Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Blog

Bad Smells From Plumbing: What Might Be Wrong


Nobody wants their plumbing to smell bad, because nobody wants their house to smell bad. But people understand that when foul odors start wafting from drains, there may be something seriously wrong with the plumbing system. It’s about more than just a bad-smelling house.

When it comes to plumbing in Germantown, MD and the surrounding areas, our plumbers know what must be done about foul odors from plumbing. Below we’re going to look at a few of the possibilities for smelly plumbing and whether you need to call us to have repairs or other work done.

Dirty garbage disposal

If the drain that’s giving off odors is the kitchen drain with the disposal, the disposal may be the problem. A garbage disposal can develop a build-up of, well, gunk over time. If you’ve had your disposal for 10 years or more, this build-up may be the trouble, and it’s time to clean it—which isn’t much of a problem if you have vinegar and baking soda. However, if this cleanse doesn’t eliminate the odors, we recommend a new disposal. Ten years is often a good service life for a garbage disposal, so now is the time to replace it.

Dried p-trap

Are the odors coming from a single drain in a sink that doesn’t get much use, such as a guest bathroom? Then the trouble is likely that the p-trap—the curved pipe section beneath the drain—has dried up and is allowing sewer gas to flow the wrong direction up the drainpipe. This is an easy fix: run water down the drain for a minute to restore the water plug.

Blocked drain vents

Are odors coming from more than one drain? This is more alarming since you probably aren’t looking at something you can solve on your own. One possible source of odors from multiple drains is that the drain vents are blocked. The vents are vertical pipes that run up to the roof to release sewer gas from the drainage system. This lowers the pressure in drains so the sewer gas won’t get pushed up the drains. If the roof vents become blocked (debris from storms, animal nests, etc.) it can lead to the pressure forcing sewer gas up through the drains. Don’t go up to the roof to try to repair this yourself! Leave it to professional plumbers.

Sewer line issues

This is the big one, a major issue with the drainage system for your plumbing that will take professionals with the best tools to fix. The sewer line may be clogged, blocked, or broken, and it’s pushing sewer gas into the house. If not resolved, it will eventually push actual sewage into the house!

Our plumbers can investigate the problem with our advanced equipment. We may need to provide a full sewer line cleaning, or the problem may be large enough that we must repair the sewer line or replace it. No matter what needs to be done, you’ll be glad you called us to take care of it. 

Rely on Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing for your household needs in Washington D.C., Montgomery & Frederick Counties. We promise to exceed expectations at every turn.