When something stinks in the house, the two most common culprits are the kitchen and the bathroom. What do these rooms have in common? These are where the drains are and where most of the plumbing is. Furthermore, these rooms encounter the most amount of waste (both human and otherwise) that can be easily what’s causing the offensive odor in your house.
However, pinpointing the cause of the problem may not be as easy as you think. A bad smell coming from your plumbing can be caused anywhere from a clogged drain to a faulty sewer line. To make it easier for you to find where that awful smell is coming from and fix the problem faster, here’s a list of possible causes of plumbing odors:
Sewer line breach
If the smell coming from your drains smells like sewage, you likely have a problem with your sewer line. It can either be breached by an outside force (e.g. a tree root growing in its path) or a clog inside the pipe that has caused it to burst. Either way, a sewer line problem can lead to clogged toilets, pest problems, gurgling drains, and most pressingly—an insanely bad sewage smell.
Inhaling the smell of sewage is not only unpleasant, but it can also be harmful to your health. As soon as you detect the smell of sewage in or around your house, call a reliable sewer repair company as soon as possible. If the problem goes unaddressed for too long, then you may be looking at a bigger repair bill in the future—not to mention weeks dealing with the sewage odors.
Dried out trap
Underneath your sinks, showers, tubs, and other plumbing fixtures are S or P-shaped traps that prevent sewer odor from coming up the drain. These traps hold water in the middle portion to block gas from passing through. When the water dries out, the sewer odors will then escape the trap and go up the drain.
If the smell of sewage is coming out of only one drain in the house, then it’s likely that a dried-out trap is the cause. But if the smell is coming from multiple sources, you may be dealing with the problem mentioned in the first item on this list.
Fortunately, this issue is easy to fix. You simply have to cycle the water again to return the water to the reservoir. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to turn your infrequently used taps regularly to avoid the water from drying out in the traps.
Dirty garbage disposal
Like everything else in your house, your garbage disposal needs regular cleaning and maintenance, too. Otherwise, the buildup of food debris in it can rot and cause an unpleasant stench to permeate around the kitchen.
As soon as you sniff out a bad odor coming from your garbage disposal, break out your cleaning gloves and some dish soap. It’s usually very easy to clean a garbage disposal and won’t take more than half an hour, so don’t procrastinate on this task any longer if you don’t want to deal with the smell.
The first method that you can try is to use regular dish soap, water, and a sponge to clean away the food debris. If the smell is a little more stubborn than that, pour vinegar and baking soda to neutralize the odor and sanitize the garbage disposal. Afterward, you may even want to toss in a few citrus peels and run the garbage disposal to freshen up the smell in the kitchen.
Biofilm is the accumulation of organic and inorganic material on a surface, usually appearing as small patches in water systems. Over time, the shampoo, soap, and other products will build up inside your drains, and odor-causing bacteria will attach to the film therein, thus causing the unpleasant smell.
If the smell coming from your plumbing is akin to rotten eggs, then it’s probably biofilm that’s causing it. To get rid of the smell, simply pour one or two gallons of hot water down the drain, then some white vinegar and baking soda. The hot water, vinegar, and baking soda can help wash away the biofilm and neutralize the smell. If you have a drain brush, you can use it to remove any remaining film afterward.
Unpleasant plumbing odors are not only a nuisance, but they can also cause harm to your family’s health. That said, be sure to address the root causes of the smell as soon as possible and employ strategies that can help you prevent them from happening in the future.