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Sewer Odor in the House? You Might Have a Clogged Main Stack


If you notice a horrible sewer smell in your home, the first thing you might do is check your toilet for problems. You might even check your yard for sewer leaks or a busted sewer line. But if you don’t find any of these issues above, the blockage could actually be inside the main stack.

The main stack is a vent pipe that runs through the center of your home and exits through the roof. The stack connects to the home’s soil stack and branches off into the every room that uses plumbing pipes. The stack is also a part of the house’s drainage system. Main stack clogs can cause sewer backups and other hazardous problems.

It’s important to understand how a clog develops in your main stack and what you can do to solve it.

How Can a Clog Develop in the Main Stack?

When it works properly, the main stack vents and removes odors out of the home’s plumbing system, including the odors produced in your bathroom and kitchen plumbing. The stack also allows clean, fresh air to enter the vent system. The air prevents water from backing up into the drainage system.

The opening of the main stack is usually covered by a small flap or grilled cap. Sometimes, leaves, dirt, and bird feathers slip through the flap or grilles and build up. If the debris buildup becomes too great, the debris can block the stack’s opening.

A clog can also develop elsewhere in the system and push through to the main vent stack. For example, if someone repeatedly flushes grease or fat down the kitchen drain, the gunk may travel to the soil stack and create a blockage. If the debris breaks loose from the soil stack, it may back up into the main stack and restrict airflow through it.

Until you clear out the main stack, the sewer odor may only get worse.

How Can You Unclog the Stack Safely?

If your main stack pipe sits high on your roof, you should contact a professional to unclog the pipe. A skilled contractor will generally inspect, unclog, and clean out the main stack to prevent additional problems with your plumbing. Even a small clog can potentially lead to a major problem over time.

In addition, a specialist can clean out the main stack properly without risking anyone’s safety. If you choose to climb your roof to access the main stack pipe, you may accidentally fall or injure yourself. So, it’s a good idea to leave the project to a professional.

Until a plumber arrives to fix your problem, do a few simple things to minimize the odor in the house and to keep the clog from becoming worse. Avoid washing more grease, fat, and other food debris down your kitchen sink drains. You may not know why the stack clogged up, and keeping your drains free of debris may help prevent further issues.

Also, monitor what goes down your toilets. This is especially important if you have young children or pets in the home. Children and pets may accidentally, or intentionally, flush toys and food down the toilet. These things can add to the clog or make it worse.

To remove some of the odor in your home, open up your windows and doors. If possible, place a few box fans in your windows to introduce fresh air into the home and to allow the odors to waft out of the home. Sewer odors can be toxic to your family and pets, so you want to minimize your risks as much as possible.

Use the tips and information above to keep your main stack clear and functional. If your situation becomes critical, contact HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Drains immediately for services.

Posted in: Plumbing

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