Why Does My Drain Smell Like Rotten Eggs?
Why Do Drains Smell Like Rotten Eggs?
There are actually several different causes for your drain smelling like rotten eggs, but they all come back to one primary reason: gas from your sewer line is coming back up your drain system and escaping into your home through the drain itself. Here are a few common ways this happens.
You Don’t Have a Proper Drain Trap
A trap is a u-shaped bend in your drain line, usually just below your drain itself, that fills up with water which forms a sort of natural seal over your drain. Things that go down your drain can easily navigate through your trap, but a small amount of water will remain in the trap itself. This water blocks gas and air from your sewer line from finding its way back up your drain pipes and out through your drain.
If you recently had a drain replaced or repaired, and your plumber didn’t install a proper trap in the line, then there’s a good chance there’s no water blocking the line and preventing gas from getting through. Having a plumber install a correct trap should fix the issue.
“Everyone knows the distinct, rancid smell of rotting eggs. The sulfur-like odor is unmistakable, and it seems to completely fill up the area it’s in quickly.”
Food Is Stuck In the Drain
One of the reasons this rotting smell can happen in kitchen drains, even when they’re working properly, is from rotting food getting stuck on the walls of your drain line, even before the plumbing trap. When this food starts to decompose, it starts to smell, and may smell like rotten eggs or even mold.
There’s a fairly easy natural way to resolve this. Boil several cups of water on your stove and keep it scalding hot. When the water is just about ready, pour a couple of teaspoons of baking soda down the drain, and then quickly follow it with some vinegar. Then follow the mixture by pouring the boiling-hot water down the drain (be careful not to burn yourself). The foaming mixture should eat away the junk in your drain and eliminate the smell. Then follow it up by tossing a few chunks of lemon down the drain and turn on your garbage disposal for a lemony-fresh finish! This also helps to clean out your garbage disposal, which may also have traces of rotting food stuck inside.
You Haven’t Used Your Drain in a While
It’s pretty easy to see a flaw with drain traps as a technology: they depend on water, and water evaporates. If you haven’t used a drain in some time, the water may evaporate down to the point where there isn’t enough in the trap to seal off the gas. Simply run your water for a minute or so and this should solve the problem.
Clogged Plumbing Vent
A clogged plumbing vent is perhaps the least common reason for a smelly drain, but can often happen when something like leaves, dirt, or even a small animal become lodged in the vent pipe that’s sticking out of your roof. Your vent pipe is what allows water to flow seamlessly down your drain and sewer lines, so it’s important to keep these clear. There’s a very distinct sign that your drain line might be clogged aside from the smell as well: a gurgling sound in your drains as the water flows away. If you hear this sound and smell rotting eggs, call a plumber right away!