Drainage Smells Cause Summer Hell

Summer drain

Unfortunately, drainage smells can be very common and they can be very unpleasant. Fortunately, they’re not permanent and they’re easy to prevent and resolve. In this piece, we’re going to look at what causes drain smells and how you can remove them from your property.

First of all, it’s important to realise that the longer you avoid dealing with smells emitting from your drains, the worse they can get. You might notice the smell initially and wonder where it’s coming from: your kitchen bin or your fridge for example. However, if the smell is not originating from there, consider your drains as another potential culprit.

Causes of drain smells and issues


Food falling into our drains is the most common cause of these odours; food comes off our cutlery and crockery as we wash it and goes down plug holes. While it may seem like it’s just the odd grain of rice or a random pea, these bits of food soon accumulate and can end up becoming an obstruction in the drain.

A surefire way to prevent this happening is to be vigilant with putting leftover food in the bin and not down the sink. In addition, drain defenders provide a simple but effective way of blocking unwanted items going down the drain. No matter how small the food is or how slight it may be, from bits of eggshell to pieces of onion, they can all cause smelly problems.

Stagnant Water

If water is left to stand, it will soon start to smell foul as bacteria breeds, especially in warmer weather. Stagnant water occurs when the ground reaches saturation point and cannot absorb all the rainwater that has recently fallen. This water is a breeding ground for insects, which can pose hygiene risks as well as being very annoying to come into contact with.

To combat stagnant water, sometimes, a simple forking of the ground will help water disperse. Avoid adding chemicals such as washing detergents to try and combat the smell. These manmade chemicals are known to be disruptive on an environmental level.

If buildups continue, contact your local authority or drainage company who will have the proper means to tackle the issue.

Damaged Pipes

If you notice a smell coming from a sink or multiple sinks, it is possible a crack or leak in the pipe that carries the wastewater to the public sewer is to blame. These aforementioned cracks and leaks can come from a number of flashpoints:

  • Cold weather can cause the pipes to freeze and crack
  • As pipes age, they will become weaker and after long periods of time, this weakness can manifest itself as cracks
  • Tree roots can grow and intrude on the pipes, cracking them in a process known as root ingress

This can not only create bad smells but also damage the drainage quality of sinks and toilets, so be sure to get this rectified promptly.


The sight of a garden in bloom in summer is a joy (excluding the weeds!). However, pretty plants above the soil often require deep and lengthy roots that spread further into the ground. Often times, these roots won’t be stopped by pipes. Roots can and do penetrate pipes, causing leaks and blockages in a process called root ingress. By breaking through and entering the pipe, the structural stability and soundness of the pipe is damaged, making unsightly smells just one of the outcomes.

Why do drain maintenance in spring and summer?

There are a number of reasons why it’s better to carry out maintenance work in the warmer months. For a start, it’s less likely that any work will be interrupted by the weather (admittedly British summers aren’t known for their sweltering temperatures and scorching sunshine).

As we are likely to spend more time outside, we are more likely to notice these horrible smells as they come from our gullies and drains – not an ideal situation if you’re trying to host a barbecue!

Warmers temperatures actually lead to an increase in the strength of odours, too (unfortunately!).

On the flip side, considering autumn and winter for important drainage work has its own set of issues, including:

  • Fallen leaves blocking drains
  • Increased rainfall, meaning drain systems become oversubscribed
  • Accumulation of debris
  • Pipes freezing

Any issue with your drainage pipes or system can be identified quickly and safely using a CCTV drain survey. This discrete camera technology pinpoints the source of the trouble, meaning solutions are accurate and appropriate. Doing this before the problem worsens saves you time, money and hassle.

Express Drainage Surveys are the leading providers of drain survey services for domestic and commercial customers alike. Should you be suffering with undesirable smells, get in touch with us today and we’ll be more than happy to help.