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Have you noticed an unpleasant smell coming from your plumbing? We don’t mean the smell coming from the toilet after someone has relieved themselves. We mean a general, constant unpleasant odor flowing through the home. Stinky plumbing can happen for a variety of reasons, some obvious and some downright surprising. Whatever the reason, there’s no need to live with a bad smell in your home. We outline the most common reasons for stinky plumbing and steps you can take to resolve each problem.
Dirty Garbage Disposal
People often use their garbage disposal as a way to … well, dispose of garbage. But, despite the name, your plumber will tell you that the garbage disposal isn’t meant to handle food debris and waste. Over time, food particles, oils and fats, and other debris can build up on the inside of the garbage disposal. And, of course, rotting foods in your pipes will cause a horrible smell.
Some homeowners will be able to remove their garbage disposals and clean them with a strong cleaning solution. Note, it’s essential to turn off the disposal before you reach your hands in there! If you can do this, make sure to clean both the disposal and the sides of the drain it sits in.
If you’re unable to take out the disposal easily, you can call a plumber for a cleaning service.
To prevent this problem from reoccurring in the future, we recommend scheduling regular garbage disposal maintenance and cleaning with your plumber. Ideally, it should be cleaned and serviced every one to two years.
Breached Sewer Line
If there’s a smell of sewage in your home, it’s likely a sign that there’s been a breach in your sewer line. There are many ways your sewer line can be damaged:
- Tree roots can grow around the through the line.
- Soil conditions can make the line sink and break.
- Corrosion can weaken the metal of the sewer line.
- Clogs can build up pressure in the pipe, eventually leading to a burst.
Whatever the reason, a broken sewer line means sewage is leaking somewhere on your property. Never try to fix a suspected broken sewer line by yourself. A professional has the skills needed to access the line and fix it. The plumber will either dig in your yard to locate the line or will use trenchless sewer repair techniques. Whatever the approach, it’s a big and complicated job that should be left to the professionals.
Dried Out P-Trap
The p-trap is the portion of the pipe shaped like a P (or a U) found underneath showers, sinks, and other plumbing fixtures. The shape allows this area of the tube to hold water, which traps sewer odors and prevents them from coming out of the drain.
Most commonly, if you have a shower, toilet, or sink, that you don’t use very often, the p-trap can dry out. Without the water in the p-trap to block smells, the foul sewer gases rise and escape out of the pipes.
Often, simply running water through the infrequently-used plumbing fixtures will allow the p-trap to collect water again and prevent gas from escaping.
If you suspect a p-trap problem in a plumbing fixture that you use regularly, it’s best to call a plumber. They will be able to determine if it’s a p-trap problem and how to fix it.
Biofilm is a slimy substance made up of bacteria and bacterial waste. It produces a musty smell and is sometimes mistaken for mildew. Often biofilm is due to an accumulation of waste from products such as soap, creams, oil, or shampoo. The combination of this debris and the dampness of the plumbing fixture provides a perfect breeding ground for biofilm production.
Depending on where the biofilm is located, it might be just a simple fix of cleaning up the area. For example, if it’s on your shower walls or sink faucet, just thoroughly clean these areas with a cleaning product every week. It may be time to call a plumber if it continues to reappear even after two to three weeks of continuous cleaning.
If the musty smell is coming from the drain, the biofilm may be in the pipes. This is a more challenging clean up job and should be handled by a professional.
Avoid future biofilm build ups by having drain stoppers to catch debris and emptying these stoppers often.
Water Heater Issues
Your water heater tank is the source of all the water in your home. Unfortunately, it’s also the perfect environment for bacteria growth, as it provides a wet, dark, and warm space. Bacteria can create an unpleasant smell, and if it’s in the water tank, it may be transferred to the water.
Additionally, many water heaters have sulfur in their metal components, which can produce a “rotten egg” smell in the house.
If you suspect your water heater is the source of the bad smell, call a plumber. Your water heater should be receiving annual maintenance anyway. Your plumber may opt for one of many solutions depending on the situation:
- Your water tank may need flushing to remove debris buildup
- The plumber may inspect the inside of the tank for signs of corroding and remove the rust.
- A water filtration system may be recommended
- Sometimes, the rancid smell from a water heater is a sign that it’s time to replace the appliance. Water heaters, on average, only last between 8-12 years.
Only a professional can diagnose the water heater problem and suggest the best solution.
blueFrog Plumbing in Denton, TX
The hot climate of Denton, TX, brings with it its own set of plumbing problems. Luckily, local residents have learned to rely on blueFrog Plumbing for all of their plumbing issues. bluefrog Plumbing + Drain offers services in drain cleaning, emergency plumbing, water heaters, and more. There’s no reason you have to live with stinky plumbing. Call us today for a quick resolution so you can get back to enjoying your home.