Feeling Drained? Easy Solutions For Pesky Drain Problems

by Grace Motley

Sometimes drains can seem to be the most troublesome parts of your home, but most problems they have are actually pretty simple to fix. If you've got smelly drains, slow drains, or other issues, there's likely a fast solution that you can put into action. Just realize that no matter how persistent the problem may seem, it just means you haven't hit on the right solution yet. To speed up resolution, here are some common problems and what's most likely to be causing them.

That Awful Smell

If you have drains that smell awful, one of two things is likely happening. If the drain is rarely used, like in a spare sink, the plug of water that sits in the bend in the pipe under the sink might have evaporated. That would let sewer gases float up through the pipe and stink up the room. Normally, when you run the water, a small plug of water remains in that curve in the pipe after everything else has drained, blocking the gas from coming up through the drain. All you have to do to solve this is run the water. If the faucet isn't working, get a few cups of water and pour them down the drain.

Another potential issue is sludge, and this is common in kitchen drains, regardless of whether you have a garbage disposal or not. Bits of food get stuck to the sides of the drain, and those eventually rot and start to stink. In garbage disposals, this sludge is thrown up and out of the range of the flow of water from the faucet, so you can't just wash it away. Use a combination of baking soda and vinegar to create foam that dislodges the sludge, or throw some orange and lemon peels (and maybe a few small ice cubes) into the disposal and turn on the motor.

Continually Slow Drains

If you've ever used baking soda and vinegar to open a slow drain, you know it can be very effective. It can take a few months before you have to worry about slowness again. But if it seems like the drain keeps becoming slow within a short amount of time, take a look at the soap you're using. Sometimes those leave residues that contribute to the sludge problem.

Where Are These Flies Coming From?

If you've noticed a bunch of tiny black flies, which were not fruit flies, flying around your home, check all of your plants and your drains. These little flies could be drain flies; if they seem to fly as if they were drunk and are very easy to catch, chances are they are drain flies. These flies are attracted to sludge, soil, and other dirt, which means that they can live in your drains. If they seem to be congregating around a houseplant, throw out that plant; whether or not they seem attracted to the plants in your place, take household bleach and pour some (diluted with water per brand instructions) down each drain. Rinse the drain thoroughly. Do not follow with vinegar; not only should bleach and vinegar never be mixed, but drain flies also like vinegar. If the flies persist, call a plumber or a pest control company, which will place enzymatic cleaners in the drain to get rid of the sludgy homes the flies have built.

If you are still having problems, have a plumbing company come out and check out the drains. Whether the drains need to be deep cleaned professionally, snaked, or even replaced, the plumber will be able to figure out what's happening.