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Why Does My Toilet Stink?

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Even the cleanest homeowners occasionally encounter this toilet problem – an obnoxious odour that leaves you asking, “why does my toilet smell?” These toilet smells can come from an unused toilet, bacteria, mold, clogged drain, broken toilet seals, blocked vent pipe or cracked toilet bowls.

Toilets do have a tendency to give off an unpleasant, even putrid, foul odour. You’ll be relieved to hear, though, that getting rid of them is usually fairly simple. Read on to learn why your toilet stinks and how to fix it, or simply reach out to our expert Ottawa plumbers!

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1) Toilet Not Being Used

When a toilet goes too long without being flushed (for example, in a guest washroom or unused rental unit), water in the toilet bowl tends to evaporate. As a result, a sewer gas smell escapes from the plumbing pipes.

Solution: Simply flushing the toilet will refill the toilet bowl. (You might have to do this several times before the odour disperses.)

2) Seeping Stinky Bacteria Growth

Although the water in your toilet tank is clean and even drinkable, bacteria can grow in your toilet’s feeder pipes, particularly during hot and humid summer weather. These pesky microorganisms not only smell like rotten eggs; they’re generally unhealthy to have in your home.

Solution: Remove the toilet tank lid and pour a cup of bleach into the overflow pipe. Let stand a few minutes to disinfect, then flush. The bleach-y water will flow down into the toilet bowl; leave it a couple of hours before flushing again.

3) Mould Buildup

An acrid, musty stench is likely caused by mould buildup in the toilet. “But I clean all the time,” you may protest. “Why does my toilet still stink?” The reason is that mould forms under the rim, (very quickly) an area that many people may neglect to clean really well.

Solution: Wear breathing protection for mould removal. Scrub the rim’s underside using an old toothbrush and either bleach or white vinegar (NEVER both together – they form a toxic combination). This will also remove any feces that may have splashed onto the rim. Don’t forget to clean the underside of the toilet seat as well!

4) Clogged Toilet Drain

Sometimes your toilet drain becomes partially clogged (gradually or all at once). When this happens, your toilet will take longer to drain and refill, causing the water level to drop. When the toilet tank is underfilled or takes a long time to fill, this can allow the sewer gas smell to come back. The result is a bit confusing – you’re still able to flush, but you have a horrible odour coming from the toilet.

Solution: Be careful about flushing your toilet if you suspect a blockage — the result might be an overflow. Try plunging the toilet or snaking the drain pipe to dislodge whatever’s blocking it.

5) Broken Toilet Seal

There’s a ring-shaped wax ring inside your toilet’s base. If this seal is broken, both odours and water will leak into the room. The toilet may also start to “rock” on its base.

Solution: Call for professional plumbing service to get the seal replaced. (We’ve got plumbers in Kanata, Barrhaven, Nepean, Ottawa and everywhere in between!).

6) Cracked Toilet

A crack in the toilet bowl might be causing a slow water leak. As a result, the amount of water in the toilet bowl is lower than it should be, allowing foul-smelling sewer gas in from your sewer pipes.

Solution: Repair might be possible for a crack above the waterline, but if the damage is lower, you’ll probably need a new toilet to remove the sewer gas smell.

7) Poorly Designed Vent Pipe

Are you smelling rotten eggs? Your vent pipe may be the issue. A vent pipe is designed to release smelly sewer gases through your home’s roof. The vent pipe then brings fresh air back into your home. The problem is if the vent pipe is blocked or has been installed incorrectly, that will result in the sewer odour being trapped in your home. 

NOTE: This sewage smell contains hazardous components.

Solution: Call a professional plumber immediately.

Ready To Remove That Foul Odour?

Want to go back to that clean toilet smell? You need a professional plumber you can trust! Contact Out of This World to take care of your stinky sewage smell. Our plumbing professionals will repair or replace your toilet, quickly and efficiently. We are prepared to assist throughout the entire Ottawa Valley!

Have other unpleasant smells in your home that you’d like to see removed? Learn how to get rid of that musty smell in your house once and for all!

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