Hot Weather Brings Smelly Drains – What Can You Do?

drainsAs the temperature heats up outside, things can get pretty stinky in the pipes in our homes and under our houses. There’s nothing worse than coming home after a long day at work only to be greeted by an unavoidable foul smell in your house.

Not only is it a pain for you, but smelly drains can also be cause embarrassing, as you have to explain to neighbours and guests that the smell is coming from your home. If you’re in the process of selling your property, a bad smell can have an even more damaging effect as bad smells can trigger serious negative reactions in buyers.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Drainage smells can be eradicated. As with most household issues, it’s much better to deal with the problem early on, before it becomes more serious.

So, why does the hot weather bring smelly drains and what can we do to treat the problem? Read on to find out.

What Causes The Smell?

In the summer, the sun’s rays will encourage the growth of plants in your garden. This is great news for your budding rose bush, but it’s bad news for your pipes, as the roots of your growing plants can affect underground draining solutions.

These roots can be very strong and may break the wall of the pipe. Remember, if the pipes are located underneath your property, as the householder, you are responsible for the upkeep of the system and will need to get it repaired.

But it’s not just roots which might affect your drainage. Other common factors are stale water, dry pipes and blocked systems.

Moving Into a New Home

Spring and summer are popular times for moving home. If you’ve just moved into a new property, you may notice a bad smell coming from your drains. Don’t worry! This is more than likely a stale water or dry pipe issue. Stale water can sit in pipes and cause an eye-watering smell. Flushing your system with buckets of water can eradicate the problem, which is usually caused by lack of use.

Once you have had a few baths or showers and run the taps through the system a few times, you should find that the smell disappears. However, if the smell hasn’t left after a week, call in an expert drainage company to make sure there isn’t a serious issue hidden beneath the floorboards.

Blocked Drains

The other common cause of smelly drains are drains that have been blocked. This is usually down to old food, hair or liquids which solidify, such as grease, being washed down the sink.

If the blockage is in the u-bend, this is normally something you should be able to remedy yourself, by purchasing a flexible drain unblocker rod to clear the debris. If this doesn’t work, don’t hesitate to call in the professionals, who will use an enzyme based solution to break down the blockage build-up.

Solving the Problem

For more serious problems, it might be tempting to head to your nearest supermarket or DIY store and purchase some low cost drain cleaner. This may fix the problem temporarily, but as you can imagine, will not provide a long term solution.

It’s much better to call in the experts, who will run diagnostic tests, using a flexible camera, to locate the problem area. From there, they will be able to provide a realistic solution which will put an end to the problem, permanently.


There are some simple steps you can take to prevent your drains from clogging up and causing a smell. Installing a strainer in your plughole will catch leftover food items and prevent them from building up in your pipes. Also, don’t pour oil or fat down your sink. Grease and fats should be poured into a foil lined cup, left to cool and solidify and then wrapped up and disposed of in your kitchen rubbish bin. Liquids that don’t solidify should be poured into a glass container, such as an old jar, sealed and disposed of in the same way.

Sizzling summer temperatures don’t have to mean smelly drains. Make sure your drains are clean and smell fresh by keeping on top of drainage maintenance. If in doubt, call in the professionals who will be able to advise accordingly. Remember, untreated dirty drains can pose a serious health risk, so it’s always best to nip any potential problems in the bud.

Fraser Ruthven is the Marketing Associate for London Drainage Facilities, one of London’s leading drainage companies. London Drainage provides a wide range of drainage diagnostic and repair services in and around London.

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