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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Default Sewer smell

    I get a sewer smell in my lower bathroom. The room has a shower, toilet, and sink in it. The lower level is on a slab. The smell only happens when I have the bathroom window open and another window or door open on the lower level. I have covered the shower drain and disconnected the sink drain and plugged it with a rag and tape. I still get the smell. The toilet water does not move or bubble. There is no smell outside the window.

    My wife thinks the smell is coming from the sink. The sink vent ties into other vents that run to a roof vent.

    How do I determine the source of the smell and eliminate it?

  2. #2
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Sewer smell

    Interesting... the problem only shows having the bathroom window open with another window or door on the same level. I'm guessing there is a negative pressure occurring in the bathroom drawing in sewer gas from somewhere in the DVW system.

    Assuming that all the fixtures ( excluding the toilet) have a "P" trap that has water in them shouldn't be the source.

    Is there a floor drain (aside from the shower) in or around the bathroom?

    Is there a laundry tub / washing machine drain nearby?

    I've encountered a similar case where the vent pipe for the sink had a screw pierce the pipe and was the source for a smell.

    As mentioned earlier it sounds like it only happens when the room is in negative pressure drawing the smell from the leaky vent stack.

    Some plumbers will use a "smoke" machine to determine leaks in the venting system.

    Just a guess.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Sewer smell

    From the sounds of it, this bathroom never gets used, which means the traps in the sink, shower, and toilet could be drying out and allowing the sewer gases in. One reason the problem would compound with windows open is that you're lowering the air pressure in the room, which draws the gases through the pipes, past the dry traps and into the room.

    Try flushing the toilet and running the shower for a few moments. I'd also recommend reconnecting the sink drain and run water there as well. If there are any other sinks or floor drains in the area, run water in these locations as well.

  4. #4
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    Dec 2007
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    Default Sewer smell

    I am having a sewage back up problem. I have with in the past few months rented an auger, ran a 100ft cable in the clean out in the back yard. All I pulled out was some TP, and tree root. Now my neighbor had a problem similar to mine and the cities sewer company came out and fixed but now the same problem again. (The worst part is that I have combination sewer and strom drain.) WHAT DO I DO ?

  5. #5
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Sewer smell

    If you pulled out TP and tree roots...you have a problem. Likely a big problem. The pipe is now more than likely fractured/broken where the roots invaded. Even though you may have achieved drainage again, roots will continue to invade and dirt will enter thru the crack as well.

    Me thinks you need to discover exactly where (may be more than one place) that the roots invaded and the pipe is compromised. If you have a wet spot or small-ish sink-hole in the yard directly over the top of this pipe, it would likely be indicative that it is the location to commence digging.

    Or....you could hire a plumber to come in with a specialty video-camera and send it down the line(s) to find the exact location(s).

    If it's actually the city's responsibility in your situation/locale, contact them first, of course....and let them handle it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    3

    Default Re: Sewer smell

    Hey, i'm going to give this a shot here. I am having somewhat of the same problem with smelling the sewer gas. My problem comes in when i flush the toilet in the bath and this is creating a vaccume in the line and drawing the water out of the traps in my sinks and the laundry room drain and this is causing the bad smell. I have no sewer vent that i know of leading outside and this may be the cause of my problem. If you do have a sewer vent, it may be plugged with ice or something, it's the right weather for it to happen, and you may be having the same effect with the vaccume problem with emtying your traps. Someone have the same problem, let me know what you come up with, thanks.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Sewer smell

    Dan ... you are correct if there is no venting available (or restricted) you will hear the other drains gurgle when the toilet is flushed. It's a common thing in this area up in the Great White North during winter to have snow and ice block vent pipes.

    The vent pipes for DVW is important for 2 reasons.

    First is to allow air behind water for proper drain function. An example would be if you take a plastic pop bottle filled with water and turned it over to empty ... you will notice how slow it will empty. Now if a hole was introduced in the bottom of the bottle allowing air in you notice how much better and faster it will drain. The same principal applies to the house drain.

    If there is no vent or it's restricted the plumbing fixtures inside the home will try and draw air from somewhere else inside the home ... another plumbing fixture.


    The second reason for the vent pipe is to allow the methane gas to be vented to the outside atmosphere. Not only because of the smell also methane gas is dangerous. In large enough amounts methane is flammable which can be hazardous inside homes with open flame appliances like heating equipment , hot water heaters , stoves , fire places , etc..

    Dan ... you really should seriously consider having your situation addressed.

    Hope this helps.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Denver, CO
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    Default Re: Sewer smell

    The Great, White, Nort..............

    Happy Boxing Day!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    3

    Default Re: Sewer smell

    Quote Originally Posted by canuk View Post
    Dan ... you are correct if there is no venting available (or restricted) you will hear the other drains gurgle when the toilet is flushed. It's a common thing in this area up in the Great White North during winter to have snow and ice block vent pipes.

    The vent pipes for DVW is important for 2 reasons.

    First is to allow air behind water for proper drain function. An example would be if you take a plastic pop bottle filled with water and turned it over to empty ... you will notice how slow it will empty. Now if a hole was introduced in the bottom of the bottle allowing air in you notice how much better and faster it will drain. The same principal applies to the house drain.

    If there is no vent or it's restricted the plumbing fixtures inside the home will try and draw air from somewhere else inside the home ... another plumbing fixture.


    The second reason for the vent pipe is to allow the methane gas to be vented to the outside atmosphere. Not only because of the smell also methane gas is dangerous. In large enough amounts methane is flammable which can be hazardous inside homes with open flame appliances like heating equipment , hot water heaters , stoves , fire places , etc..

    Dan ... you really should seriously consider having your situation addressed.

    Hope this helps.
    Ok, thanks canuk, if there is no venting going out now, is it possible to go out the side of the house and put some kind of vent there or does it need to go out and up by the roof to get rid of the gas coming from the sewer?? I will be going up on the roof and looking for the vent but i know something is not right because like you said the vaccume is causeing a gurgle in the pipe when the toilet is flushed. The gas is smelled throughout the house at times so i will need to get something done.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    3

    Default Re: Sewer smell

    Hey all,

    I found out what my sewer problem was and just wanted to let others know so they can check. Note: I have an older home, and i have trees growing around my home, i have found out that some of the piping under the floor is bad and roots from the trees have blocked the pipes causeing the blockage. OK- heres the tough question, by the way, we did check the venting of the sewer pipe and was all clear, so my qustion for someone is, If the sewer vent is open, how does the blocked sewer pipe cause water to be vaccuumed out the traps beings there is a ventpipe and has ample air circulation to let air down??? One of life's mysteries or not.??

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