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5 Common Causes of Plumbing Odors in Your Indiana Home


Close-up of plumber's hands fitting white sink pipe in a kitchen

If you notice foul odors coming from your plumbing, it’s important to investigate the cause as soon as possible. If you have an older home with dated piping, fixtures, and appliances, you may be due for plumbing repair or replacement.

Basic maintenance issues, clogs, or damaged seals can create odors that range from mildly unpleasant to nauseating. If you don’t fix the underlying problem, it can often lead to more inconvenience and costly repairs.

This guide will discuss five of the most common causes of plumbing odors and how they can be fixed.

1. Bacteria in Your Water Softener

Water softeners are essential for protecting your plumbing from hard water. The large chamber where the ion exchange takes place to remove the hard water minerals is often vulnerable to bacterial growth, including iron and sulfur bacteria.

This can leave your water with odors similar to sulfur or rotten eggs, affect the taste of the water, and negatively impact your health. Have the water softener serviced to eliminate bacterial growth, and consider adding a UV light or a chlorination system to purify your water.

2. Corroded Water Heater Anode Rod

If you have a sulfur-like smell from only the hot water taps in your Indiana home, your water heater may be causing the odor.

To prevent the water heater tank from corroding, an anode rod made from magnesium or aluminum is installed in the water heater. Because these metals are more reactive, they’ll corrode before the steel tank does.

Sulfur bacteria can react with the aluminum or magnesium anode rod as it ages, creating a foul odor in your hot water. By replacing the magnesium or aluminum rod with one made from a zinc-aluminum alloy, you can protect your water heater from rust while stopping the odor-causing reaction.

3. Clogged Drains

One of the main causes of plumbing odors is drain clogs. This can be anything from a clogged sink or shower drain to a backed-up toilet or a blocked garbage disposal.

Some DIY methods, like plunging or a vinegar and baking soda solution, may clear minor clogs. However, it’s best to schedule professional drain cleaning services for recurring clogs or blockages in multiple drains.

Plumbers have the right tools to clear the clog without damaging your plumbing. They can also verify the cause of the clog with a video camera pipe inspection, ensuring the quickest and most effective solution.

4. Dry P-Traps

P-traps are installed on every drain in your home. They hold wastewater in a pipe shaped like a P or a U, creating a barrier that prevents sewer gases from entering your home.

If the P-trap is leaking or the fixture isn’t used often, the water may leak or evaporate away, leaving the P-trap dry. This allows sewer gases to flow into your home. If the P-trap empties due to a plumbing leak, repairing or replacing the pipe will be the best option.

5. Broken Toilet Seals

A seal between your toilet and the drain in the floor prevents wastewater and sewer gases from leaking into your bathroom. These seals are typically made from wax, though newer ones may be made from foam rubber.

Over time, the seal can fail, allowing sewer gases into your home. To fix the problem, have a professional remove the toilet and replace the seal.

Call Northern Comfort Systems Today for Plumbing Repairs

No matter what’s causing your plumbing odors, you can count on Northern Comfort Systems for help. We offer water heater and water softener repairs in Muncie, Terre Haute, and Anderson, and full-service plumbing in the Indianapolis area.

Our skilled plumbers provide top-rated service, upfront pricing, free estimates on replacements, and guaranteed satisfaction. As the winner of eight Angi Super Service Awards and a 2020 Best of Home Advisor award, you can always count on us for excellent service and quality.

Call Northern Comfort Systems to schedule plumbing repairs in Indianapolis or water heater and water softener repairs in Terre Haute, Anderson, or Muncie.

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