You know what kind of smell Iím talking about Ė that rotten eggs smell, the smell of sewer gases. Youíll know it when you smell it and you certainly canít miss it. But sometimes you canít tell where itís coming from or whatís causing the problem. Here are some suggestions for handling this unpleasant Ė and potentially dangerous Ė plumbing problem.
If the smell is coming from a kitchen or bathroom sink:
Check for a leaks in the drains traps under the sink. Thereís a reason those pipes are ĎSí shaped and itís not to give you more storage room. That curve in the drain pipes under your sinks holds water and that water acts as a barrier between your sink and the outside sewage system. The water in that trap actually blocks sewer gases and prevents them from coming up out of your drains. If thereís no water in the trap, that barrier is gone and that could be the source of the smell.
Kitchen sinks present even more problems. Grease and food particles can build up on the inside of your pipes and as they rot they become a breeding ground for odor causing bacteria. The situation can become even worse if you leave you home for an extended period of time. With no water going down that drain that sludge dries out like cement on the inside of your pipes and then youíve got a real problem to deal with.
The same problem can occur with your garbage disposal. The spinning blades toss grease and wet food particles up onto the sides of the disposal while itís in operation and they stick there. Over time, they build up and create yet another perfect breeding ground for odor causing bacteria.
Of course youíre best bet is to completely avoid putting any type of grease or food particles down your kitchen drain but thatís not always possible. But you can reduce the risk by regularly cleaning your drain and disposal. Pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda down each side of the drain and follow it up with a cup of distilled white vinegar. The mixture will foam for a few minutes and then flush with very hot water. This will help keep any build up from getting out of control.
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