Robert Lamoureux | That sinking feeling of a sewage smell

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Question: Hello Robert, I never miss your column in The Signal! I’m hoping you can give me some guidance. I live in a second-floor condo. The sink in our primary bedroom shares a common waste line with our next-door neighbor.  

Twice in the last four years the HOA has had to call a plumber to clear a blockage down close to ground level. I’m not sure if that is relevant to my problem, however. I’ve noticed that, when I turn on the water, I almost immediately get a sewage smell coming from the drain. I’ve checked the water and it is not the source of the smell.  

Do you think this indicates a problem and, if so, should I ask the HOA to investigate it? Thanks for your help. 

— Gary F. 

Answer: Gary, thank you for being a loyal reader. Over the years, the sink trap gets full of gunk and can cause this odor. I’d like you to try this: Put half a cup of bleach down the drain and let it sit for a few hours. Be sure to wipe the drain inlet from the bleach, as it will cause corrosion. After those few hours, fill your sink with hot water and pull the drain. This is no doubt the issue. Keep me posted. Good luck. 

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].    

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