Do Your Bathroom Drains Smell?

Smelly bathroom drains make life unpleasant for everyone, so fixing this problem will no doubt be a priority for you. Unfortunately, smells in bathrooms can come from a variety of sources, so finding the cause of your smell may be a challenge. Starting with the simplest fix and working your way up to more challenging solutions may be the best way to combat this problem.

Check the P Traps

Look under your bathroom sink. The pipe that runs from your sink drain into the floor or wall should be curved in an S shape. This curve is called the P trap. P traps hold water to form a seal that prevents sewer gas from rising into your home. If the P trap has no water inside, sewer gas can rise into your bathroom and cause a smell. All drains, including your sink, toilet and shower drains, should have a P trap.

In general, there are only two reasons why a P trap may dry up and allow sewer gas into your home.

  1. Disuse. If a sink or shower goes for a long time without being used, the water in the P trap will evaporate and sewer gas will leak into your home.
  2. A leak. If the P trap forms a leak, the water will exit the P trap and that’s when you’ll notice a smell.

If your smelly bathroom has not been used in days, months or years, the problem is likely an empty P trap. To fix the problem, simply run water in the sink and shower, and flush the toilet.

If the bathroom is used on a regular basis, the problem may be a leaky P trap. Check beneath the sink and under the shower or bathtub (you may need to enter your basement or crawl space) to check for leaks.

Clear Any Clogs

Clogs made from organic material like hair, fur and food can create a smell as they deteriorate in your pipes. If one of your drains has been particularly slow recently, the best solution may be to clear the clog from the pipe.

Chemical drain cleaners can be bad for older plumbing systems, and they’re bad for the environment. Use a plumber’s auger to clear the clog. To do this, insert the corkscrew end of the cable into the pipe and turn the handle on the auger. This will push the auger down into the pipe until it reaches the clog. If you’re not sure how to use a plumber’s auger, check out the video below:

If the clog is too deep in the pipes, your auger may not be able to reach it, or the problem may not be a clog at all. If this is the case, it’s better to contact a plumber. Your problem could be a cracked or poorly installed vent, or something else altogether.

Contact Terry’s Plumbing

Are you struggling with a smelly bathroom in Pittsburgh? Terry’s Plumbing can help. Contact us for all your plumbing repair needs at (412) 364-9114. We can help you discover the source of your bathroom smell, and restore your bathroom to freshness.