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Main Reasons for Stinky Drains and Smelly Water in Your Home

The plumbing in your home is not something that you’ll probably give a lot of thought to on a regular basis. It’s there, it’s invisible, and it’s designed to not get in the way or call attention to itself, so in a way, if you’re ignoring it, it’s doing its job.

And when something happens that is impossible to ignore, like smells coming from the plumbing itself, you know that you have a big problem.

Plumbing issues should never be neglected because pretending a small problem isn’t there leads to much bigger, more expensive problems later.

Fortunately, when it comes to smells, there’s often something you can do, quickly.

When the Drain Stinks

A localized stinky drain—meaning you can track the problem down to just one source—has one usual suspect, and that means an easy fix. Your p-trap has probably dried out.

The p-trap is the unusual bends in the pipe right under your sink. That design is meant to trap and hold p-trapwater.

When that water is in place, it acts as a vapor barrier that keeps sewer gas—which naturally flows throughout pipes—from actually entering your home.

All you have to do to fix this problem is just run the sink and let more water flow down the drain.

This is one of the most common causes for a smelly drain, so we strongly advise trying this technique first before assuming you have a serious, expensive issue.

When the Water Smells

If a smell is coming directly from your tap or showerhead every time you run water, the issue may lie not with your water supply, as you might initially believe, but your water heater.

Most homes still use a tank to heat up the water, and that tank can sometimes turn into a shelter for a large bacterial infestation. That smell coming from the water is the result of bacteria living in the warm temperature a water heater tank provides.

Fortunately, these types of bacteria, even harmful strains, aren’t particularly durable. Adjusting the temperature in your tank to about 135-140°F is usually all it takes to eliminate these infestations.

Odors from the Sewage Line

Your sewage line and any issues relating to it may be a far more complicated problem.

blocked-drainThere are many areas in a sewage system that can be affected, some simple and some not.

A ventilation problem, for example, may cause a smell from drains simply because a bird has decided to build a nest on one of the vents of your home, so clearing that is an easy fix.

However, if the smell is coming because tree roots have broken through your sewage line at some point and are creating a partial blockage, that’s a more complicated problem, and you’ll need an expert to address it.