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Service Throughout St. Louis County and St. Charles County, Since 1991


Performance Plumbing Blog

Discover the Main Reasons for Stinky Drains and Smelly Water


When plumbing does its job, it’s practically an invisible force in the home; all that water and other waste that is created is almost magically carried away with no fuss or inconvenience to anyone. What goes down the drain stays there.

That’s why when you notice a problem with your plumbing, it’s always a good idea to address it quickly. This is especially true if the problem you’re noticing is a bad smell. A bad smell is almost never harmless and can have a real impact on your health if you ignore it.

Fortunately, smell issues may have simple solutions that homeowners can implement themselves.

Dealing With a Stinky Drain

If the water is fine, but you’re detecting a smell coming from a drain no matter whether water is present or not, you may have a dried out p-trap problem.

Your p-trap is the pipe right under a sink, and the unique bends are designed to hold a layer of water that acts like a vapor barrier against sewer gases that naturally float through pipes.

If there’s no water in your p-trap, those gases can now freely enter your home.

As you might imagine from the explanation, the solution to this issue is both simple and cheap; just pour more water into the drain and restore the barrier.

That’s exactly what a professional would do, so save yourself the money and try this solution out for yourself.

Dealing with Smelly Water

While it may be alarming, a widespread problem with water causing a smell from every tap in the home does not automatically mean that it is the water supply itself that is contaminated.

It is possible that this may be a health threat, however, especially if you are cooking and bathing in this water.

The actual source of the problem may be that bacteria are not in your water supply, but in your water heater tank, which then affects any warm water anywhere in your home.

If the temperature of your water heater is too low, this may create a nurturing environment for a bacterial colony to thrive. You can get rid of them by turning the temperature up to between 135-140°F.

Dealing With a Smelly Sewage Line

Things become more complex with a problem that is traced directly to your sewage line.

The sheer size of it means that issues can crop up in more places, and either still remain easy DIY fixes, or require something alot more serious.

You might just have a ventilation problem, in which case, going outside and clearing some leaves or debris from a vent quickly solves a smell problem as gases can flow back out.

If your sewage issue is somewhere deep in the line, like a blockage or break, you’ll need industrial tools and professional know-how to fix this properly.

Call up an expert to get a proper assessment and action plan.

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