Three Common Reasons For Plumbing Odors

Posted on: 14 August 2018


The smell of sewage and waste is extremely unpleasant and can even indicate a health hazard if sewage and dirty water are present within your home or yard. There are a variety of reasons why your plumbing may be emitting an odor, which vary in their severity and how easily they can be fixed. Understanding some of the most common reasons why you may have a strong smell of sewage in your home and what you can do to fix it can help you get your household back to normal again quickly. 

Empty U-Trap

The U-trap refers to the U shaped pipe that is directly located underneath your sinks. It prevents sewage gases and smells from entering your home by filling with water, but if you haven't used that specific sink or drain in a while, it can dry out. Fortunately, fixing a dried out U-trap is a simple process: just run the tap for a few minutes to refill it. If you notice that your U-trap is constantly emptying, you may want to inspect your plumbing for signs of a leak.

Frozen Plumbing Vent

If your property works on a septic system, there will be a vent located somewhere outside that provides ventilation for sewage gases that are created during the decomposition process. During winter, ice and snow can block this vent, which will then cause the gases created to push their way into your home. Fortunately, clearing out this vent will usually be enough to alleviate the smell of sewage in your home, though you may have to break any ice and move snow away from the vent several times over the course of the season if the weather is particularly intense.

Food Buildup

Another common reason for strong smells coming out of your drains, especially in the kitchen, is because of trapped debris, most commonly food, which is decomposing in the pipes. While not exactly the smell of sewage, it is still particularly unpleasant and can attract pests into your home through your plumbing. In order to clean out the debris and remove the odor, you may want to flush the drains out with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. Let it sit for a half hour or so before rinsing it away. For more severe odors, especially if the drain in question is draining water slowly, you may want to make use of a drain snake to physically remove the food gunk in your pipes, and install a strainer to keep debris out of your drains in the future.

Reach out to a plumbing contractor for help.