What causes smelly drains in the bathroom?

    June 19, 2019 Reid Geiler

    What causes smelly drains in the bathroom_The Geiler Company

    If you notice a foul odor coming from your bathroom, it's time to put on your detective hat and find out exactly where the smell is coming from. 


    Is it the sink, the toilet or the bathtub/shower?  

    If it's the sink or the shower, it could be that the drain is partially clogged with what many plumbers call "biofilm".  That's the stuff left over from all the stuff you think disappears when it goes down the drain.  Try boiling water at first to see if that removes the problem.  If it doesn't, try some drain cleaner from the store and carefully follow the instructions. If the problem persists, it's time to call a qualified plumber to make sure that you don't have something more seriously wrong.  A leaky pipe inside a wall or under a floor can cause a lot of water damage in a hurry as well as stinking up the place. 

    If the smell is coming from the toilet, check to see if the toilet is loose. If it moves, the seal is broken on the bottom and water could be leaking underneath. This will cause water damage as well as an odor.  Another problem could be the wax ring, which is used to seal the drain.  It's a good idea to call a plumber to come take a look if this is the case.

    When Is It Time To Call A Plumber For A Clogged Toilet_The Geiler Company

    If everything looks good and you don't find any clogs or obvious leaks, the problem could be sewer gas.  Those U shaped pipes under the sink and tub are used to collect water which prevents sewer gas from coming back up the drain and into your home.  The problem comes when there is no water in the trap.  It could be a small leak that has drained the trap or the water in the trap could have evaporated in a fixture that isn't used regularly.  If you've found the odor in a rarely used bathroom or residence that has been vacant for a long time, the solution could be as simple as running a little water to refill the trap.

    If that doesn't work, it could be the vent at the top of the house.  All the fixtures in your bathroom eventually drain into the same pipe. It's called the P-trap and it runs to the sewer at one end and up to your roof at the other.  The roof access is to allow the sewer gas to escape.  If it gets blocked by a birds nest or debris, the odor will come back down into your home.  

    If the odor is very strong, it's best to call a plumber right away.  Sewer gas contains flammable gases like methane, and more odor could mean a dangerous concentration of gas.  The Geiler Company has been dealing with drain odors and much more for over 130 years, providing prompt, professional and friendly service all at an affordable price.


      Call us at 513-574-0025 and let us take a look if you suddenly find a bad smell in your bathroom.

    emergency plumbing service

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