Why Does My Kitchen Drain Stink?


Why Does My Kitchen Drain Stink?

There’s an unpleasant smell coming from the kitchen drain and you don’t know what’s causing it. Generally, people complain of two different smells emanating from kitchen drain: Rotten eggs or a sewer-like smell. Both odors can be explained very simply.

Rotten Egg Smell

Unfortunately, just about everyone has encountered this type of odor, especially if your drain has recently been clogged. If your drain is operating efficiently, it should be providing fast, continuous draining. Even if your drain seems to be working, you may notice “that smell.” The odor of rotten eggs probably means that there is a blockage somewhere along the line, even if water is able to get past it. The culprit is some rotting food that’s gotten lodged in the drain or garbage disposal somewhere. It’s just sitting there rotting and it’s stuck so firmly, the water can’t dislodge it and move it on its way.

Sewer Smell

Sewer smells come from the gas built up in the sewer and leaking through the kitchen drain. This can mean one of two things. First, there could be a problem with the sink trap or the plumbing vent has an issue.

The trap is found under the kitchen sink. Its function is to retain a small amount of water in the “u-shaped” section of the drain. The purpose of the water is to keep unwanted gas fumes from infiltrating the home. The water level in the trap can fluctuate due to changes in pressure. If the pressure is high, the water may be forced through the trap. If the water level is too low, pressure drops and the gas smell comes through the kitchen drain. If there is a leak in the trap, the fumes are escaping and coming up through the drain.

The other area that could be causing a problem is the drain vent. The drain vent, which is a vertical pipe with the top protruding from the roof, allows the gas to escape. Sometimes that drain vent becomes clogged by an external object, often a clump of leaves or a bird’s nest lodged in the upper part of the vent, which can lead to fumes backing up into the house. It is also possible that the vent is leaking, which will also allow fumes in the kitchen.

Maintenance Tips

There are a few things you can do to temporarily alleviate the smell. For some drains, it’s as simple as using a natural bio-enzyme cleaner that won’t damage pipes. Vinegar and baking soda may remove the gunk. Other common remedies are placing small, thin slices of citrus fruit into the disposal or placing small ice cubes in the disposal to clean the blades.

These temporary solutions may help remove the smell, but the underlying problem, such as a blockage or a leak in the kitchen drain or plumbing vent, needs a professional plumber. If an odor coming from your drain leads you to suspect you have one of the problems described here, contact The Pink Plumber today.