Top 3 Reasons for Foul Smelling Drains and Stinky Water
It’s a tough call to make. Some people want to lower the temperature on their hot water tanks to prevent the risk of scalding, especially among children.
But with the temperature set too low, bacteria can multiply and cause rotten odors and bad-tasting water. This is one of the top reasons that people are confronted with foul smells coming from their drains, taps and toilets.
Sewer smells waft up for different reasons, including cracked drain pipes, clogged drains, loose pipe connections, plugged vent pipes and, obviously, sewer line back-ups.
1 – Breeding Bacteria in Water Heaters
As mentioned above, bacteria can multiply in a water heater if its temperature is set too low. This can also happen if the water heater lies dormant for a long time, during a vacation, for example.
Bad smells from water heaters can also come from the anode rods inside. In doing their job in protecting the tanks from rust and corrosion, the rods decay over time, creating a hydrogen sulfur gas that acts with bacteria in tank sediment to create rotten-egg smells.
2 – Sewer Blockages
You’re lucky (if you can call it that) if blockages happen in the main sewer lines because it is the city or municipality’s responsibility to fix the problem.
Though in the meantime beware, since the gases contain methane and bacteria that can also be harmful to your health.
But if it’s your home’s sewer lines that are backing up, it’s time to contact a professional plumber.
Signs of blockage can be subtle, like a toilet that takes a long time flushing, or overt, like a basement or yard that floods with leaked sewage.
Sewer blockages in your home are often caused by flushing foreign objects down the toilet, including diapers, pet litter, and tampons. Cooking oil and fat dumped into the sink can also cause clogs.
3 – The Drained P-Trap
Sinks in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms are usually equipped with P-traps underneath.
Water that collects in the bottom of their U-shaped pipe forms a seal that prevents sewer gases from wafting back into the house.
But if the seal is broken, because the drain isn’t used much and dries out (for example, in a guest bathroom), or leaks, then there is nothing to stop the odors.
The seal water can also be sucked out when a vent used to draw out sewer gases to a stack in the roof become blocked and creates a vacuum.