5 Reasons You Have a Smelly Drain
When you smell a nasty odor from your sink, tub, or toilet, your first thought may be that there is a problem with the sewer line. While it is true that your sewer can produce some bad odors, there may be something else down in the pipes causing a smelly drain. Plumbing systems are known for harboring all sorts of substances, including bacteria, germs, chemicals, and residue from different solids and liquids. Knowing what is down there causing a smelly drain is a good idea. If you can identify the source of the smell, you’ll know to contact a plumber for professional drain cleaning in Reston, Virginia. Below, we look at the five reasons you have a smelly drain. If you have any further questions, contact the Cardinal Plumbing, Heating & Air team.
1. Clogged Sewer LineLet’s start with the most obvious reason. The sewage in your main line is not draining as it should. As the sewage backs up, it pushes the odor back through the drains and fills the house. You may also notice the same odor in your yard. If so, you may have a burst sewer pipe or a loose connection in the sewer line, and sewer water is surfacing in your yard. A blocked sewer line is a major problem and requires the work of a plumber who can perform professional sewer line repair. An experienced plumber uses technology, such as plumbing video inspection cameras and trenchless sewer line repair, so they don’t destroy your yard while flushing out the sewage or repiping the sewer line. Once they fix the problem, the smell should go away.
2. Bacteria, Limescale, or Calcium BuildupFood, hair, and grease can build up in your pipes. However, those items are easy to remove. With time, some of them flush through the system on their own. The toughest buildup that is difficult to remove comes from three main substances.
3. Unused and Dry P-TrapThe source of your smelly drain may be right around the corner – literally. Let’s explain. Old plumbing systems used to be straightforward. The system design allows any item, water or otherwise, to drain quickly with little to no resistance. However, the straightest path down for the water was also the straightest path upward for the smell. A P-trap was the solution for blocking the smell and allowing it to escape somewhere else in the plumbing. The design consists of a seal with a u-shaped pipe that holds some water every time it drains down the pipe. The trap also consists of a ventilation pipe that allows the bad smell to escape the house without coming through the drains. The P-trap works well as long as water flows through the drain regularly. So, try running a little water if you smell a bad odor in a drain. Don’t let the drain dry out. If the odor persists, call a plumber to inspect the P-trap, ventilation pipe, and the rest of your plumbing system.
4. Poor VentilationIf you look at your roof, you’ll notice a metal pipe protruding vertically. It is called a vent pipe. The pipe has two main functions:
- Release pressure buildup in the plumbing so that the water drains properly.
- Release harmful gasses from multiple substances in the sewer line, so they do not come through the drain.