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Boise Plumbing Tips: Drain Odors

Smell. Of all our senses, smell can be the most useful--and also the most frustrating, unpleasant, and disagreeable. We rely on smell to tell us a lot about our world. Smelling smoke could save your life if the scent gives you advance notice and you manage to make it out of a burning building in time. Smelling something sour could save your taste buds from bad milk. It's not just you that your sense of smell takes care of, though. Smelling something that seems odd or unpleasant can also help you identify problems in your house itself--specifically, in the plumbing.

​Of course, when you smell something bad coming from the drain, all you think about is getting rid of the smell; still, your sense of smell saved the day.

​Drains and Smells

It's never good news when there are strange odors coming from the drain. It could be a big issue; it could be a small issue--it might even be a small issue that, if left alone, will turn into a big (and expensive) issue. The moral of the story is that odors coming from the drain are warning signs, and, like any plumbing problems, they need to be taken seriously. The first step is to try and identify some small, safe details about the odor. Is it close to the surface, or does it seem to be farther down? Is the smell familiar--like food or soap? This information can be helpful in identifying the real problem. Most of the time, these odors are detrimental only to your nose, but sometimes they can cause issues for your plumbing or the drain itself.

​What Causes Drain Odors?

So, you've identified the odor, and your sense of smell saved the day. What is the cause, and what is the solution? Here's a quick look!

  • Food. Considering the types of things we wash down the kitchen drain--food, leftovers, soggy cereal, and more--it's amazing how little we smell later on. When odors do linger, it's likely that some food particles have stuck to the sides of the drain pipe or are stuck to part of the drain itself. Naturally, these foods will begin to decompose, and that's bad news for your nose.
  • Not food. Fat, oil, and grease--it's not exactly food, but it's in a lot of the foods we eat and prepare. Regardless, this often-unpleasant trio can be trouble for your drain. Fat, oil, and grease are hard to wash away, and they congeal when cooled, and they catch food particles like a spider's web; you'll probably never wash these three down your drain again. However, once down the drain, the trio can be infamously difficult to remove.
  • Soap. It seems ironic that soap, which we use to remove foul smells and make everything clean, can cause foul smells itself and create problems in your drain. The small amount of fat in soap is responsible for creating that residue or buildup we all know so well, and, if left unchecked, that residue can start to smell terrible.
  • Expert help. So what's the solution to these foul odors and drain issues? It's simple: call in the experts. Our Boise Plumbing experts know how to get the job done safely and efficiently, and they can give you maintenance tips to keep the issues from happening later, too.

Interested in more plumbing tips? Looking for Boise Plumbing experts? Contact us today!