The complaint of a strong odor coming from somewhere in the bathroom is one we get often. We always start with the easiest, most basic solution and sometimes can even solve your problem without having to send out a technician.
Where to start:
All sink and tub/shower drains have a U-shaped pipe (P-trap) that runs from your sink or shower drain to a larger pipe in the wall. One end of that big pipe runs down to your sewer or septic system and the other end leads all the way up through the roof, letting fresh air in while allowing any smelly sewer gases to vent outside.
When everything's working as it should, a small amount of water stays in the P-trap after you turn off the sink, empty the tub or flush the toilet. That little bit of water serves as a barrier between the air in your bathroom and the sewage gases.
If your bathroom fixtures haven't been used for a while it could be that the water in the P-trap has evaporated, allowing the odors to flow into your home from the septic system. If that's the case, the solution is as simple as running some water to allow the P-trap to fill up again.
If you still detect that sewage odor after you've run plenty of water down all the drains, or if you notice a sewage smell in a bathroom that gets regular use, you might want to check for leaks in or around the P-trap. If even a small amount of water has leaked out of the bottom, sewage gases may be able to creep in. Another possible cause that's fairly easy to resolve is a clog in the drain, since the clog itself can become smelly.
If you have a crawlspace under your bathroom we recommend checking down there for any signs of leaks or rodents. We have found dead mice to be the culprits of the stench many times; either in the crawl space, a wall, or even stuck in pipes. The smell is easily confused with a sewage odor. If this is the case, call an exterminator.
Time to call the plumber!
If you have water in all the traps, you have no visible leaks, no rodents and the pipes are free of clogs. What next? Give us a call to perform some further examining. Our experienced technicians are more than happy to come out and play detective if you need help finding the odor in your bathroom!