Most unpleasant drain smells around your home are due to a few common issues. We’re always happy to help, but if you’d rather fix it yourself, here’s a few tips to guide you in the right direction.

Do You Have a Septic Tank?

If you’re noticing sewage smells in your home, and you have a septic tank, this might be the first place to investigate. Odours can arise because your septic tank may require desludging. Do you have a regular maintenance plan to ensure your tank is compliant? Smells outdoors can be caused by a clogged drainage field or disruption to the system’s biome caused by the overuse of chemicals or too much flushing. It is also worth checking that the vent pipe on the tank and at the house are both clear of debris and allow air to move freely.

Is the Smell Coming from a Single Drain?

If the odour is coming from one drain, such as a sink or shower, there might be something wrong with the U-bend or it may have simply dried out by evaporation. Perform a visual inspection using a torch. You should see some water in the U-bend. If it appears dry, there won’t be an airlock, allowing gases to rise into your building. In this situation, the first thing to do is to run water through the trap until it fills to the normal level. Open some windows and check again in a while to see if this has sorted the problem. If you see that the trap does not hold water properly you may need to call a plumber. If there’s water aleady in the U-bend, another cause could be debris (like food particles) trapped in the pipework. As this debris decomposes, it can release foul smells. You can try addressing this by using a DIY drain-unblocking solution.

If the smell is coming from close to a dishwasher or washing machine, make sure the water discharge hose is connected to a waste pipe that has a water trap (such as a U-bend) downstream which prevents drain smells coming back up. If there isn’t one there you might need a plumber to install one.

Is Your Soil Vent Functioning Properly?

A damaged or obstructed soil vent can cause issues with your U-bends. Soil vents equalise the pressure in your U-bends, ensuring a constant water lock to prevent gases from entering your building. These can occasionally become blocked up and may require professional odour-tracing equipment.

If you hear water gurgling in an adjacent sink or shower when you flush the toilet it could be due a syphoning effect. This can pull water from the water trap and allow drain smells back out. Additional venting or the installation of an anti-syphon/air admittance valve may be needed to fix this which a plumber can install for you.

Is the Smell Coming from the Toilet?

The most commen issue that can lead to drain smells at a toilet is the seal on the pipework at the back. If the seal is damaged or open, gases can escape. Inspect the back and sides of the toilet to ensure there are no open seals. Also, check all bolts and fastenings on the toilet to ensure they’re fully sealed.

For assistance with your drain odour issues, you can call us anytime on 1800 437 246.

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