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Intermittent Sewer Smell Inside the House

I just now registered to this site so that I could post this question on this board....what would cause an intermittent sewer smell in a 100-year old house (Dallas, TX), often after it rains??

I bought and rehabbed the house about a year ago. The crawlspace is not vented (however, it will be shortly), and said crawlspace is way too shallow for anyone to get in...maximum clearance is probably 8".

My tenants have been much more patient than I would have been. They are aware that last spring I did an expensive plumbing repair (had the line from the house to the alley replaced) and it seemed to all of us for a while that the problem might have gone away...but it definitely hasn't.

Whether something is leaking under the house, or whether water is seeping in and moistening an area where sewage had leaked before, whatever it is...I need to get it figured out and get it fixed!!

I would really appreciate anyone's ideas/experience with this type of problem. Thank you!!

Re: Intermittent Sewer Smell Inside the House

Finding something that's intermittant is always a chore.

The first thing in my mind is to verify that is indeed sewer smell or a musty mold smell .
Considering that it appeared after a rain and that the gound under the floor is only about 8 inches strongly suggests a damp issue in the crawl space and might be migrating up into the living space through some sort of pentration in the flooring.

One common source of intermittant sewer smell is from a poor wax seal joint at a toilet.

2 cents worth.

Re: Intermittent Sewer Smell Inside the House

If it was me, I'd improve the ventilation in the crawl space sooner rather than later, and see if there is any change for the better.

Re: Intermittent Sewer Smell Inside the House

Thank you for your speedy response! Two have now suggested getting that crawlspace vented asap, so we'll make it a priority!
The contractor that installed the toilets did do the upstairs install incorrectly and it leaked and caused ceiling damage below...it would really be no surprise if the downstairs one was installed incorrectly as well.

Thank you again!

Re: Intermittent Sewer Smell Inside the House

If it only happens when the windows are open it could also just be sewer gas from the vent blowing down and in the windows.


Re: Intermittent Sewer Smell Inside the House


I don't think he mentioned anything about the windows, did he?

Re: Intermittent Sewer Smell Inside the House

Thank you, Jack! That makes a lot of sense, but, unfortunately, these old windows are pretty much painted shut...all 37 of them!

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