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Sweetwater Plumbing Blog

Bad Smells from Drains: What Does It Mean?

bubbling-drainWe know that you want to keep your house a clean, pleasant place. So when unpleasant odors start drifting through the rooms from the drains, you’ll want to do something about it. But it’s important to know that these bad smells from the drains can mean something much worse than an uncomfortable living situation: they often point toward significant plumbing issues in your home that require the work of professionals to fix—before they end up far worse and more expensive to repair, or even lead to damaging your house!

If you’ve noticed bad smells from your drains, you may need to call on professional plumbers in Pomona, CA. Below are some possible reasons you may have this problem. It could be a simple one you can remedy yourself—or it might be a bigger problem that calls for bringing in our plumbers.

Check for a Dried P-Trap

First, is the bad smell wafting from only a single drain? And if it is, is it a drain located in a place that isn’t often used? In this case, you probably have a dried p-trap.

A p-trap is a curved pipe directly under a drain. (It’s called a p-trap because the piece of piping has a “P” shape to it when looked at from the side.) The p-trap is designed to trap water in it through gravity, and the water serves as a plug that prevents sewer gas from flowing back up the pipeline and through the drain. If the water in the p-trap evaporates, it will often mean sewer odors emanating from a drain. This can happen if a particular sink, tub, or shower isn’t used frequently, such as in a guest bathroom. If this is the case, all you have to do is pour water down the drain for about a minute to restore the water plug.

Blocked Drain Vents

If the odors are coming from multiple drains or won’t go away by trying to restore the p-trap, another possibility is that the drain vents on top of the house have become blocked. These vents are in place to prevent a rise in pressure inside the drainage system because of sewer gas. The vents allow sewer gas to rise up through openings in the roof. Should the vents become blocked because of debris (bird nests are a common cause, but storm weather can also end up dropping leaves and branches onto the vents), it can force sewer gas up through the drains, even with water in the p-trap.

Never attempt to unblock these vents on your own! Let the professional plumbers take care of finding out what’s wrong and then taking care of it.

Sewer Line Issues

The is the most serious possible reason for bad-smelling drains: blockage in the sewer line, or even a broken sewer line. A sewer line that becomes excessively clogged will start to backup and push sewer gas up into the home. Plumbers can fix this problem through sewer cleaning service. In other cases, the sewer line may need to repairs or even a replacement. Our plumbers offer complete trenchless technology to solve these problems.

Don’t hesitate to call us, no matter what you suspect is the trouble with bad-smelling drains in your home.

Sweetwater Plumbing: We don’t charge by the hour, we charge by the job!

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