Our homes and offices each has a peculiar smell of their own. Pleasant, welcoming, warm, relaxing, sumptuous but never unpleasant.
But sometimes unpleasant odors do sneak into our home or office environment and the source may at times leave us baffled.
What comes in must go out, and half of our plumbing systems are about getting rid of waste. The plumbing system inside your home or any building consists of a network of pipes, vents and traps. Each plumbing fixture (toilet, sink, shower, floor drain, etc.) is connected to this system of pipes that carry the wastewater to the public sewage. This system safely removes waste for treatment and provides a critical barrier that keeps sewer gases and bacteria from entering your home. When the home’s plumbing system is working properly, the naturally-occurring hydrogen sulfide is directed up and out of the building through a vent system, which exits through the roof. No smell should be present.
There are a variety of reasons that sewer smells may be entering a home or business.
A common reason is the lack of required traps or vents. Every fixture should have a trap and a vent pipe to keep smells from entering the home. The trap in each fixture, when properly vented, provides a liquid seal that prevents sewer gases from entering the premise. Without the trap, gases will leak in constantly, and will be displaced by water down the drain which can force the gases up into the bathroom even if normally it’s not detectable. If traps and vent pipes are missing, you may need the help of a plumber to install them immediately.
On some occasions the smell could also emanate because of the overflow drain. Depending on the design of your sink, the overflow can hold a small amount of water at the bottom where it joins the main drain, which can become stagnant. Run water down the drain and you’ll force some air up the overflow (to make way for the water coming down), which will have that stagnant smell. To diagnose this, plug the sink and begin filling it; you shouldn’t get any nasty smell at first because there is no air movement. Once the water level hits the overflow drain, you will start smelling the smell for a while because the water is displacing the gas, which wants to rise above the water and so will move up into the bathroom. Resolve this issue with a pipe snake and it will clean out any caked-on gunk which contributes to the smell, and which may be trapping the water.
Simple DIY tricks –
- To correct a dry trap, try pouring a quart of water into all sinks, showers/tubs and floor drains may correct this problem. The smell maybe be disgusting, so stay out of the room while you do this. The pipes need to constantly be wet for a long while, until the smell disappears.
- Liquid pipe cleaner | de-clogger. This cleans the junk out of your drains in the best possible way — chemically destroying it. Pour bleach or vinegar- baking soda down the drain and overflow the drain to kill anything nasty in there.
If none of the above are doable owing to your busy schedule, give us a call and we will be more than happy to schedule a plumber visit to get back the sweet smells of your home.