Today HGTV's Anthony Gilardi puts on his plumber's hat and helps a CafeMom diagnose her smelly drain problem.
Got a home repair or home improvement question? Then Ask Anthony TODAY in the comments below! Anthony is at our beck and call on CafeMom every other week.
Q: Anthony, our home is pretty old, just a little old country home. When the water drains (particularly from the washing machine), the sink drains throughout the house start smelling. I mean they smell HORRIFIC! Typically, when they start smelling, we pour Apple Vinegar down the drains throughout and run a little through the washer. It works for about a month or so and then BAM! Right back to the ick.
Is there anything that we, I mean, my husband can do that last longer?
A: Hello, josie_mommyof2. Thanks for writing in.
Although your problem does seem "horrific" (believe me, I know that smell), it is actually a very common problem and can be relatively simple and inexpensive to fix. What's happening here is a plumbing ventilation problem.
Anthony's Quick Plumbing Lesson:
Plumbing works on gravity, water runs downward and air runs upward. Water and air cannot function separately in pipes. They need to work simultaneously.
In other words, if air is not escaping upwards through your pipes and out through your roof, water will not travel downwards causing all kinds of problems, such as back up flooding and foul air escaping through your home's interior exits (sink/bathtub drains).
How to Fix a Plumbing Ventilation Problem:
- Clean out ALL of your "P Traps" (the rounded pipe under your interior drains). This will cost you nothing if done properly.
- If you don't have "P Traps" because of the age of your home, it's time to upgrade. Install "P Traps" everywhere needed. Consult a professional plumber, if needed.
- If that doesn't stop the problem, you may need a "Total Air Line Flush." Consult a professional plumber.
- If that doesn't work, you may need to install "Backflow Preventers" in ALL your drain pipes.
So if cleaning the "P Traps" doesn't stop the problem, and you feel the job is getting too big for you (I mean, your husband, LOL), feel free to get in touch with me through my website or PM Cafe Sheri to have your message forwarded to me, and I'll walk you through exactly what you need to say to a professional plumber, so you don't feel like you're being taken advantage.
Good luck, and remember, I'll be there with you.