Interestingly enough, sewage has a fairly distinct smell. Even though it is made of dozens of different components and each household produces different components to make that sewage, it always smells somewhat similar. That means that you can instantly tell sewage when you smell it. A couple of places you might not expect to smell it is in your bathroom or kitchen sink. However, many homeowners know that particular smell. Plumbers say there are several different reasons why this might be the case.
Underneath the sink, probably in the cabinet below it, you’ll find the pipes for the sink. There is likely a U-shaped bend in the pipe somewhere. This bend is designed to fill up with water; it’s U-shaped so that the water does not simply flow into the drain pipe but stays under the sink. The water in the pipe prevents the smell of sewage from rising up through the pipes. If you are smelling sewage, the first thing you should attempt is simply running water. Run the water to fill up the U-bend. Wait for a minute and see if you can still smell the sewage. In many cases, that will solve your problem.
In many cases, you’re smelling sewage simply because there is sewage backing up in the drain. The drain pipe could be clogged, and sewage is building up. You should run some water through the fixture; if it does not drain or if it drains very slowly, that’s obviously your problem. Make sure you let it run for a minute or so.
If your sink is clogged, check other fixtures around your home. If only one sink is clogged, you can identify the spot of the clog. If several are clogged, that means that it’s farther down in the drain. Check out our previous article on how to clear clogged pipes on your own.
Lastly, you might be smelling sewage near your sink because some drain pipe is leaking. In the bathroom, many of the different pipes run under the floor. So you might be smelling the sewage at your sink but it could be from the toilet or some other fixture. If the pipes are leaking, they could be leaking sewage underneath the floor.
These are three of the most common reasons that you might be smelling sewage at your sink. This can be a disruptive problem if you do not address it quickly; it can also be just plain unpleasant to smell in your bathroom or kitchen.