive components.

Siphon malfunctions

The culprit of the unpleasant smell that appears in the kitchen or in the bathroom can be a siphon - a knee-like curved device, which is located under the drain of the sink, sink, and bathtub. Due to the specific form of this device, its lower part is always filled with water, which prevents sewer gases from entering the room.

Siphon, an important part of plumbing
Incorrect assembly or malfunction of the siphon - an important component of sanitary fixtures - can cause a specific smell

The appearance of an unpleasant odor can be caused by the following violations of the installation and functioning of the siphon:

  • Wrong assembly. The outlet pipe should be located 2-3 centimeters below the water level in the hydraulic seal. However, one should not lower it below the specified distance, since in this case the height of the water plug will decrease and it will be easily torn off by flushing water.
  • No bending of corrugated pipe. There are several varieties of siphons. The installation of a device with a corrugation requires special attention: this option requires the independent formation of a knee-shaped pipe shape, which is fixed with clamps or other special devices.
  • Decrease in corrugation quality. Over time, this part is stretched, cracks appear on it, which violate the sealing. The solution will be to replace this component with a similar new one. It is also important to remember to regularly clean the corrugated pipe to prevent blockages.
  • Drying out. With easy-to-use water in the siphon, it can completely evaporate, as a result of which the sewage “aroma” will begin to penetrate into the room. Simple but effective measures will help to correct the situation: before the planned trip, completely fill the siphon by adding a little vegetable oil to the water. It will cover the liquid with a thin film that prevents the evaporation of moisture.You can also plug the drain hole (and, if necessary, overflow) with a pre-soaked damp cloth. Returning home, you need to drain the remaining water and refill the siphon.
  • Siphon blockage. Even a properly functioning siphon can emit a specific smell, due to the deposition of residues of fat, food, other substances on its walls, the decomposition of which causes stench. To prevent this, it is important to regularly clean siphons in bathrooms and in the kitchen, pouring boiling water into the hole of the sink (sink) and / or using special household chemicals.

The specific “aromas” caused by the siphon are fairly easy to stop. It is only important to observe a number of simple rules when installing and operating this device.

To prevent blockages and to care for the plumbing device, the siphon should be cleaned periodically:

After releasing the siphon from the accumulated dirt, the device must be assembled and installed in its place:

Problems with the water level in the hydraulic lock

Possible problems with siphon operation are often associated with water seal - water plug, when "knocking out" which odors and gases begin to flow into the apartment.

A similar situation can occur when the pressure in the sewer system increases, the air coming from the pipes can “knock out” the water lock. This usually happens when a large volume of liquid is drained from a tank. However, the process can also be gradual, implementing a time-imperceptible gas leak into the apartment.

Siphon water seal
A water seal or “water plug” located in the knee of the siphon creates a reliable barrier that prevents sewer gases from entering the apartment

When the sewer section is completely blocked by drains, the sewer system is filled with discharged air, drawing the liquid out of the siphon like a pump. It is necessary to drain the water, and the water seal will be completely eliminated, and the gases will freely pass into the premises, without encountering any obstacles.

The last option is usually caused by two reasons:

  1. The use of pipes of small diameter, which does not correspond to the dimensions indicated in the relevant regulatory documents.
  2. The formation of blockages or icing, partially or completely overlapping the cross section of communications.

To eliminate the first reason, it is necessary to exchange pipes for components of proper quality. To eliminate blockages, the system should be cleaned; if ice forms, warm it well with hot water.

The installation of a vacuum valve will help get rid of the malfunction of the hydraulic lock:

Incorrect operation of ventilation systems

The cause of an unpleasant odor may lie in the malfunctioning laid in the houseventilation system. The natural cravings of such communications are sometimes not enough to successfully cope with the task assigned to them - eliminating the stench from the sewer.

This indicator can be checked quite simply: attach a plain piece of paper to the ventilation grill, which is usually located in the bathroom and / or in the kitchen. With good traction, the sheet will stick to the holes, with insufficient traction, it will fall to the floor.

You can cope with the problem in the following ways:

  1. Independently: additionally putting a fan, which will increase the level of air circulation.
  2. With the help of specialists: professionals will clean the blockages in the laid ventilation ducts, increasing their draft.

After solving the problem, it is also necessary to carry out waterproofing measures in the sanitary facilities.

Incorrect operation of the washing machine

The reason for the specific “aroma” may be a unit familiar to everyone - a washing machine.

Washing machine drum
With insufficient care, colonies of fungi and microorganisms that cause unpleasant odors in the room can settle in the drum of the washing machine

Odor can be caused by the following reasons:

  • Incorrect connection of the device relative to the hydraulic valve that caused drains to enter the system. To fix it, it is better to disconnect the hose from the sewer, removing it into the toilet or sink.
  • A clogged drain pump filter (most often it is located at the bottom of the machine). Sometimes, to eliminate an unpleasant odor, it is enough to clean this part.
  • Plaque on the walls of the tank or tray for detergents, which is caused by the development on the surface of mold and other microorganisms.To eliminate them, it is important to regularly clean the components of the washing machine with disinfectants, vinegar, citric acid.

