Unused Bathroom Drains

In homes with multiple bathrooms or vacation homes, an unused bathroom drain can begin to smell when it isn’t used frequently. This smell may come from tubs and sinks and is due to an unused plumbing trap (also known as a P-trap.) Plumbing traps are found underneath bathroom drains and are U-shaped dips in the pipe. These traps are designed to prevent your bathroom and home from being filled with sewer odors. With normal use of a bathroom, these traps remained filled with water.  The water provides a seal that prevents sewer smells from coming up through the drain.

However, when a bathroom isn’t used as frequently, the water in the traps gradually evaporate.  After a certain amount of time, the water levels that were keeping the sewer odors out are no longer sufficient and odors slowly seep through. Cleaners and liquid drain products can temporarily mask the smell. However, cleaners cannot prevent water evaporation and therefore cannot prevent the sewer odors from permeating.  Usually the solution is simple. If the problem is a result of insufficient water in the P-traps, run the water in these bathroom drains for a few minutes, weekly or monthly, depending on the severity of the smell and give the odor time to dissipate.

If running water doesn’t solve the issue, you can try pouring some ingredients down the drain each month. First, pour about a cup of vinegar down the drain, followed by a quarter cup of baking soda. Let that sit for about 15 minutes.  Run hot water run down the drain for about three minutes to properly rinse out the solution. Rinsing is critical to preserve your plumbing. After refilling drain traps with water, you can pour a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil down the drain. The oil will float on top of the water in the trap to prevent the water from evaporating too quickly.

If these solutions do not solve your issue, contact NRH Plumbing. Our certified professionals can diagnose those smelly drains.  Call our experts at 612-900-7728 today!

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