Plumbing Smells and How to Deal With Them

disgusted-manDo you smell that? It couldn’t be your plumbing, could it?

Bad odors from the plumbing system are supposed to stay down in the sewer. If you’re smelling anything up above in your home, there’s likely something wrong with your plumbing.

Aside from being unpleasant to deal with and embarrassing in the event that guests come over, some of these smells can actually be dangerous to your health. We’ll go over the most common kinds, give you the rundown on what it means, and what you can do to fix it.

Bacteria Under the Drain Cover

We mention this first because it’s often mistaken for a bigger drain problem. A homeowner is convinced that there’s something foul down in their drain or that sewer gasses are wafting up, only to find out that it was actually something much simpler.

In this case, it’s nothing more than some bacteria forming underneath the drain cover. Thoroughly wash it out and your smells should go away. But if that doesn’t help, then it might be…


“Biofilm” is a term to describe not just one type, but several different kinds of bacteria all huddled together in the same sticky mass. It appears as black, slimy gunk and can sometimes be seen at the opening of your drain. However, biofilm typically forms deeper in the drain, so it won’t always be visible or easy to wash out.

Aside from smelling terrible, biofilm can find its way on your toothbrush, on your utensils, and other objects near the sinks that we often pick up and use without a second thought. If you suspect your drains have biofilm, it’s best to have someone come and clean them out thoroughly.

Trapped Food

In the kitchen, it wouldn’t be impossible to find out that your odors are emanating from food that has become trapped in the drain or the garbage disposal.

Food doesn’t commonly get stuck for no reason—it’s likely because too much fat or grease in the drain has caused some food to get stuck on the way down. As it decomposes, the smell will find its way up out of the drain.

As for the garbage disposal, it might be the case that some food or other organic waste has gotten stuck to the blades. If running hot water through it doesn’t help, we recommend calling in for a professional opinion before pouring chemical concoctions down the drain.

Sewer Smell

If what you’re smelling has that distinct smell of sewage (we all know it), it might not be any of the above issues. Instead, it could be an issue between your drains and the sewer lines.

Parts like the P-trap are put in place specifically to prevent this kind of smell from wafting up into your home. If the P-trap is fine, however, then you might need work done on your sewer lines.

For an issue with the sewers, we recommend calling up an expert of plumbing in Albuquerque, NM sooner rather than later. The gasses from the sewer can be dangerous to inhale for prolonged periods of time, so we recommend just calling it in.

If your drains need a cleaning, contact Santa Fe Express Plumbing & Drain today. Why Wait for Service When You Can Get It Express?

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