Why Do My Drains Smell?

Why Do My Drains Smell?

Walking into your kitchen to find a bad smell wafting from the drain is not pleasant. It may also leave you worrying about the cause of the odor.

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There can be many causes of smelly drains. Understanding the reason behind your drain’s smell is the first step to clearing the air.

Why Does My Drain Smell?

Some of the most common problems are:

Clogged Drain

If something is caught in a drain and stops water from flowing, this blockage can begin to rot and cause a foul odor.

Dry P-Trap

Person wearing rubber gloves uses an adjustable wrench on a drain pipe underneath a sink.

P-traps are under every sink in your home. They trap debris before it goes down the drain and the water pooled in them blocks sewer gas. If a P-trap gets dry, odors from the trapped debris can be released, and sewer gas may also rise up the drain.

Venting Problems

Your drainpipes are connected to venting pipes that lead to your roof. These pipes bring fresh air in and allow bad odors to escape. If a venting pipe is clogged from outside debris, such as leaves or a bird’s nest, the bad smells are forced back down into your home and out your drains.

Mold or Mildew

Moist environments are the perfect environment for mold and mildew to form. If mold grows in your drains, it can lead to bad smells. This is often a problem with drains that aren’t used regularly.

Why Does My Drain Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

A rotten egg smell is caused by hydrogen sulfide. This is one of the compounds found in sewage but can also be caused by a bacteria build-up. Although the smell can be overwhelming, hydrogen sulfide itself isn’t a health risk. However, it can indicate a more serious problem with the sewage line, so it’s important to diagnose the problem.

First, check if the problem is with your water by filling a glass with water from your sink and taking it outside to smell. If your water smells like rotten eggs, contact a plumber to investigate the problem because it could be a problem with your hot water tank, water supply or plumbing.

If your kitchen sink smells like rotten eggs, it’s most likely due to grease or fat stuck in the drain. The bacteria that grow on these substances usually have this smell. If the hydrogen sulfide smell is in your bathroom, it’s more likely to be caused by a clog or dry P-trap. There are actions you can take to fix these problems, but if the smell persists, it’s time to call a plumber.

Why Does My Kitchen Drain Smell?

media/?Closeup overview of stainless steel sink drain shows where the circular sink flange inserts into the sink basin.

HomeServe photo by Matt Schmitz

The most common cause of kitchen drain odors is rotting food. Food can stick to the sides of your drain or get caught in the garbage disposal, and even small amounts can rot and cause a bad odor.

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Why Does My Shower or Bath Drain Smell?

Hair, soap and other substances build up in shower drains and become a breeding ground for bacteria, causing a smell. Another common cause of bad smells in bathrooms is a dry P-trap, especially in guest bathrooms that are rarely used.

How Do You Fix Drain Smells?

The first step to take is always flushing your drain with boiling water. If the problem is a dry P-trap, this will fill it again. If the issue is debris or a blockage, boiling water can help move it.

If this doesn’t work, try pouring 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by 1 cup of vinegar. Let this sit for 10 minutes, then flush with boiling water. This can help dissolve a blockage and scrub away residue stuck to the sides of drains.

What Do You Do If You Smell Sewer Gas From a Drain?

If you’ve tried the above steps and the sewage smell remains, try doing a full clean of your sink to remove the blockage. If you can safely access your venting pipe, you may also want to check for blockages there. If this doesn’t work, it might be time to call in a professional.

How Do You Keep Drains From Smelling in the First Place?

If you want to stop the problem before it starts, make sure you regularly flush water down any drains that If you want to stop the problem before it starts, make sure you regularly flush water down any drains that aren’t used regularly. You should also be careful of what goes down your drains. Never pour fat or grease down your sink, and always put food waste in the trash or a compost heap. In the bathroom, use a mesh screen or similar device to catch hair before it goes down the drain. Lastly, never flush anything down the toilet besides toilet paper and human waste.

How Much Does It Cost to Install or Replace a Water Softener?

How Much Does It Cost to Install or Replace a Water Softener?

Water Softener Installation Costs at a Glance

  • Average installation cost: $1,500 (CAD $1,880)
  • Installation price range: $500-$6,000 (CAD 630-CAD 7,500)
  • Replacement cost: $700-$930 (CAD 880- CAD 1,200)
  • Average labor cost: $100-$500 (CAD 125- CAD 630)
  • Monthly salt cost: $2-$15 (CAD 2.50 to CAD 19)

Maybe you have white calcium built up on your shower heads and around the drains. Perhaps you find that your skin is itchy and your hair is dry. These may be indicators that you have hard water, which can harm your appliances in the long run.

This May Also Interest You: Have Hard Water? Here’s How to Know — and How to Treat It

It may be time to consider investing in a water softener system. Use this guide to get an idea of how much that will cost.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Water Softener?

The average cost of installing a new water softener system is $1,500 (CAD 1,880).

Prices for a water softener installation for the average home typically range from $500 to $6,000 (CAD 630 to CAD 7,500). The main factor of what it will cost is the size of the system you purchase. The average price for water softener installation in a larger home is $2,500 to $10,000 (CAD 3,100 to CAD 12,500).  If you are handy, you may be able to cut costs by installing it yourself.

A water softener needs to be replenished with sea salt. The monthly cost of softener salt is $2 to $15 (CAD 2.50 to CAD 19).

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Water Softener?

Most water softeners typically last around 10 to 15 years — provided they’re well maintained. When it comes time to replace your unit, you can expect an average cost between $700 and $930 (CAD 880 and CAD 1,200). This cost includes installation. Modern water softener systems may have certain parts tied to the sewer system. Because of this, you may need a permit and a professional who can install these systems to code.

What Are the Labor Costs Involved?

The average cost of installing a water softener is $500 to $6,000 (CAD 630 to CAD 7,500). The labor aspect of this average is $100 to $500 (CAD 125 to CAD 630). The labor cost for installing a water softener depends on a few factors:

  • The type and size purchased
  • How accessible the installation area is
  • If it requires extra piping materials or a drain

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What Size Water Softener Do I Need?

1. Determine the Hardness of the Water

One of the first things you should do to determine if you need to get a water filtration system is test your water hardness. The hardness of your water is based on what minerals are present in it. You can contact your water company, hire a professional lab or purchase a testing kit. The results are measured by grains per gallon (gpg) or milligrams per liter (mgL). The range for hard water is 7 to 11 gpg or 121 to 180 mgL.

2. Determine Your Water Consumption

Next, you need to determine the amount of water your household uses. Most household members use 80 to 100 gallons (300 to 400 liters) of water per day. Multiply your daily average by the number of people in your home. This number is your average daily consumption. For example, if you use 80 gallons (300 liters) per day and have three people in your home, your average daily consumption would be 240 gallons (900 liters).

3. Calculate Grains Removed

Calculate how many grains the system would need to remove weekly.  Multiply the gpg of your water by your household daily consumption. If your water has a hardness of 9 gpg, and the daily usage is 240 gallons (900 liters), the number of grains that need to be removed each day is 2,160. Multiply your daily number by 7. This example has a weekly average of 15,120 GR.

4. Determine Water Softener Size

Water softener sizes are typically indicated by grains to be removed weekly. The most common sizes for water softeners start at 24,000 GR and go up to 64,000 GR. When choosing a size, allow for water use fluctuations in different seasons. For the household of 3 that needs 15,120 grains to be removed, a 24,000 GR softener would be suitable.