Smelly drains can be extremely irritating to homeowners. No one wants their house to smell like a city sewer. Gases escaping from your drains could also be harmful to your health. Sewer gas contains hydrogen sulfide, methane, and carbon monoxide. In high concentrations, these gases could leave you and your family feeling sick and nauseous. But why do your drains smell in the first place? There are numerous reasons ranging from a simple build-up of smelly biofilm in a drain to having a serious problem like a blockage in your sewer line or a defective house trap.
Locate the Smelly Drain
First, identify where the smell is coming from. Is it one drain causing the smell or multiple? Is the smell coming from one particular facility or is it emanating in a wide area such as a basement? Does your water smell when running the tap? This could be attributed to sulfates introduced into the water at some point creating a rotten egg smell. A musty smell from a drain such as a shower could be a sign that there is a mold build up in or around the drain. If you are smelling sewage, this could be attributed to a build-up in biofilm possibly related to a sewer line backup or a crack and leaking sewer line.
For smells in your percolating from the bathroom or kitchen drains a simple home remedy might do the trick. First, start by plugging the drain and filling the sink with hot water. Add some bleach and let everything flush down into the plumbing. Bleach can be harsh on metal plumbing due to its corrosive nature. A less harmful approach to using foaming baking soda and vinegar can be used just as effectively. When backing soda is added to the vinegar, the solution will start to fizz. Pour the fizzy concoction down the drain and let it sit for an hour. This should kill any stinky bacteria that is building up in the drain or the trap. Try to also scrub away any visible mold and mildew around drain areas. For hard to reach areas, you could try using an old toothbrush.
Please keep in mind that using household commercial drain cleaners is harmful to your plumbing. It is important to choose a drain cleaner that will not affect the lifespan of the pipe. BioOne is the only product we fully endorse to tackle your common household drain line issues. The microbes in BioOne are formulated to eat hair, grease and other fats and oils without harming the environment or your sewer system. To find out more about BioOne you can click the link to our resource page here.
Could It Be The Trap?
In a previous blog post, we discussed the importance of the trap retaining a water seal. This seal is critical to the overall function of the trap. If there is no water seal, sewer gases can creep back up through the drain and create the awful smell that you could be experiencing. Try flushing the trap out by running water continuously for a couple of minutes. This will help clear any loose debris in the bottom of the trap while also filling the bottom of the trap up to seal off any sewer gases that may be working their way up the pipe and into your home. If that does not work, you might want to consider calling a plumber to verify that all traps and vent pipes in the home are free of blockage and working properly.
Time To Take A Look Downstairs
Commonly people will report a foul odor coming from the basement. Always check the lowest level in your home for signs of blockage. Water that had previously backed up into the basement can smell like sewage (cause it is) long after it had receded back into the floor drain. This is a sign of a blockage in your sewer line and will need a professional plumber to clear the line. Hydro jetting or snaking a sewer line to remove the blockage is the most effective way to clear a clogged sewer line. Roots, debris, grease, oil, and hair could all be trapped inside the sewer line causing the backup and the subsequent smell. A biofilm which is simply a build-up of smelly bacteria can also be flushed away by a hydro-jetting service. Another possibility of a sewer smell is a broken or cracked sewer line pipe that could allow the sewage gas to permeate through the basement floor in your home. A camera inspection will need to be done in order to take a look at the condition of the sewer line to determine if a cracked or broken pipe is causing the problem.
Leak Detection May Be The Only Answer
If all of these probable solutions do not solve your problem, a leak detection service may need to be employed. American Leak Detection can perform a Sewer Odor Detection. They will come to your home and check for previously discussed issues like dry traps and broken lines but they will also be able to check for malfunctioning stacks located within the walls of your home. These malfunctioning vent pipes can be difficult to diagnose but American Leak Detection has over 40 years of experience in the field and will be able to diagnose and give viable solutions to your sewage odor problem. American Leak Detection is also equipped to perform a smoke test on the sewer pipes. Where there is a weakness or defect in a plumbing line or vent pipe, smoke will emerge from the crack or flaw and alert the homeowner to the problematic area.
If you have questions regarding sewer odor, backups, or faulty traps, call the sewer experts at Mister Sewer, 412-283-4478, or click here to schedule an appointment. We are here to educate and inform our customers. We offer a wide range of resources explaining common sewer line and water line related issues on our Resources page which can be accessed by clicking the link. We encourage everyone to take a look at our Google reviews and remember, “There’s no charge if not resolved, call Mister Sewer problem solved!”