Nobody wants unpleasant odors drifting through their homes. Unfortunately, sometimes parts of the drain and sewer system in homes can suffer damage and clogs, which then sends sewer gases into the house. Smelly plumbing is an unfortunately common problem, and something our plumbers are often fixing for our customers.
A part of the plumbing people often find emitting terrible odors is the garbage disposal. If you’re currently dealing with a stinky garbage disposal, you’ll want to know what to do about it, and if it’s a serious enough problem to require a plumber. Let’s see what might be happening in your kitchen plumbing to cause this.
The Dirty Disposal
The disposal may be crammed with food waste that hasn’t washed down the drains. This waste can build up in plenty of places, such as under the impellers and in grooves and crannies. Solving this can be as simple as pouring down a solution of baking soda and vinegar into the disposal. Lemon slices (remove the peel!) can then help with deodorizing the disposal.
However, when a disposal suffers from this level of build-up, it may be due to aging mechanics. The disposal is no longer grinding food down as well as it used to, allowing for organic waste to become more easily caught. If you’ve experienced other troubles with the disposal, we recommend calling our plumbers to look into the system and see if you need a new one. Most disposals should be replaced after ten years of service.
The Broken Disposal
The disposal may sound like it’s running, but it’s not sending down food waste the way it should. The odors you smell are from an accumulation of rotting food—and this will soon lead to a complete clog in the kitchen drains. It’s tempting to use chemical cleaners to eat away at the obstruction, but this is not much of a “cleaning” solution, since it leaves behind most of the organic particles and the acidic action of the drain cleaner can seriously damage the drain pipes. Get a plumber to check out the situation and see what needs to be repaired.
Deeper Trouble in the Plumbing
Bad odors from the kitchen sink disposal may not be the fault of the disposal at all. You may have blockage or leaks down in the sewer lines or blocked drain vents. Either situation causes sewer gas to be pushed the wrong direction through the drainpipes. The gas will rise through the water in the p-trap (you may hear a gurgling noise) and into the living space. Check other drains to see if they are also emitting a sewer odor. If they are, you may have a serious plumbing problem on your hands. Don’t hesitate to call for a professional plumber, since you’ll soon have even bigger troubles with drains around the house unless the problem is remedied.
Please note that, aside from doing basic cleaning with vinegar and baking soda, you don’t want to try to do any more extensive work on the disposal yourself. It takes professionals to diagnose the problem, find a solution, and make the repairs.