Open sewer cleanout in basement (C) Daniel Friedman Table of Sewer or Septic Odor & Gas Odor Sources©
List of where smells may originate inside or outside of buidings
     


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Septic or Sewer Gas Odor Smell Source Table:

This article provides a table listing known sources of sewer odors, septic odors, methane gas odors, sulphur smells, hydrogen sulfide smells or similar odors found inside or outside and around buildings. In an alphabeticl list by odor source we describe each smell location, it's occurrence indoors or outdoors, and we link to diagnostic and repair articles.

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Table of Sources of Sewer Gas Odors In or Around Buildings

Table of Sources of Sewer or Septic Gases & Odors In & Around Buildings©

This table lists sources of sewer, septic, sulphur, or hydrogen sulfide odors in buildings, organized alphabetically by source. To track down an unidentified odor or smell by the smell characteristic see ODOR DIAGNOSIS SIX STEPS.See TRACK SEPTIC / SEWER ODOR to SOURCE for homes connected to private septic systems or see TRACK SEWER ODOR to SOURCE for homes connected to public sewer systems.

Sewer or Septic Odor Source

Location of Odor

Diagnosis & Repair Articles

Air conditioning and heating systems using air ducts and blower fans can pick up odors from one source and move them to another destination. In some cases local negative air pressure may also overcome normal drain pipe venting, especially if plumbing traps are omitted or defective or if there are loose toilets leaking odors into a room. Indoors

Septic Odor from Air Conditioner.

DUCT SYSTEM & DUCT DEFECTS

ODORS in DUCT WORK

Crawl space odors of septic, sewer, or dead animals. Check for drain leaks, fuel piping leaks, dead animals, chemical or pesticide applications, debris, mold, soil gases. Indoors ANIMAL or URINE ODOR SOURCE DETECTION

Drain trap odors: Found sewer gas odors at plumbing fixture traps whose water trap was lost due to trap siphonage due in turn to missing, improperly installed (too distant), or blocked plumbing vent piping.

Where dry plumbing traps pass sewer gases back into a building the problem may be worse in cold weather or when building vent fans are decreasing the in-building air pressure, drawing gases out of drain piping

 

BACKDRAFTING HEATING EQUIPMENT

BUILDING DRAIN ODOR SOURCES

DRAIN PIPING & SEWER ODORS

LEAKY TOILET SEALS, ODORS

Drywall, defective products Indoors CHINESE DRYWALL HAZARDS
Floor drain odors Indoors FLOOR DRAIN / TRAP ODORS
Gas leaks, LP or Natural Gas Indoors / outdoors

GAS LEAK DETECTION, LP / NG

Gas Piping and Tank Defects

METHANE GAS HAZARDS

METHANE GAS SOURCES

Electrical conduit leaks: found septic gases following electrical conduit from septic pumping station into the principal building   Seal Septic Gas Leak Through Electrical Conduit?
Mold odors are occasionally characterized as sewer or musty smell Indoors

MOLD ODORS, MUSTY SMELLS

MVOCs & MOLDY MUSTY
ODORS

Plumbing vent odors, observed indoors (leaky plumbing vents, missing plumbing vents, vents not extended outside) or observed outdoors (downdrafts, bad location) Indoors / outdoors PLUMBING VENT DEFECTS & NOISES

Septic system drainfield failure, no visible effluent

Private Septic System Failures: Found sewer gas leaks outside due to a failing septic drainfield and/or blocked sewer piping causing backups that leaked outdoors. In a case where odors were traced to leaks at a septic tank, odors from the septic tank were strongest at the front entry door to the home, perhaps in part because the system was in failure and backing up.