So that a useful unit does not poison the atmosphere with stench, it is important to follow the rules for caring for this type of household appliances. It is advisable to periodically turn on the high-temperature washing mode, which allows you to get rid of harmful fungi and bacteria.

The best way to permanently get rid of the likelihood of an unpleasant odor due to a washing machine is to connect it to a bottle siphon under a sink in the kitchen or under the sink in the bathroom:

Other causes of odor

In addition to the reasons listed above, quite often you have to deal with other sources of stench, indirectly associated with the sewage system.

Mold and fungus indoors

Specific "aromas" may be associated with the life of unicellular organisms. With insufficient waterproofing or freezing of surfaces, on the walls and ceilings of the bathroom or other rooms may develop mold coloniesputrefactive odors.

In order to get rid of microorganisms, it is necessary, first of all, to improve the premises, eliminating leaks and warming the partitions. The areas affected by the fungus must be thoroughly cleaned with a spatula, washed with a washing-up compound with the addition of vitriol and dried well, then coated with a chalk compound.

Poor plumbing fixtures

Various plumbing fixtures can become sources of stench. "Aroma" can emit a plaque that accumulates due to stagnation of water in the toilet bowl and on its piston. To get rid of it you need regularly clean plumbing disinfectants.

The unpleasant smell can be associated with the newly purchased plumbing, made of low-quality plastic. In order not to run into a problem, it is better to purchase kits from trusted manufacturers made from certified raw materials.

Leaking mixer
The source of stench in the apartment may be a leaking mixer. Constantly flowing water from it can cause decay of a wall or other surface

The cause of the stench can be a leaking mixer, which caused the decay of the adjacent surface. It is important to change gaskets and valves in time, keeping the cranes in perfect condition.

The smell of sewage in a private house

Private houses are usually equipped with a local sewage system, which is characterized by extreme sensitivity. The slightest change in operating conditions can cause the appearance and rapid spread of stench.

In addition to the above reasons (blockages in pipes, leaks, disruption of the siphon and water seal), residents of cottages and country houses often encounter a specific source of stench. Namely, the functioning of the wastewater treatment plant (septic tank), where sewage sludge occurs with their subsequent purification by microorganisms.

With the death of bacteria, waste processing ceases, and tenants are faced with the problem of how to urgently eliminate the monstrous smell from the sewer that has captured the entire house.

Private sewer system
The death of microorganisms that are important in wastewater treatment can trigger an unpleasant odor in a private house

The extinction of microorganisms can be triggered by the following factors:

  • The use of aggressive household chemicals with the presence of chlorine or other similar components.
  • Shallow laying of pipes and septic zone into the soil. To prevent icing of water in the sewer system, they should be below the level of freezing of the soil.
  • A long absence of drains, which may be caused by a long absence of owners. In this case, the bacteria remain without a nutrient medium, as a result of which their colonies die.

To eliminate these causes, you should be well aware of the rules for using a septic tank and strictly observe them.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

The video below talks about the main sources of unpleasant odors in the room and the possibilities of eliminating it.

The putrid smell in the house should not be endured: it not only irritates the sense of smell, but also contains gases and microorganisms harmful to the body. It is important to identify the source of the smell from the sewage system in the apartment as early as possible in order to eliminate it on our own or by attracting specialists.

Tell us about how you yourself struggled with a negative sewer odor. Please comment on the information presented by us in the block below. Ask questions here, share effective methods of combating odors, post thematic photos.

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Visitors Comments
  1. Alexey Alekseev

    Several times I encountered the problem of the flow of wastewater at the joints of plastic sewage pipes, where the rubber seals are. Gradually stronger and stronger began to leak. Soon the puddle was gathering and the smell appeared, and the dampness too. I had to urgently go to the store for silicone sealant and seals for joints. I disassembled the pipes, replaced the rings and coated them abundantly with silicone sealant so that they probably would not leak. I advise you to wear rubber medical gloves on your hands so that the sealant does not spoil the skin and nails. I collected everything in the reverse order. Although I am not a plumber at all, but an electrician, I did better than them. This is how I gained new experience.

    The plumbers whipped up new plastic sewer pipes from the sinks to the riser to replace the cast iron old ones. Poorly fixed, did not observe the slope, but did not understand how. Looks like a conscience they do not want to do, although for money. Okay, he himself was able to correct their mistakes.

  2. Valentine

    In all the apartments on the ground floor in the summer we had an unbearable stench during strong winds on the street. And the reason for this is the incorrect layout of the house, garbage from all over the house was in the basement, and accordingly, rats walked in crowds under the floor. And the problem was eliminated by correcting the mistakes of the builders - they poured concrete and rubbed the rubble with emptiness, since under the wooden logs there was a very thin concrete screed and a huge cellar half a meter.

  3. Marat

    There was a smell problem from the outlet of the washing machine.But everything was gone when they thoroughly drove away the washing machine with a lemon, and also poured the mole into the sink. Apparently something was clogged.

  4. Anna Sergeyevna

    It also happens that such a smell comes from the neighbors, and some do not go to any persuasion. Therefore, if you encounter a similar problem, I recommend taking a closer look at the tool odoron prof. Personally, we, only they, were saved when we lived in a removable Khrushchev.