We all love to admire the rain from a window, especially after a long dry spell. The problem arises when that rain fills our house with a strange and in some cases unpleasant smell. Depending on the odor, it could mean a sign of trouble. Let’s figure out what it is…

What Do You Call The Smell Of Rain?

The smell of wet earth after a moderate amount of rain is known as “petrichor”. This odor arises from the contact of raindrops with chemicals in the soil, which gives rise to a compound called geosmin.

Geosmin is a chemical compound produced by a bacterium called ‘Streptomyces coelicolor’ and other cyanobacteria in the soil.

That wet earth smell is very popular and quite pleasant to most people, so it is not a nuisance when the house is filled with that scent from outside. 

There is no specific reason, but there are theories that indicate that the smell of petrichor connects us to our ancestors, because for them rain was a sign of survival and life. In addition, it can also evoke memories of joyful days with family and friends.

Petricor aside, certain people are not happy at all about rain because their house ends up smelling like a sewer or other unpleasant odors.

The smell of rain

Why Does Your Home Smell Like A Sewer When It Rains?

If your home smells like sewer when it rains, this is usually a sign of plumbing issues. There may be a leak or overflow somewhere along the line and you should have it fixed immediately.

While we do recommend contacting a professional plumber to diagnose any sewage smell in your home, here are a few of the main faults in your plumbing system that can cause such a problem:

Faulty Siphons

That bad sewer smell may be due to the decomposition of waste products that are poured into the sewer, as well as the action of bacteria found in them.

To prevent this, siphons are installed in homes, which are U-shaped structures that are always kept full of water, so that the water acts as a barrier to prevent odor-causing gases from rising into the sink drains.

When your drains smell like sewage it is often due to a malfunctioning siphon, which may be dirty or have lost water, leaving the way open for the foul-smelling gases. However, even if everything seems to be fine, you may find that during the rain, or just before, you start to detect that unpleasant stench.

As the rain causes a decrease in atmospheric pressure, the gases in the drains begin to rise more freely, generating a bad smell that seeps in from all sides.

Damaged Septic Tank

If you have a septic tank, you should keep in mind that rainwater, when absorbed by the soil, always seeks to reach the deepest point, and that is usually the septic tank.

If you start to smell a sewage smell after a rainfall, it may mean that your septic system is damaged or very old.  

Drain With Little Use

Sometimes the odor isn’t coming from the pipes but from a plumbing fixture that you’re barely using, such as those found in the basement.

The water barrier in those drains can dry out over time, so the gases rising from the rain will start to escape through there and produce a foul smell.

To solve this, you just need to let some water run into that fixture to reset the water barrier.

Mold In The House

As we well know, mold is a silent enemy that spreads silently almost anywhere, especially in a house with some water seepage.

In rainy seasons, mold becomes stronger and will produce a strong musty smell, as well as cause allergies in the inhabitants and colored stains on surfaces.

Covering Up The Sewer Gas Smell

Covering Up The Sewer Gas Smell

Fortunately, there are many ways to cover the musty smell after a rainfall:

Coffee Beans

Both roasted and ground coffee have a very strong aroma that can get rid of the smell of dampness. Its application is very simple, you only have to put a few grams of coffee in a small container and place it inside the spaces with bad odors.

Lemon Juice

The citric aroma of lemon juice is ideal for eliminating the musty smell that is concentrated in damp spaces, especially the kitchen and the bathroom.

The method is very simple: squeeze a generous amount of juice and combine it in equal parts with warm water. Then pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray it on the places with bad odor.

Sea salt

It seems strange to consider sea salt as a product to get rid of bad odors since it does not have a characteristic aroma like the other products mentioned. Thanks to its absorbent properties, it is very effective in eliminating humidity.

Simply fill a plate with a generous amount of sea salt and place it in the corner where the most mold and mildew accumulate. 

These are just a few methods to eradicate dampness caused by heavy rain, although it is always best to call an expert.

Prevent The Bad Smell Of The Drains When It Rains

How To Prevent The Bad Smell Of The Drains When It Rains?

Cleaning drains regularly is vital so that rainy-season drains do not give off bad odors. One of the most common options is to use a commercial cleaner that dissolves organic residues. However, here are some more ecological solutions:

Pour Boiling Water Weekly

Once a week pour boiling water down the drains. This helps to dissolve grease and residues accumulated in the pipes, avoiding bad odors.

Install Protective Grates

It is important to prevent as much debris as possible from flowing through your pipes, so installing grates or placing filters is one of the most effective tricks to prevent them from smelling bad over time.

Baking Soda And Vinegar

These two ingredients together not only help to unclog the drain, but they also help to stop it from giving off bad odors. All you have to do is pour half a cup of vinegar and half a cup of baking soda into the pipe and let it act for 20 minutes, then boil some water and pour it down the drain.

Avoid Pouring Grease And Oils Down The Drains

On many occasions, unpleasant odors come from the accumulation of fats and oils that adhere to the walls of the pipes. It is important that when you finish cooking you do not pour the oil down the pipe and clean the excess grease from the kitchen utensils with a special cloth.

Say Goodbye To The Damp Odor

I think it has become quite clear that the unpleasant odor of sewer gas from your sewage system and the rain are interconnected with each other, and all require immediate maintenance of our homes. 

If the smell remains after the rain has passed and the above methods have no effect, it may be time to call a plumber. During the rain, we should only be able to enjoy the wonderful aroma of petrichor.