The pipes leading away from a kitchen sink see a lot of use and abuse, so nobody expects them to smell great. But when your pipes begin to exhibit worse-than-usual odors, it's natural to be a little concerned. Luckily, depending on the cause of the odor, the problem is relatively easy to fix. This article will present solutions for three of the most common causes of a foul smelling sink.
Your sink isn't equipped with a drain trap.
It's common for the plumbing beneath a sink to include a component known as a drain trap. This U-shaped piece of pipe is responsible for one simple task: retaining a fixed volume of water at all times. This water acts as a sort of filtration device for stinky gases that can travel up your pipes from the sewer.
Though it's rare, some sinks don't have a drain trap. There may be one of two reasons for this. The sink may have been installed by a non-professional, who failed to realize the key role played by a drain trap. Likewise, there simply may not have been room for one, given the limitations of plumbing components at the time your house was constructed.
If you don't see a drain trap beneath your sink, contact a plumber. Having one installed is usually quite easy, given the more flexible dimensions of modern plumbing components.
There's bacteria living in your pipes.
If you've been noticing an odor reminiscent of rotten eggs, there's a good chance bacteria is the culprit. As bits of grease and food get stuck to the walls of your drain pipe over time, bacterial colonies often take root. Thankfully, the nauseating smells can be easily eliminated--along with the bacteria that cause them.
Here's a simple--and natural--recipe for eliminating bacteria. Begin by pouring a cup of baking soda down your drain. Then add a cup of white vinegar. This should result in a foamy mixture that will not only kill the bacteria, but also help scour unwanted food slime off the walls of the pipe.
There's bacteria living in your water heater.
If you've given the drain pipe of your kitchen sink a good cleaning but the rotten smell persists, bacteria in your water tank may be the problem. These anaerobic bacteria are able to survive by reacting with two common metals used in water heater anode rods--magnesium and aluminum. As a result of this interaction, they produce stinky hydrogen sulfide gas.
This is likely your problem if you notice the unwanted smell primarily while running the hot water. Thus it will be apparent not just in the kitchen, but also in the bathroom, the shower, and even the laundry room. To conquer these anaerobic bacteria, you'll want to have a plumber like Hillside Plumbing and Heating upgrade your anode rod to one that contains zinc, a metal that inhibits their growth.