Smelly drains are drains that are likely to clog. That unpleasant odor wafting up from the sink usually indicates that the drain pipe is harboring sludge. It’s a gooey concoction of decaying organic material that has been washed down the sink or bathtub, combined with soap residue.

Sludge accumulation gradually narrows the diameter of drain pipes, slowing the flow of waste water and generating odors. In addition, as water flow through the pipe decreases, clogs become increasingly more likely. A clogged, sludge-filled drain pipe may be temporarily opened by do-it-yourself methods like using a common plunger. However, clogs are likely to recur soon as long as the sludge residue remains.

In addition, as water flow through the pipe decreases, clogs become increasingly more likely. A clogged, sludge-filled drain pipe may be temporarily opened by do-it-yourself methods like using a common plunger. However, clogs are likely to recur soon as long as the sludge residue remains. Drain cleaning by a qualified plumber is usually required for a permanent solution to chronic clogging.

The best way to prevent smelly drains and accompanying clogs is to avoid the accumulation of sludge in the first place by practicing good “drain hygiene.” Here are some helpful tips:

  • Watch what goes into the drain. Avoid washing large food scraps down the drain—even if you have a disposal. Store grease in a container and throw it out with the trash. Don’t pour it into the sink. The same goes for coffee grounds.
  • Install drain hair strainers in bathtubs and showers and clear hair out of them weekly.
  • For regular DIY preventive maintenance, once a month pour about a cup of baking soda into each drain. Follow it with two cups of boiling water. After a few minutes, add another cup of baking soda, then a cup of white vinegar. Wait another few minutes, then flush the drain clear with more boiling water.

In addition to those indoor plumbing practices, every few years have your main sewer line outside checked by a plumber to ensure that sewage is flowing freely. Tree roots and other blockages can gradually restrict the flow and reflux sewage and odors back into the house.

For professional service to deal with smelly drains and the clogs that usually follow, contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.

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