A guide to common plumbing odors
Plumbing odors are unpleasant, to say the least. Whether they come from the sink, toilet, shower or garbage disposal, these smells can stop you in your tracks. Fortunately, many common plumbing odors have easy fixes. Below are common problems along with tips to help you say goodbye to bad smells in your home.
Sewer gas smell in bathroom
Problem: Sewer gas smell can rear its head when you least expect it, turning your bathroom into a smelly mess. The smell, which resembles rotten eggs or gasoline, can be caused by small problems like cracks or leaks that allow the gases to escape into the air. Damage to a toilet wax ring and base or bacterial growth in drains are two of the most common causes of sewer gas smell in the bathroom.
Fix: Replace the wax ring or re-caulk the toilet base. For bacterial growth don’t use chemical drain cleaners, use enzyme-based cleaners or baking soda and vinegar. Another option is Hydro jetting, a powerful burst of water which cleans the pipes with high pressure.
Sink smells like rotten eggs
Problem: If the bad smells are coming from your sink, the first thing to check is the sink overflow. This is a hole located either underneath or across from the faucet. It’s prone to accumulate buildup of bacteria, soap scum, and hair that can clog and produce foul smells.
Fix: To clean your sink overflow, you can use a small bottle brush to clean out the hole and wipe away any buildup. Or, you can mix a solution of half chlorine bleach and half water to clear out any grime with ease.
If the sink in question is rarely used, try running some water down the drain and see if the smell subsides. With normal usage, the P-trap underneath the sink holds water to stop sewer gas smells from entering your home. But, if the sink hasn’t been used in a while, the water dries up and the odors can enter unopposed.
Garbage disposal smells
Problem: The first thing to address is the disposal’s splash guard. This is the black rubber piece you see when looking directly down into the disposal. The underside of the splash guard is a magnet for food waste and bacteria, producing bad smells.
Fix: To clean the splash guard, grab a clean cloth and turn the splash guard inside out. Scrub away whatever grime you find and then rinse with hot water.
To keep your garbage disposal from stinking up your whole kitchen take fresh lemon, lime, or orange peels and toss them down the disposal when it’s powered on.
Another option would be to pour ¼ cup of baking soda down the drain, and then leave it for about 10 minutes. Follow it with one cup of vinegar. Be sure and cover the drain opening so the bubbles don’t escape. Let the mixture fizzle and work for a few minutes, and then finish by turning on the water and running the disposal to clear out any leftover food waste.
Water smells like sulfur
Problem: Sulfuric smelling water isn’t necessarily dangerous, but it can negatively impact taste. If the sulfur smell only comes from the hot side of the faucet, then your water heater may be to blame. If the smell comes from both sides of the faucet, the issue may come from your plumbing, or from the source of your water.
Fix: Water filtration can improve the smell, taste, and color of your tap water.
Plumbing odors have a way of making themselves impossible to ignore. Instead of masking the smells with scented sprays and candles, there are often easy fixes but if the smell persists, call a plumber. Chas Roberts A/C & Plumbing is a family business that has been in the valley for over 75 years, www.chasroberts.com.
Damon Bromagem is Vice President of Residential Sales and Service for Chas Roberts A/C and Plumbing. He brings more than 15 years of industry and executive management experience to the company.