August 2, 2016
By Mark Paup

4 Reasons That Your Drains May Smell Bad

Updated February 5, 2024

You never want unpleasant smells in your house, no matter where they come from. If the drains in your kitchen, bathrooms, or elsewhere start to send out rotting or sewer-like smells, it’s not something you’ll be able to ignore!

There are several potential causes of bad-smelling drains that range from minor troubles you can easily fix to major plumbing emergencies that require the best professional plumbing. The list of possible sources for odors from drains below will give you an idea of what you may be up against:

    1. Dried-out p-trap: This is the simplest cause of smelly drains. The p-trap is the curved section of the drainpipe just beneath the drain, and it holds water to create a barrier against sewer gas flowing in the wrong direction. If a sink isn’t used often enough, the water in the p-trap will dry up and sewer odors will start escaping. To fix this, run water down the drain for a few minutes.
    2. Rotting organic build-up: This is a kitchen drain problem. If there’s excess organic build-up in the drains—fat, oil, grease, food particles—they’ll eventually start to rot and create terrible smells. Schedule a professional drain cleaning to solve this.
    3. Blocked drain vents: To prevent rising pressure within the drainage system, drains have vent pipes that open onto the roof. Should these vents become blocked, sewer gas will be forced back up through the p-traps. Only professional plumbers can fix this.
    4. Damaged or clogged sewer line: If drains throughout your home are emitting terrible smells, the problem might be down in the sewer line that connects your house to the municipal system. Blockage or even a break in the sewer line will lead to a sewage back-up into the house—and the smells are an early warning this is happening. This requires the best professional plumbers, and don’t wait to call them!

Golden Rule has emergency service for your plumbing needs in Des Moines, IA.

Contact Us Today for Plumbing Service!

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