Stinky drains may just seem like an annoyance, but if a few DIY treatments don’t cure the problem, you could be facing an underlying problem with your plumbing. Occasional sewage smells from your sink or tub drains may not be cause for concern, but if the lingering odor worsens over time, it’s time to call a licensed plumber to get a closer look at your pipes.
Causes of sewage smells from drain
The unpleasant odor drifting out of your drains can be caused by a number of issues. Having a professional plumber look at the issues will involve a camera inspection of your pipes. By running a waterproof, high-resolution camera through your system, the plumber can best determine what’s causing the issue and recommend the best solution.
Some of the most common reasons for a foul drain odor include:
- Buildup: Continuous use and age take a toll on your plumbing. As grease, soap debris, cooking oil and other wastes are washed down your drains, a layer of buildup forms on the inner lining of the pipes. Without routine plumbing maintenance, the layer of accumulated waste thickens over time. The buildup begins to emit foul odors and can reduce the flow rate of your plumbing system. You’ll likely notice the sewage smell is stronger after a weekend away, or a period of time when the water hasn’t been cut on for a few days. Having your pipes cleaned professionally can eliminate the buildup.
- Clogged Pipe: A clog can develop overtime or form quickly from a foreign object, like a child’s toy or paper waste that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet. When the clog forms, the waste is unable to completely pass through the pipe. A portion of the waste gets caught by the clog, and the fumes have only one place to go – back up through your drain. Store-bought products are laden with chemicals and can do more harm than good for clogged pipes. If using a plunger or plumbing snakes doesn’t solve the problem, call a local plumber.
- Sewer Main Blockage: In the most severe cases, a sewer main blockage can create the odors. In many cases, main line blocks will also be accompanied by sewage spewing up through your drains. Red flags that indicate a sewer main block may be the cause include multiple drain blockages in your home or the inability to flush any of the toilets. When sewage has nowhere to go, it begins to travel back through the pipes toward your drains. Call an emergency plumber immediately if raw sewage is entering your home.
Don’t ignore the sewage smells in your bathroom or kitchen. What you can’t see may just be the problem. Handling the issue before it becomes a major problem will save you costly emergency repairs down the road. Your plumbing is meant to last for decades, but without the right upkeep, the life of your pipes could be much shorter than expected. Schedule an annual pipe inspection and cleaning to keep your system running at optimal performance.