The smell of rotten eggs coming up from your drains is never pleasant. While it can be alarming on its own, smells like rotten eggs and sulfur coming from your drains can be a sign that sewer gas is leaking into your home.
This isn’t always the case, as we’ll get into below, but it’s worth mentioning up top so you grasp the potential severity of the problem. Sewer gas is toxic and explosive, so you’ll want to have any problem involving it professionally addressed.
Reason 1: Your Drains Are Dirty
Sometimes the stink emanating from your drains is caused by organic matter decomposing just beneath them. This means that sewer gas is an unlikely culprit, but things like grease, decaying plant matter, and rotting meat that didn’t fully make their way down the drain might be.
If your drains are dirty, you can put a few teaspoons of baking soda in your drain followed by some vinegar. This combination will help dissolve or loosen up whatever’s stuck in your drain. After you pour in the vinegar, pour in some boiling water to wash it all down and sanitize the area.
If this doesn’t work, have a professional come out to take a look. Your drains may need a more sophisticated cleaning technique that only a professional plumber can provide.
Reason 2: Your Garbage Disposal Is Dirty
If you have a garbage disposal connected to your drain, sometimes it can create – “interesting” – odors when organic matter doesn’t fully pass through. Like the situation with a dirty drain above, organic matter can get trapped in your garbage disposal or caked onto its blades. If it doesn’t manage to manage to make its way out of your home, it can start to smell really quickly!
To combat a dirty garbage disposal, try pouring a little dish soap down your sink drain while running your garbage disposal. Make sure a little hot water is pouring down there, too! If that doesn’t do the trick, you can always call a professional plumber to inspect the situation and help you find a solution.
Reason 3: Dry Drain Trap
All drainpipes form a “U” shape curve. Plumbers call this a “trap” because it traps a little bit of water to form a seal between the sewer and your home. When a drain trap is working properly, sewer gas is blocked from coming up through your drain by the trap and instead flows up the proper ventilation pipe.
Drain traps, however, can dry up. This is especially possible if it’s been a very long time since the drain was used. When the water in a drain trap evaporates, there’s nothing in the drain to seal off sewer gas from entering your home. To fix this issue, simply run water through the drain for a few seconds to fill the trap and recreate the seal.
Reason 4: You Drain Doesn’t Have a Trap
If your plumbing was recently done by someone with little plumbing experience, it’s possible they may have connected your drain line without installing a trap. To assess if this might have occurred, look underneath your sink to see if you notice a distinct U-shape turn in the pipes. If you don’t see a trap or can’t tell because the drain is inaccessible, immediately call a plumber for an inspection!
Reason 5: Clogged Sewer Vent
Your home vents sewer gas up toward the roof and out into the open air above it. This ventilation works only when drain traps are working properly and the vent itself is unobstructed. Sewer gas vents, however, can be blocked by dead foliage or nests created by birds and rodents. When this happens, sewer gas can’t escape from your home, so it may build up and release elsewhere in your home.
If you ever smell sewer gas in your home and aren’t sure what’s causing it, it’s always a good idea to contact a plumber for help. You can always count on our experts at Carter Quality Plumbing to deliver nothing short of the best possible results for plumbing problems around your home. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, we encourage you to get in touch with us today.