These Top 3 Reasons for Stinky Drains and Smelly Water Need Your Attention
Modern plumbing fixtures and the systems that connect them are designed to be odorless. Even so, issues ranging from cracked pipes to blocked vents, to water heaters set at too cool temperatures.
All of these things can allow sulfurous odors to seep into your home that are not only disgusting but can pose health problems with concentrations of bacteria and methane. Here are three common reasons for noxious odors:
1. Drain and Sewer Line Problems
Bad smells can come from leaks from rotted or cracked drain pipes, loose-fitting pipe connections and other reasons. Blocked, overflowing drains can also be culprits.
Sewer blockages in your private lines connecting to the main sewer lines causes water and odors to back up drains.
These blockages are often caused by flushing foreign objects in toilets, ranging from diapers and tampons to solid food and pet litter.
Cooking oil and fat poured down sinks can also create blockages.
If the main sewer line backs up, then it is the city’s or municipality’s duty to fix the problem. But often you will need to consult with a plumbing professional to determine the reason.
2. Bacteria in Water Heaters
Every metal water heater comes equipped with an anode rod, which protects the tank from corrosion and rust. As the rod decays doing its job, it can create hydrogen sulfur gas that acts with bacteria in tank sediment to create rotten smells and bad-tasting water.
The bacteria can also multiply if the heater is unused for a long time or its temperature setting is put too low, by a family, for example, that wants to protect its children from scalding water.
Water stored at temperatures under 140°F runs increasing chances of breeding bacteria, including ones that can cause Legionnaire’s disease.
3. P-Trap and Venting Issues
The sulfurous smells can also be caused by a vent pipe on your roof blocked with bird nest or other debris.
The impeded airflow can create a vacuum that drains the water in the bottom of P-traps.
These are the curving pipes under your sink that collect water in the bottom of the U-shape, creating a seal that prevents water and odors backing up from sewer pipes.
If the water in the P-trap is whisked away by a vacuum, leak or evaporation if the drain hasn’t been used for a long time, then the seal is broken and sewer smells waft in.