Smelly drains happen and they are never a pleasant experience. But, you don’t necessarily need to reach for the emergency plumber’s number. Knowing what causes smelly drains and the best way to fix the issue can save you money, while getting the issue resolved much faster.
The Cause Of Smelly Drains
All drains have a trap built into them. These sit just under the waste outlet and create a ‘U’ shape. The aim is to ensure water is always trapped in the pipe. As smells can’t get through water, you’ll have a clean smelling home.
Yes, all sewage creates gas. It’s a byproduct of the waste and bacteria. Sewer gas can be dangerous. It’s actually a mixture of various gases and can cause nausea, headaches, and fatigue. If you’re experiencing any of these and can smell rotten eggs, you have sewer gas in your home and need medical attention.
In effect, the cause of smelly drains is a problem with your sewer system.
Dealing With The Issue
The first thing you’ll want to do is invest in a drain camera. This is a small camera that can be threaded into the waste pipes in your home. It will send a picture to you, allowing you to see what condition the inside of your pipes are. You’ll be looking for blockages.
A blockage can occur when the pipe breaks, roots damage it, or the wrong items have been put down the toilet. The result is your normal waste can’t get past. It builds up in your pipes and starts to flow backward to your home.
Once the waste products backup past the water trap you’ll notice the smell in your home.
The good news is that blockages can usually be easily rectified. You can try a plunger on your sink. Get a good seal over the drain and move the plunger up and down without breaking the seal. The vacuum can move the blockage.
If this isn’t successful you can slide a drain snake down the pipes to find the blockage. The snake is strong enough to break up the blockage but flexible enough to go round all the bends in the pipes.
It’s worth noting that tree roots can damage sewer system. If they’ve broken the pipe you’ll either need an insert put into the pipes or to dig the area up and replace the pipes.
If the drain snake doesn’t work you may prefer to call a plumber rather than using drain rods outside of your home.
There is an array of chemical products on the market that will literally eat the blockage. These can be very effective but the corrosive nature of these products can also damage the interior of your pipes.
You may prefer to try half-a-cup of baking soda, followed five minutes later by a cup of vinegar. It’s surprising how effective this is at removing blockages.
Of course, if you’re in any doubt the professional plumber is just a call away.