Have you recently used your bathroom or kitchen sink and noticed a nasty odor similar to rotten eggs emanating out of the drain? A drain that smells like rotten eggs is a common problem that always results for one reason, and that reason is the presence of bacteria. When bacteria feed on sewage or any other organic materials in a drain pipe or plumbing system, they release hydrogen sulfide gas. That has a distinct smell like sulfur or rotten eggs. While bacteria and hydrogen sulfide are always what causes the rotten egg smell, there are generally three different issues that can lead to your drains smelling.

Clogged Drain Pipe or Sewer Line

In most cases, a rotten egg smell coming from a drain indicates that there is at least a partial clog or blockage in the drain pipe itself. Or it could be in the building’s main sewer line. Clogs obviously prevent water from properly draining out of a sink or shower and lead to the drain being slower than normal. When a sink or shower drains slowly, it can easily lead to hair, food scraps and other solids getting stuck inside the P-trap. This in turn results in lots of bacteria quickly forming and causing the drain to smell bad.

A smelly shower usually indicates that there is lots of hair stuck in the drain. You can usually easily overcome the problem simply by pulling the hair out and cleaning the drain. Similarly, a kitchen sink that smells indicates there is food trapped inside the drain pipe and partially clogging it.

If all of your drains smell bad, it typically indicates that your main sewer line is partially clogged since this will make all of the drains slow. A blockage in your main sewer line isn’t something you should ignore. There is a high chance the pipe will eventually become completely clogged and lead to issues with sewage backups in your home.

Dirty Garbage Disposal

A dirty garbage disposal is another common issue that will cause the drain in your kitchen sink to smell. Small bits of food often get trapped inside a garbage disposal and lead to lots of bacteria forming. Fat, oil and grease also tend to get stuck and coat the inside of a garbage disposal and drain pipe and further contribute to bacteria growth. These issues are why you should only ever put a small amount of food into a garbage disposal at a time and never pour any type of fat, oil or grease down a garbage disposal or drain. It’s also important to only put softer foods in the garbage disposal since hard items won’t get fully ground up and can easily get stuck inside the garbage disposal.

Making sure to clean your garbage disposal regularly is also important for preventing and overcoming nasty drain odors. Cleaning your disposal with vinegar and baking soda every few weeks will help to get rid of any food stuck inside the unit and also eliminate all of the bacteria. Running a few slices of lemon through your garbage disposal will also help get rid of the bacteria and keep your drain smelling fresh.

Dry P-Trap

Sewage and rotten egg odors can also easily occur if you have any drains in your home that you rarely ever use. The main purpose of the P-trap underneath a drain is to create a seal that traps sewer gases and prevents them from rising out of the drain. Any time you use a sink or other drain, some water remains in the bend in the trap and completely seals it off so that sewer gases can’t escape. The issue is that the water in the trap slowly evaporates. This can eventually lead to the trap becoming dry if the drain isn’t used very often. Strong winds can also sometimes travel down the vent pipe on the roof and cause all of the water in the trap to slosh out.

If a P-trap is dry, then the sewer gases that naturally form in a plumbing system will start flowing out the drain and making it smell. A dry P-trap is an easy issue to overcome since all it takes is running the water for a few seconds to fill the trap back up and seal it off. You can also prevent this issue by making sure to run some water down all of your drains at least once every week or two.

Trust the Lubbock Professionals

If you need help overcoming drain odors, clogs or any other plumbing or sewer issues, Action Air Plumbing and Septic is at your service. We have nearly 40 years of experience and are proud to be the top choice in Lubbock for plumbing, septic system, heating and air conditioning services. To schedule drain cleaning, sewer inspections or any other service, contact us today.

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