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When Drains Smell Bad: Why It Happens, What to Do

The drain and sewer system that serves your house is designed so that bad sewage smells won’t get back up through the drains and into your living spaces. But at times you may run into one or more drains in the kitchen or bathrooms that are sending out awful odors. There’s no single reason for this: it could range from a minor trouble you can take care of in a few minutes to a major professional plumbing project. Below is a short guide to drain odors and what you can do to eliminate them.

  • Dried-out p-trap: If the bad odors are only coming from a single drain, is it in a sink that you don’t use often? If so, then the likely problem is that the water within the curved section of drainpipe under the drain (the p-trap) has lost the water that usually sits there. Without that water, there’s no barrier against the escape of sewer gas. However, it’s an easy fix: just run water down the drain for about a minute, restoring the water barrier.
  • Blocked drain vents: To prevent sewer gas in the drainage system from building up too much pressure, special drain vents allow the gas to escape through the roof of the house. But if these vents are blocked, the pressure will build up and force the sewer gas up through the water in the p-trap. If you hear gurgling noises from the drains, this is probably the cause of the smells. Professional plumbers must take care of solving this problem.
  • Organic build-up in kitchen drains: Too much food and grease along the inside of a kitchen drainpipe can cause awful smells when that organic material starts to rot. Call for drain cleaning professionals to use hydro-jetting to wash away this build up.
  • Damaged sewer line: If drains all across your house are creating foul odors, then the issue might be that the sewer line itself is damaged. This is a big repair project, and you should call our plumbers to use trenchless technology to fix it as quickly and cleanly as possible.

Ken Neyer Plumbing, Inc. provides around-the-clock plumbing repair work in Blue Ash, OH and the Greater Cincinnati Area.

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