Drains and Water Smell Bad? Here are Some Reasons Why

Does your water smell like rotten eggs? Is there a musty smell floating through your home? Do you dread going to the basement because of the bad smell coming from the plumbing down there?

While smelly plumbing problems are not fun to experience, they are usually temporary.
We’ve put together a list of the most likely reasons that your drains and water smell bad and what you can do about it.

Ventilation Problems

When you use your plumbing fixtures, water flows through your pipes, along with a good dose of air to move blocked-drainsmelly gases through.

When the ventilation is threatened because of blockage (usually from a rodent or bird nest, food scraps, plant or tree root intrusion) the flow stops through the pipe.

The gases still need a way to move out of the pipe, so they will generally redirect through your drains and into your home.

Rid yourself of that unwanted smell by making a habit of regular drain cleaning to eliminate any blockage.


Sewer Line Problems

If there is a sewer smell coming from outside your home, it may be the municipal sewer line.

If you smell a musty odor inside, particularly from your basement drains, it may be that the sewer line from your home is damaged and not transporting wastewater properly away from your home. Sewage could be pooling under your basement.

If you think this might be the case you are advised to get professional help ASAP. There is a possibility that the line could rupture and flood your home.

P-Trap Problems

If your P-trap dries out, there is nothing standing between your drains and the smelly gases originating in the sewer.

p-trapThe P-trap is the “P”-shaped bend attached to the piping, usually located on underneath sinks.

It works by filling with water and creating a cushion between the drain and the sewer gases. If the trap drains, then the smells will waft on through.

When’s the last time that you used the sink that is smelly? Running the water will probably remedy the problem.

Double check that the seal isn’t broken as well.

Water Heater Problems

It’s time to get acquainted with your water heater. There is a rod inside your heater (the anode rod) which prevents your tank from rust.

When this anode rod interacts with higher levels of anaerobic bacteria (which thrives in warm, moist environments like your water heater), then sulfuric gases are released. That is how the rotten egg smell is explained.

Don’t fret. Switching the anode rod is usually all that you need to do. It is not a bad idea to replace what you’ve got with an aluminum anode rod if you’d like.