What’s Causing that Foul Plumbing Odor?

You want your home to smell fresh and clean, but it’s difficult to ignore the unmistakable smell of a damaged plumbing system. Plumbing odors aren’t just foul—they can also be downright dangerous. That’s why you should eliminate the stench rather than merely masking it. Learn the possible causes of foul plumbing odors and how to fix them.

Sewer Gases from Seldom-Used Plumbing Fixtures

Every drain pipe in your home features a P-shaped curve called a P trap. This is designed to hold water and create a barrier between your home and the sewer system. If a particular sink, shower, bathtub, or toilet in your home hardly gets used, the water in the trap may evaporate, allowing plumbing odors to waft through the drain.

The simplest solution is to run the water in all of your fixtures at least once every few weeks. You can also pour a few tablespoons of oil down seldom-used drains to prevent the water from evaporating so quickly.

Garbage Disposal Odors

Grease and food particle build-up in the kitchen sink can lead to a nasty, rotten smell. To eliminate the odor, follow these steps:

  • Scrub the sink and the disposal flange.
  • Plug the drain and fill the sink halfway with hot, soapy water. Release the plug and run the disposal as the water flows down the drain.
  • Pour a heaping cup of ice cubes into the garbage disposal. Run the faucet and turn on the disposal. As it grinds up the ice, pour one-half cup of coarse kosher salt down the drain.
  • Grind a few lemon peels in the garbage disposal to leave a fresh citrus scent behind.

Broken Toilet Seal

Toilet leaks can form in many places. If the seal attaching the toilet to the floor is broken, sewage odors could seep through. Repair or replace the seal to fix the problem.

Clogged Vent Pipe

All sewers require vent pipes to prevent pressure from building up in the plumbing system. Snow drifts, animal nests, and other debris can clog the vent opening. If this happens, sewer gases could be forced back into your home. Check for obstructed vent pipes around your property and unblock any you find.

Excessive Bacteria

It doesn’t take long for pipes to accumulate grease, soap scum, and other organic material that attracts bacteria. As these microorganisms feed on organic substances, they produce an unpleasant odor. To address this problem, try one of these techniques:

  • Plug the drain and fill the sink with hot water. Add a capful of bleach, and then let the water flow down the drain.
  • Boil a kettle of water and pour it slowly down the drain.
  • Pour one-half cup baking soda down the drain, followed by one cup vinegar. Flush with hot water.

With proper plumbing maintenance and drain cleaning, your pipes will stay in good condition, and you’ll keep foul odors at bay. Call Bob Hoegler Plumbing today at 732-521-0133 to schedule the services you need.