Easy Ways to Deal With Foul Plumbing Odors

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Have you walked into your bathroom and kitchen and thought something just doesn’t smell right? Some of the repulsive odors can be traced back to plumbing issues. Unfortunately, finding the root cause can be tricky, to say the least. At times, it will take more than just drain cleaning to fix the problem.

Aside from the bad smell, plumbing odors can also be dangerous. That said, you must get to the root of the stench and resolve it rather than merely masking it. The good news? Most plumbing odors can be addressed quite easily. Below are some of the most common reasons for stinky plumbing issues and how you can fix them:

Breach issues in your sewer line

Different factors can cause sewer line damage—trees can grow through the line, or clogs can build up and force the pipe to burst. It is also possible for the line to sink into the ground. When the sewer line is broken, the sewage can also leak. The unpleasant smell from your drains can be a clear indicator of a sewer line breach.

If you suspect you have a sewer line breach, look for some red flags to confirm your suspicion—gurgling sounds from the drains, pest problems, and clogging toilets. Since there are no reliable DIY fixes for this issue, it is recommended that you get in touch with professionals right away.

P-trap problems

The “u” or “p”-shaped portion of the pipes situated under the showers, sinks, and other plumbing fixtures is called the p-trap. The p-trap works by holding enough water and preventing sewer odors and gas from coming up and out of the drain.

If the toilets or showers are rarely used, the p-traps can dry out. If there is no sufficient water in the p-trap, sewer gases can make their way through the pipes. To fix the problem, ensure you cycle water regularly through your infrequently used fixtures.

Biofilm build-up

If your shower drain stinks, it can be because of biofilm build-up. Accumulation of shower wastes like soap, shampoo, or bath creams can turn into residue over time. This residue is called biofilm. When biofilm accumulates in the drain, bacteria can cling on and feed on it.

Thankfully, biofilm is easy to get rid of. All you need to do is use a cleaner to remove the biofilm. You can also easily remove the biofilm by pouring five to ten quarts of hot water down your drain, followed by a half cup of baking soda and a cup of white vinegar.

Let it sit for at least a couple of hours. Run another pot of hot water down the drain after.  The mixture should be enough to remove the stench and clear the biofilm.

Too much bacteria

It won’t take long for pipes to accumulate soap scum, grease, and other materials that attract bacteria. As microorganisms feed on organic substances, they can also produce an unpleasant odor. To address this problem, the following tips can help:

  • Plug the drain and fill your sink with hot water.
  • Add a cupful of bleach and allow the water to flow down the drain.
  • Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of vinegar.
  • Flush with hot water after.

Final Thoughts

Plumbing odors are hard to ignore. Fortunately, there are easy fixes you can do to resolve the problem. For other plumbing odors and issues that might require a more technical approach, getting in touch with a plumbing professional is recommended.


About The Author: Rachel Watson is the Senior Content Editor of Precision Air & Plumbing. Rachel enjoys yoga and writing articles about how to make home living more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.
Photo by Cannabox on Unsplash

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