Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

Get the Stink Blowed Off

I know a couple of bloggers who if they were to check their search engine terms will find “smelly pipes” in the list. Not particularly dazzling as far as outrageous double entendres go, I’ll admit. Lately, however, we’ve had stinky sinks and putrid pipes. The search for solutions continues. (I am ambivalent about alliteration, by the way.)

One writer alarmed me with talk off explosions and the need to seal doors and air leaks. It didn’t help that his Plan B was to mortgage the house in order to afford a professional plumber. The more I read of his post, the more frustrated I became. The author was clearly enjoying this bit of creative drama and I wanted answers, damn it!

What is that SMELL?

What is that SMELL?

Another site was more helpful and considerably less dire in tone. This author provided instructions for dealing with “dry P traps”. Normally, water sits in the curved portion of the pipe and creates a seal so that sewer gas will  not back up into the room.  That might be the problem since there is no P trap on the stand pipe in the laundry closet. Reiner poured bleach down the pipe all the same, and it made a bit of a difference for a day, but the smell has returned.


Why are we having trouble all of a sudden, though? It makes me think that maybe the vent pipe on the sewer line is plugged. You know what that means. It means that we will try any number of solutions until “we” are forced to haul out that ladder and climb up to the roof to inspect the vent for a bird’s nest. The same ladder and same deck and same roof of broken ribs and a dislocated elbow.

It has been such a damp and cold spring. The furnace is still running. I haven’t opened windows to let fresh air in the house. I am ambivalent about that, too, since it’s easier to sleep without street noise and warm air.

However, I may open windows in spite of the damp and chill. The house sure does need to have the “stink blown off*”.

Children's Games is an oil-on-panel by Flemish renaissance artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder, painted in 1560. It is currently held and exhibited at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

Children’s Games is an oil-on-panel by Flemish renaissance artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder, painted in 1560. It is currently held and exhibited at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

*I quote my Dad. “Turn of the TV, go outside, and get the stink blown off!”

Categories: In Other News

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32 replies

  1. Oh. That’s sad. I hope you’ll go looking for that bird’s nest. Check all your vents. Merely a week into living in this house, we threw the rest of our savings at a MAJOR plumbing nightmare. The drama and the expense were worth it, but oh, please find a bird’s nest!


  2. The worst problems can have the simplest solutions.


  3. I like a blog that moves easily from sewer lines to Bruegel. My life seems to do the same.


  4. Hopefully you lose the stink soon and it’s a small, easily fixed problem! Even the hint of plumbing or electrical problems leaves me feeling a bit panicky!


  5. I know what you mean about the panicky part! Oh yes, please yes, make it soon and small and easy! Fortunately, it has turned milder today and the windows are open.


  6. Hey, after having the water frozen and the pipes burst this past winter, and $200 later- I wouldn’t been SO happy to have “stink pipe”. Haha…at least there’s running water now. No complaints. ;0)


  7. “Trap terminology” – more than you ever wanted to know about pipes ‘n plumbing! Hope it’s safely resolved soon.


  8. For me it’s not the S-bend, but my bloody washing-machine. It’s started smelling of mould. Long past it’s warranty, I called the company’s Oz representatives (it’s Swedish) and asked if they could suggest what could be done. The said the only thing to do, seeing as how I don’t have hot water attached, is to run A FULL WASH CYCLE on FULL HEATING … THREE TIMES. There was a silence. I said, weakly, “Do you have the faintest idea how much electricity that would mean I have to use ?”, and they shrugged. The machine still smells of mould.


  9. I so hope this story has a sweet and happy ending! Here’s a trick you might not have tried: empty about 1/4 c of pure baking soda into the drain, and wash it down with a cup of white vinegar. It move clogs, creates gas, and deodorizes. you might have to repeat this a few times, but it is my line of first defense for slow drains. It might do the trick to restore the balance to your system- unless of course your vent pipe is host to a nest of something…. sounds like a good job to hire out to a trusted teen aged boy if there is one within reach…

    Best wishes,



  10. I do hope WG’s suggestion works. When we were at the gallery, the plumber had a camera on the end of a big curly line, to investigate problems. Of course we were not paying the bill! Just loved your Bruegel, much needed beauty where blogged drains are concerned. I use a draino product, probably not environmentally sound, but it does the job.


  11. Be careful with your post tags. My search engine went from pleasantly weird to hilariously bizarre to disturbingly pornographic in the past few weeks. I am actually kind of impressed with how quickly it went downhill.


  12. I have so much to learn! I had not realized that it was the tags that mattered – I thought content was all that was required to reel ’em in!


  13. My New Hampshire sister, who knows the solution to every problem (it’s eerie), bought one of those mini-snakes and uses it regularly on her own stinky drain to scrape and fish out whatever gunk has accumulated down and around it. In her case, this has solved the stink which otherwise was recurring. This is an inexpensive (although totally gross) option you might try–one step up from the baking soda/vinegar or Drano choices.

    Good luck!


    • Good idea, Thanks! – I’ll keep that in my Plan B folder. I think that might be the problem, actually. About a month ago, Reiner laundered a cat pillow – the stitching let loose – foam chips everywhere – including, no doubt, down the drain.But, the first run of pipe after the vertical drain pipe from the machine is parallel to the floor. There very well may be gunk to remove.



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