There are few things as enjoyable after a long day of work than a soak in the bath. Similarly, many Calgarians don’t feel quite awake and ready for the day until they’ve showered. With the bathroom at the centre of many early morning and evening rituals, it can be a bit disconcerting when this tranquil time is interrupted by a sharp stench from the drain. So what’s happening and how do you fix it?
There are several common culprits when it comes to shower drain stench. Hair and grime can clog up the shower drain and begin to rot, mould and mildew may have begun growing beneath the drain cover, or sewer gases may be snaking up through a malfunctioning p-trap. While all of these causes lead to a heck of a stink, most are pretty easy to fix.
Hair and Grime collect when your shower’s built-in strainer or stopper becomes clogged. This fixture is here to help catch debris, like hair and soap scum, before it can get into your plumbing system and cause problems. But over the year, all that gunk begins to accumulate. Damp, rotting hair is by far one of the most common causes of shower drain smell, and it’s also easy to fix — though a bit gross.
Using a Philips screwdriver, you can remove the stopper. At which point, the nest of hair, soap, and grease is usually immediately obvious. You’ll want some rubber gloves to protect your hands as you pull away any large chunks. Hot soapy water and an old bristle brush or toothbrush can help you scrub the strainer and the drain pipe.
Mould & Mildew thrive in warm, dark, wet places, so your shower drain is about perfect. Once you’ve removed the stopper to check for any hair and grime, you’ll want to double-check that everything is fitting together and sealed properly. If there’s a gap between the drain cover or the strainer and the tub, mould or mildew may begin to grow in that space.
After you’ve removed the gunk from the stopper, spray down the drain cover and stopper with a mould removing solution and give it a thorough wipe. Make sure everything fits snugly when you put it back into place. If it doesn’t, either something is warped and should be replaced or you need a little professional help from a Calgary plumber.
P-Traps are curving portions of drain pipe that serve to connect fixtures to the larger drainage system. This stretch of pipe is curved in order to catch and hold onto a pool of water, which then acts as a plug and prevents sewer gasses from floating up through the pipes. Sewer gas generally has a strong sulfuric (rotten egg) smell, so if that’s what you’re smelling, a malfunctioning p-trap is likely the culprit.
Remove the stopper with your Philips screwdriver, and use a flashlight to look down into the drain. You should be able to see the water. If you can’t, pour at least a half-litre (2 cups) of water down the drain. Wait an hour, and then check if you can see the water. If it’s gone, something has definitely gone wrong. Give the friendly Calgary plumbers at Plumbing Paramedics a call.
No one deserves to live with a stinking shower drain. Fortunately, this problem is generally easy to fix. Of course, if you ever feel you need some extra support — or you have zero desire to pull rotting hair from a drain (fair enough) — give our team of professional Calgary plumbers a call. We’ll be by to help in a jiffy.