Why Does My House Smell Like Sewer in the Winter? (How To Fix It)

why does my house smell like sewer in the winter

Does your house smell like sewer during winter? I am sorry to hear that, but there is good news. Your house is freezing, and you want to know why it smells like sewer in the winter. It’s really a common problem that doesn’t make sense but maybe can be fixed with some research. This article will help you out.

Why Does My House Smell Like Sewer in the Winter?

The most common time for a house to smell like sewer is during the winter. This happens when the drain field ices over, and the sewage backs up into your home. You may also notice this smell if there’s a blockage in your septic tank line. In addition, cold weather can cause downdrafts from plumbing vent stacks. If you notice an odor at any time during the year, especially on windy days, it’s best to check your home for a possible leak.

In winter, you may start to notice a sewage smell in your house. The root cause of this odor is usually a clogged waste line or blocked septic tank line. Additionally, cold temperatures can cause downdrafts from plumbing vent stacks. This means that you will notice the odor varies during the day, especially if the weather is windy. If the odor tends to subside as temperatures go up, downdrafts are most likely the cause of that terrible sewer smell in your house.

It’s important to check your home for any possible leaks, especially during the winter when your house smells like sewer. This is because wet floors and runoffs can cause the smell to worsen. You can take a few steps to try and fix the issue, but if it persists, you might need to call in a professional.

Other Causes of a Septic tank sewer smell in the house during the Winter Seasons

Dried-out water barrier in the sewer trap

If your plumbing fixture does not see a lot of use, the drain can dry out and cause a sewage smell. Turning on the water will help flush away the dirty water from your fixtures and decrease the chance for odor to form.

P-traps are designed to prevent sewer gases from getting into your home. The water in the trap must be kept consistently full or a smell could occur if it goes dry. Every drain in your house should have a P-trap, with the exception of showers that don’t get much use and need less maintenance These drains create a barrier that will prevent sewer gas from entering the house. Running water in these drains may solve the problem of smelly sewer gas coming into your home during winter

Leaks can cause septic odor in the house

Leaks in the septic tank can cause a sewer smell in the house. This is because when water leaks out of the tank, it takes with it the solid and liquid waste that are supposed to be processed by the septic system. When this happens, these wastes end up on the ground near your home and create an unpleasant odor.

You may be able to fix minor leaks by yourself, but you should call a professional for major leaks. Also, make sure that you do not overload your septic system, as this will also cause sewage problems and odors.

Clogged Drains can cause sewer odor in the house

Drains transport toxic waste through your home’s septic system. If not addressed, a clog in the drainpipe can cause sewage backup and organic matter like soap and hair build up, releasing a foul odor that resembles a sewage smell.

A sewer smell can be caused by a clog in the floor drain, evaporating water from the toilet trap, or a frozen drain field. Cold temperatures cause downdrafts up through building vent stacks which may cause some variation in odor throughout the day. Sometimes, septic tanks can back up during winter due to precipitation. Wastewater lines are clogged when a sewage tank backs up

Cracked Pipes

Rain can cause a sewer smell because it can loosen tree roots, which then crack pipes. A cracked pipe is one of the most common causes of a sewer smell in your home. If you think that your pipes may be cracked, you should call a plumber to come and take a look at them.

Loose Toilets

If you detect a foul sewer odor inside your home, there may be a weak link in your plumbing system. One common source of this smell is a loose toilet. Toilets become loose for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Broken seals and cracked fixtures can allow sewer gas to enter your bathroom.
  • The gasket between the toilet bowl and the tank may wear out over time, causing the two pieces to separate.
  • If the bolts that hold the toilet to the floor are loose, it will rock back and forth when someone sits on it. This movement can eventually loosen the screws or nuts that attach it to the floor.

How to get rid of sewer gas smell in your house during Winter Permanently?

Ensure your Septic tank is always covered during the cold seasons

One way to avoid unpleasant sewer gas smells in your home during winter is to make sure that your septic tank is always covered.

Frozen drain fields are a serious cause of septic smells during the winter when it gets cold. Frozen drain fields can also result in blocked pipes and problems with your septic system, which will then produce a gas-like smell.

If you think your septic tank is frozen, be sure to contact a professional first. A clogged drain field will cause sewage to back up into your home. A partial blockage is an emergency that should be addressed immediately.

Blocked vent pipes are a common occurrence and can lead to sewer gas smell coming back into the house. You can try to knock the ice off or pour hot water inside the blockage (depending on severity). If this is a recurring issue, you may need to insulate your vent stack.

The wind can cause the sewer gas to be blown back into your yard. Seasonal winds may blow the sewer gas towards parts of your home where it’s not normally detected

Fill the dried-out sewer trap With Water

One way to prevent the smell of sewage from entering your home is to fill the dried-out sewer trap with water. This can be done by turning on the water and giving the drain a little rinse. You may also have to periodically fill the floor drain traps with water, especially if you live in an area that has colder winters.

If you are unable to fix the issue yourself, ask your plumber to check for a loose cleanout plug. A loose cleanout access plug can allow gases to escape into your home. If this is the case, he or she will need to replace it for you.

Fix Leaks and Cracked Pipes

If there is sewage gas in your house during winter, the first step is to find the exact location of the problem and fix it. This may include repairing leaks and cracked pipes. Another solution called hydro-jetting your pipe will remove the bacteria from it and prevent sewer gas from returning to the house.

Ensure Toilet is properly fixed

If you suspect a gas leak, ask your plumber to check the mounting nuts and supply tubes. Have your plumber replace old wax rings that are worn away. If there is a crack in your toilet, it may need to be replaced. The wax ring deteriorates and cracks over time, causing sewer gas to seep out. The toilet may feel wobbly or leak water around the base if the wax ring is broken down.

Clear Clogged drains

A clogged drain can cause sewage backup and a buildup of organic matter, which leads to the unpleasant smell of sewer gas. There are several ways to clear clogged drains:

  • remove any obstructions using a plunger;
  • use a plumbing snake to remove the obstruction;
  • pour hot water down the drain followed by vinegar or baking soda. If these methods do not clear the clog, you may need to call a professional plumber.


Can frozen pipes cause sewer smell?

Yes, frozen pipes can cause a sewer smell. This is because when the water in the pipe freezes, it expands and can crack the pipe. When this happens, raw sewage can escape from the pipe and cause an unpleasant smell. If you suspect that your pipes have frozen and are causing a sewer smell, you should call a plumber to inspect them. The plumber will be able to determine where the leak is occurring and recommend a solution.

How do you know if your sewer line is frozen?

There are several ways to know if your sewer line is frozen: One way is to check if there is an odor emitting from the system. Another way is to use a “test ball” to block the drain line and see if colored smoke comes out through the roof stack while testing for gas.

Can you prevent sewer gas smells in your home?

There are a few things you can do to help prevent sewer gas smells in your home:

  • Running water through sinks and drains will prevent the build-up of odors.
  • It’s important to keep water traps in sinks or toilets from drying out with use.
  • You can also use Endure to keep your drains clean and free of clogs.
  • If you smell sewer gas in your home, it’s best to call a plumber for help diagnosing the problem.

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