How to Eliminate Gross Plumbing Smells

What Causes Gross Plumbing Smells?

Showers, sinks, and toilets all accumulate waste that has to be transported somewhere. Their drains are designed to safely and efficiently lead sewage for proper disposal and treatment. In sinks and showers, there are a variety of smells that could result from different things. A musty smell is often indicative of active mold growth underneath the drain cover. However, a rotten egg or sewage smell is the result of either the accrual of biofilm from a clogged or unclean drain or sewer gases that have escaped from drainage pipes. In any event, a clean and clear drain does not emit such scents. If you have noticed any of these smells in your shower or your sink drains, it is best to contact a plumber in your area immediately to clean out your drain.

As these smells relate to Virginia and North Carolina home sewer systems, there are a few components that may become faulty throughout their lifetime. This can be a result of either insufficient cleaning or damaged elements. Sewer systems are composed of a series of pipes that carry sewage toward its processing destination. These pipes can often back up and eventually burst, leading to unwanted foul odors. Vent pipes that are too short and ill-fitting pipe connections can often result in leaks that can also result in a noticeable smell. The most common cause of disgusting smells emitting from your sewer system is loose sewer gases. These gases can be released because of an empty or dry P-trap beneath your sink, or blocked vents in your sewer system. Whatever the case, it is always best to receive a proper inspection and diagnosis from a professional plumber.

How Can I Eliminate Gross Plumbing Smells?

We’ve discussed how gross plumbing smells may arise in your home. Now, it’s time to explain how a professional plumber would alleviate the causes of unwanted, foul, and musty sewage/plumbing odors! 

  1. Removing Biofilm

Biofilm is the result of the accumulation of bacteria and decomposing debris within your drain. This build-up of bacteria results in a sticky, glue-like substance which allows the bacteria to stick to nearly any surface. Don’t worry! This may sound disgusting, and it is,  but here is what a professional plumber would  use to eliminate the presence of the debris: 

  • Boiling water
  • Baking soda
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Drain brush cleaner
  • Screwdriver

Once the plumber has gathered these elements, their process is relatively simple. First, they’ll remove your drain with a screwdriver (if necessary). If you have a push-pull drain, the plumber will unscrew it by turning it counter-clockwise. Second, they’ll wait for the boiling water to reach a temperature of 150℉ and pour it down the drain, followed by one cup of vinegar, then a half a cup of baking soda. After doing this, they’ll wait 2 hours, then pour more boiling water down the drain at the same temperature. Finally,  they’ll run a drain brush down the drain to remove any leftover debris.  

This is a proven method of eliminating the accumulation of biofilm as well as any unwanted odors. If you are still experiencing a clogged drain after undergoing this process, assess the situation with your local plumber for other possible solutions. 

  1. Resolving Escaping Sewer Gases

Sewer gases (Hydrogen Sulfide) are common contributors to gross smells that may circulate your home. While inhaling the odors that result from leaking sewer gasses may not be detrimental to your health, no one wants a gross scent moving around their home. Sewer backups and dry P-traps are often the root causes of exposure to sewer gases. Sewer backups typically require repairs from a plumber. However, a dry P-trap can sometimes prove to be an easy problem to solve! and will take any qualified plumber no time at all to fix!

In order to determine if you have a dry P-trap, you will first want to shine a light down your drain. If you see water at the bottom of the pipe connected to the drain, you’ll need to contact a plumber for further inspection. If you don’t see any water, chances are that you have a dry P-trap.

A P-trap is the U-shaped pipe that attaches to every drain in your home. It is called a P-trap because it is designed to trap a small amount of water that blocks sewer gases from circulating throughout your home. When this pipe dries out, or contains an insufficient level of water, sewer gases will waft up through your drain. Contacting a professional plumber is your best bet when it comes to resolving this issue.

Do You Need Assistance with Your Plumbing?

If you have plumbing problems in Virginia, it’s always good to know a local pro who can properly resolve your issue. Virginia home sewer system smells may or may not be difficult for you to resolve after reading up on our tips. But, if you require further assistance eliminating plumbing smells, or have discovered a more serious issue with your sewage system, it’s best to go with the pros. Contact one of our expert plumbers today, and let A1 Sewer & Drain show you why our plumbing services in Virginia always satisfy!

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