Outdoors

DRAINFIELD ODORS, FAILURES

Septic system failure causing effluent breakout at ground surface Outdoors

BACKDRAFTING & SEWER/SEPTIC ODORS

DRAINFIELD ODORS, FAILURES

LAGOON SEPTIC SYSTEMS

PLUMBING VENT PIPING

Septic Tank Leaks Outdoors

SEPTIC TANK LEAKS

SEPTIC TANK INSPECTION PROCEDURE - home

SEPTIC TANK LEVELS of SEWAGE

SEWAGE PUMPS

SEWAGE PUMP CLOG DAMAGE

Septic tank pump or control failures in mound systems or other septic systems that use a grinder pump or effluent pump at or in the septic tank Outdoors near septic tank

SEWAGE PUMPS

SEWAGE PUMP CLOG DAMAGE

Sewage backup or spill inside or outside of a building Indoors /Outdoors

SEWAGE BACKUP, WHAT TO DO

SEWAGE CONTAMINATION in BUILDINGS

Sewage grinder pump leaks, check valve failure, backup Indoors

SEWAGE EJECTOR / GRINDER PUMPS

 

Sewer/Septic Piping Leaks: Found DWV (drain-waste-vent piping) plumbing piping leaks: had a plumber pressure test the drain waste vent piping to find sewer gas leaks due to mechanical damage, rust, corrosion in piping, improper sewer vent locations, or inadequate/missing waste pipe venting. Also

  • Sewer Piping Joint Leaks: Found sewer gas leaks where plastic pipes had never been properly glued in a wall, ceiling or floor, from original construction. Found by pressure testing.
  • Sewer Piping Punctures: Found sewer gas leaks where drain waste vent pipes had been perforated by a nail from flooring or in one case from hanging a picture on the wall
Indoors / Outdoors

DRAIN LINE PIPE LEAKS (drain line or sewer line breaks, leaks, seeps)

DRAIN ODOR SOURCES

DRAIN PIPING & SEWER ODORS

Sink odors: smells coming from or beneath sinks. Slow drains, gurgling drains, blocked drains, leaks, can all be sources of smells around bath, kitchen, & laundry sinks Indoors

BACKDRAFTING HEATING EQUIPMENT

DRAIN LINE PIPE LEAKS

DRAIN PIPING & SEWER ODORS

DRAIN ODOR SOURCES

FIXTURE vs SYSTEM DRAIN BLOCKAGE

FLOOR DRAIN / TRAP ODORS

PLUMBING FIXTURE TRAPS

PLUMBING SYSTEM NOISE DIAGNOSIS & CURE

PLUMBING VENT DEFECTS & NOISES

Swamp gas or marsh gas: Traced sewer/septic gas odors to swamp gases or marsh gas, also potentially dangerous, especially if swamp gas leaks into and accumulates inside a building, as reported in the NY Times, appears to have occurred in Cancun, Mexico in November 2010. Swamp gases include methane produced by the decomposition of organic materials in subsoils.

Outdoors

 

SEWER GAS ODORS
Toilet seal leaks: Found sewer gas leaks at a toilet with a bad seal - a toilet can be leaking sewage water or just gases around its base if the toilet is not properly mounted, even if the toilet is not obviously loose on the floor= Indoors

FIXTURE vs SYSTEM DRAIN BLOCKAGE

PLUMBING VENT DEFECTS & NOISES

LEAKY TOILET SEALS, ODORS

TOILET REPAIR GUIDE

Water heater anode failure or water heater tank bacteria

Other sulphur type gas odors: traced to gases or chemicals in private water supply, well water contaminants, or traced to bacterial contamination of a water heater or corroded water heater anode

Indoors at hot water taps

ANODES & DIP TUBES on WATER HEATERS

SULPHUR & SEWER GAS SMELL SOURCES

Water supply contaminants

Indoors or outside at hot or cold water taps

ODORS IN WATER

SULPHUR & SEWER GAS SMELL SOURCES

Also see SULPHUR & SEWER GAS SMELL SOURCES for our master list of sources of sulphur like odors in buildings. This list includes sources of sewer or sulphur like smells beyond those originating at a septic system or sewer piping.

CONTACT us to add other sewer gas odor sources you've found - it will help others

 

 

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