Drainage Smells Cause Summer Hell

Unpleasant drainage smells are very common in the summer months. Fortunately for homeowners, they’re not permanent. They’re easy to prevent and resolve. In this blog, 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 from happening is to be vigilant with what you put down the sink. In addition, drain defenders can 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 its 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 other issues.

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 Express Drainage Surveys directly who will have the proper means to tackle the issue.

Damaged Pipes

If you notice a smell coming from any sink in your property it is possible a crack or leak in the pipe that carries the wastewater to the public sewer is to blame. These 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. 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, 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 horrible drain smells just one of the many possible outcomes.

Unsure if plant roots are the cause of your blocked drains? Check out our article on how to find out.

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.