Plumbing Tips – Why Your Drains Smell Bad

San Rafael

(415) 942-6565

Santa Rosa

(707) 452-3464

An unpleasant stench emitting from your drains is never a fun situation. There are several reasons why your drains smell bad. Some common scenarios for your drains to smell bad are: the drain isn’t used on a regular basis, or regular drain cleaning maintenance is not performed. Routine drain cleaning is one of the easiest ways to prevent your drains from smelling bad. Here are some reasons why your drains smell bad and some plumbing tips to prevent this common plumbing problem.


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The main function of a drain is to removed wastewater from the house and into the sewer. This should be a one-way trip straight to the sewer, however sewer gas can sometimes travel back up the pipe and infiltrate the home, leading to a drain that smells bad. A trap is designed to leave a water barrier to prevent sewer gas from traveling back up through the pipe. Sometimes the trap can get dried out, particularly if the drain isn’t used that often. When this happens the sewer gas is permitted to rise right out of the drain to invade your home. This is one of the leading reasons why your drains smell bad. Drains that smell bad as the result of a dried trap are a quick and easy fix. Simply run water down the drain on regular intervals as part of your ongoing plumbing maintenance.


Vent pipes are used to divert sewer gas away from the home, often leading out through a pipe on the roof. Think of it as an exhaust system, sometimes this pipe can get clogged with debris like:


bird nests, leaves, or ice and prevent the gas from escaping. Drains smell bad if there is no route for the gas to be expelled. If this is the case a professional plumber should be called to inspect the vent pipe.


A drain clog can also cause drains to smell bad. Over time clogs can grow bigger and bigger collecting other debris as they travel down the drain. Unfortunately, clogs can also collect germs and bacteria leading to a bad smell. Regular drain cleaning is suggested to alleviate this problem.


Just because garbage is in the name does not mean your garbage disposal is a garbage can. A lot of the time people put things down the garbage disposal that do not belong, which can cause damage and lead to drains that smell bad. For best results avoid putting trash, large food particles, fibrous food particles, glass, chemicals, and grease down the garbage disposal. The garbage disposal should also always be used with running water, and at regular intervals be cleaned and deodorized.


If you notice that more than one drain smells bad, then there could be a bigger issue with the sewer line. A clog or a break in the sewer line could result in drains that smell bad. Other signs that there is an issue with the sewer line are unexplained puddles of water on the ground, gurgling sounds from the drains., and frequent clogs. A professional plumber is needed in order to diagnose the source of the problem.

Do your drains smell bad? Contact John Owens Services today!

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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464



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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464