The warm weather of spring often reveals plumbing issues that were hidden during the cold winter months. One common problem is sewer smells wafting up from drains or toilets. While smelly drains can be embarrassing and unpleasant, they’re often easy to fix with some simple spring cleaning and maintenance. Here’s some tips to freshen up your plumbing and prevent those pesky sewer stinks.

Inspect Your Pipes

Start your spring plumbing maintenance by taking a look at all exposed water pipes under sinks or in your basement. Check for any signs of leakage, corrosion, or condensation buildup. Leaks can allow sewer gases to escape into your home. Have a plumber inspect and seal any compromised pipes.

Flush Your Water Heater

Your water heater should be drained and flushed once a year to control sediment and mineral buildup. Letting the water heater drain removes stale water along with any debris or bacteria that can contribute to odor. Be sure to turn off the power to the tank first, then attach a hose to the drain valve at the bottom.

Clean Gunky Drains

It’s common for grease, soap scum, hair, and other gunk to accumulate in bathroom and kitchen sinks. These clogs can block water from draining properly, causing bad smells. Pour a mix of baking soda and vinegar down each drain, let it fizz for a few minutes, then rinse with hot water. Repeat as needed until the water runs clear.

Disinfect and Inspect Garbage Disposals

Even if you don’t pour greasy foods down the sink, small particles can stick to the walls of your garbage disposal. Run some ice cubes through the disposal to clean the blades and pipes. You can use a special disposal cleaning tool to scrub the interior walls and flush out debris. For stubborn odors, grind up a lemon or mix baking soda and vinegar and let it agitate for a few minutes to freshen up the disposal. Performing regular inspections prevents blockages that can lead to sewer gas backups.

Check Under Sink Pipes

Take a good look under bathroom and kitchen sinks for any evidence of leaks around drain pipes. You may notice water staining under the pipe or even on the pipe itself. Small drips can allow sewer gases to leak into the room while also corroding pipes. Have a plumber inspect and reseal leaky drain connections. Consider replacing any extensively rusted or cracked pipes.

Clear Clogged Vents

Vent stacks extending through your roof allow air to enter the plumbing system, so water can drain easily. But squirrels, birds, and other critters sometimes nest in these vents, blocking air flow. Signs of a clogged vent are gurgling drains or slow drainage. Have a professional plumber inspect and clear debris from vent stacks.

Clean Toilet Jets and Traps

Toilets are prone to getting mineral deposits and rust buildup inside the flush jets under the rim. Pour vinegar into the bowl, let it sit overnight, then scrub with a toilet brush to remove the stain. Also, check the curved pipe behind the toilet bowl; if it’s clogged, use a bendable drain auger to fish out wipes, hair, and other debris blocking the flow.

Add Enzymes Monthly

You can help keep drains fresh between deep cleanings by using enzyme drain cleaners monthly. These products contain natural bacteria that continuously break down organic waste. Simply pour down each drain before you go to bed. It’s like putting your plumbing on a probiotic.

By giving your home plumbing some attention before problems arise, you can avoid unpleasant sewer smells in your home. Performing drain cleaning, pipe inspections, vent cleaning, and other simple maintenance helps keep things running smoothly. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber for assistance getting your pipes spring fresh and odor-free. Reach out to us at Comfort Systems today when you need help preventing sewer smells.