What’s That Smell? 3 Reasons Your Drains Might Stink

Woman Holding - Seattle, WA - Quality PlumbingWhen a home’s plumbing system functions properly, homeowners don’t give the plumbing much thought. Drains are an integral part of any residential plumbing system. Without functional drains, water and waste wouldn’t be able to exit your home.


Some of the drains in your home can quickly transform from friend to foe by emitting foul odors. Any odd smells coming from the drains in your home are cause for concern and should be examined by an experienced plumber.


A number of things can cause smelly drains, but these three are the most common sources of drain odors in residential properties.


  1. Dry P-Trap

If you look underneath the kitchen or bathroom sinks in your home, you will see a series of pipes that service the drains in these sinks. One section of pipe plays a particularly important role in protecting both your plumbing system and your home.


This section of pipe is constructed using two 90-degree pipes combined with a horizontal overflow pipe, and the section of pipe has the appearance of the letter P. Because of the shape of this pipe section, it is commonly referred to as the P-trap. A P-trap is designed to help prevent foreign objects from traveling deep into your plumbing system where they can create bothersome clogs.


A small amount of water remains in the P-trap at all times. This water acts as a barrier between sewer gases and your home. If the P-trap servicing one of your drains dries out, you may notice a foul odor coming from the affected drain. A plumber will be able to determine why your P-trap has dried out so you can prevent sewer gases from infiltrating your home in the future.

  1. Rotting Food

If the terrible odor filling your home originates in your kitchen sink’s drain, rotting food could be to blame. Kitchen sink drains handle a significant amount of food waste over the course of their lifetime.


Oils, grease, and fat that find their way into your kitchen sink’s drain can stick to the interior surfaces of the pipes that drain water away from your sink. As this buildup thickens, food particles can become trapped within it. Over time, the food particles begin to deteriorate and emit a rotting smell that wafts up and out of your drain.


It’s important that you invest in regular drain cleaning for your kitchen sink to avoid organic buildup within the drain pipes. Routine drain cleaning will prevent organic buildup and help to eliminate any bad smells coming from your kitchen sink’s drain.


Your plumber will be able to advise you the best way or best product that may help.

  1. Sewer Blockage

When you notice foul odors coming from multiple drains in your home, this is an indication that your sewer line could be blocked.


Raw sewage being sent down your home’s drains is unable to move past the blockage. As the sewage accumulates in the main sewer line, it can produce odors that filter back into your home.


Sewer gases can also cause foul odors to come from your drains. Blockages prevent sewer gases from remaining separated from your home. Some sewer gases can be detrimental to your family’s health. Sewer gases can even be combustible, putting the safety of your home at risk. Protect your home’s plumbing system and your family’s health by eliminating blockages from your main sewer line.


Strange smells coming from the drains in your home are an indication that your plumbing system is in distress. Contact Quality Plumbing for help identifying and eliminating the source of foul drain odors in your home.