- This topic has 16 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 20 years, 5 months ago by TheLocalPlumber.
3 Feb 2000 at 4:28 am #278435MasterPlumbersKeymaster
We moved into a six year old house six months ago. About a month ago we noticed a putrid odor that has gotten worse-definitely sewer gas. We’ve found no dry traps and replaced a wax ring on a toilet we thought was the culprit. The smell persists. It is exclusive to the second floor and distributed by the heat pump. The first floor is on a separate heating system and has no odor. The smell is by far the worst right after someone showers on the second floor. Does the steam make it worse? Where is this coming from? help help help
6 Feb 2000 at 1:16 am #298503SylvanLMP
Check your fiters and the condensate drains
8 Feb 2000 at 4:45 pm #298504Guest
I am having the exact same problem, and am just as frustrated!!! We had our septic tank pumped, the seal on the toilet replaced, the vent stack checked for blockages (none!) and are at the end of our rope! We get the smell when we run a lot of water (shower, washing machine). My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org please let me know if you hear of any other options. Good luck!!
8 Feb 2000 at 8:56 pm #298505Guest
I am also having this problem. The odor is emitted after the shower on the first floor is used. I have had the shower drain cleaned and it didn’t help. Pouring bleach into the drain helps somewhat. HELP!
10 Feb 2000 at 9:41 am #298506Guest
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23 Feb 2000 at 9:06 am #298507bungie
Look in the trap of either the shower, basin, or floor waste. Regularly I come across this problem to find its just a build up of hair and soap in the traps, quite often because the tiler pushed his grout into the trap, given the bactiria a place to hid and grow. Clean this out and use chlorine to kill the bugs.
All advice is given with-out seeing the job, and hence all advice MUST be taken as advice with limited knowledge on the exact situation. NO responsibility can or
will be taken. And yes, I am a licensed plumber with my own business in Brisbane Australia
11 Mar 2000 at 8:14 pm #298508Terry
We have the exact same problem. We know its not a septic tank, because we are running into the city sewer. We ran an inline camera thinking maybe something was dead in the line or a broken line, but came up empty handed there… We want to know if there is anyway we can cap off the lines and put some type of colored smoke to determine if the odor is seeping through the walls, or floors. Also if there is any type of odor/gas detector we can use. Some one please help us with our dilemma… Thank you..
24 Mar 2000 at 7:09 pm #298509Guest
It seems that you all might have the same problem of having a sanitary vent system that is not up to code. This is how a vent works. When your shower or toilet dumps water into your drain line, it must be vented to allow this water to continue moving through the piping. If you plugged up the vent that goes through your roof. the water would only trickle out of your sewer line; like putting your finger over the end of a straw, and lifting water out of a glass. If you take your finger off, the water flows fine. That water also has momentum, and can suck the water out of any traps that are upstream of it as it flows down your drain pipe. Especially if your drain pipes are all undesized, or you have a “wet vent” that is undersized. Any water that flows down the undersized wet vent will create a vacuum at any upstream drain lines, sucking the traps dry (after you shower or use the washing machine) I don’t know if your local plumber will be able to tell you what size pipes you have without teariing up your floors or walls, but if your house isn’t that old, the builder may have blueprints of what size the pipes should be.
4 Apr 2000 at 3:21 am #298510Guest
I have recently built a new house. From day one there has been an odor (definitely sewage)in the guest bathroom. It usually occurs directly after or during a shower. We have had the plumber that plummed the house come out numerous times to look and everything has supposedly checked out. They made sure there was water in the traps and that the vents were clear. The shower water is draining fine also. Need help drastically.
5 Apr 2000 at 12:24 am #298511SylvanLMP
Try a “smoke test” to find out if indeed the vents are connected and working. You can also have your drains water jetted to scrub the pipes to a like new condition.
If your hell bent on using chemicals try either Clorox or Pine oil and Arm and Hammer baking soda does work wonders also.
Most drain smells are due to a build up of soap/grease build up and CHEMICALS takes a very long time to work (if they work at all)
water jetting is fast SAFE, and clean and most importantly it Works. The mark up on chemicals is unbelievable so a lot of folks try to sell these products as I fondly call it “SNAKE OILS” why add a “chemical SMELL” to cover up some other smell? For heat pumps the coils should be cleaned as to remove any type of build up of dust (pollen) that maybe decaying and thus causing a sewer gas smell.
7 Apr 2000 at 4:18 am #298512kirkcules
JGreskoff, is this vent thing a major ticket item? What’s involved with getting it up to code? We just moved into a new house (34 years old, new to us) and I pretty confident we are on a public sewer. We too have experienced a sulphur smell coming from the toilets, sinks, etc when we run a lot of water.
14 Apr 2000 at 5:04 pm #298513Guest
You mentioned the odor being transferred by the heat pump. Two thoughts, check to see where the heat pump’s condensate drain goes – it might be directly connected to the sewer vent. If it is, check to see if it has its own trap which can dry out and allow sewer gasses to be drawn into the air stream. If there is no trap on the condensate, you’ll need to add one.
We’ve seen, more than once, vents that terminated in walls or the attic and they simply needed to be run to the exterior for venting the odors to the atmosphere. Had one once where the drapery folks had drilled holes through the vent stack while adding supports for large horizontal drapes!
4 May 2000 at 2:55 am #298514Guest
We have a similar problem in our upstairs bath. Whenever it rains or snows, we smell sewer gas in that one bathroom, it doesn’t matter whether we use the bath or not. We have our own septic system. Our house is about 28 years old. Please let me know if you find out anything.
6 Nov 2000 at 7:20 pm #298515Guest
We have had a similar problem and we think (hope) we now have it solved. We only get
the smell when the leaves have fallen. We think the wind currents are pushing the gases
from our vents up the roof and into the ridge vent into the attic. Once there, they work
their way down a plumbing chase to our foyer. Our house is in a heavily wooded area on
a north-south slope. If this helps please let us know.
12 Nov 2000 at 10:40 pm #298516Guest
We have had the same problem lately but our smell seems to be coming from the drainage hole in the basement. It seems to only occur when I do a couple or more loads of laundry. Someone told me that the water level maybe low in the drainage hole and that I should pour water into it. I did this and at first I thought it was working but now that doesn’t even seem to work. We are on a septic tank system that we also thought maybe getting it cleaned out would help but that didn’t work. Any suggestions for a over the counter product that we can flush down the drain, I am starting to think it might be some sort of back gas from the septic tank, any other ideas?????
14 Nov 2000 at 10:56 pm #298517Guest
We are having this problem as well, and we are just about to start investigating in earnest. Our problem is on the first floor, not in the basement or on the second floor. Could someone please provide us with a step by step diagnostic check list for eliminating each of the possibilities listed in this post? What should we do first, second, etc., to isolate the problem?
Also, are there health concerns associated with this problem? It sure doesn’t smell too healthy!
22 Nov 2000 at 4:02 pm #298518TheLocalPlumber
In all these cases, Sylvan has the best approach, a smoke test of the vents should be step # 1.
When sewer gases escape from a wall vent or attic vent, they do not escape into the atmosphere above the house they escape into the house, closest to the broken vent. It would be more noticable right after drains are used.
A licensed plumbing contractor should be able to properly diagnose after doing a smoke test of the venting system.
The Local Plumber
Tustin, California http://www.TheLocalPlumber.com
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