sewer gas?


Old 05-28-03, 08:18 AM
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sewer gas?

We moved into a new to us 1957 home 1.5 months ago. Suddenly, 2 weeks ago we start smelling a bad odor coming from the main drain in the basement. My husband flushed it out with a hose and we ran all the drains in the house. The smell remained. I then called the city and they came down right away and cleaned the main line. The smell got WORSE! I called the city again and told them the smell was worse and was told that sometimes cleaning the main line caused a vacuum and that I just needed to run water through all the drains again and open some windows.
Well it's been another 24 hrs and it smells pretty bad in here. Is this something that will always be here? Intermittently? I am not happy about this.

Any ideas? Thanks in advance
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Old 05-28-03, 09:15 AM
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Check for any floor drains, and add water into them.
Old 05-28-03, 09:25 AM
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That is the first thing we did. That's what I meant when I said my husband flushed out the main drains with a hose. We have done this on three separate days. (couple times each day)

Thank you for suggesting it though. I appreciate any help I can get.

Do you suppose that this smell will continue to be an intermittent problem and the smell will come and go all the time?
Old 05-28-03, 10:06 AM
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Look into the fllor drains with a flashlight to be sure they are holding water. Even get down and smell them. My house is about the same age and I've got 3 floor drains. I started smelling sewer gas from 1 drain and noticed it wasn't holding water. The old crock pipe had cracked in the bottom of the trap. I hammered out the floor, dug it al out and replaced with PVC.
I had to do a 2nd one last year, same thing.
Old 05-28-03, 10:51 AM
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I can see the water very clearly. It's only about I dunno a foot from the top of the floor. The smell comes from the main floor drain in the basement and nowhere else. (meaning not any other drains in the house are smelling ie sinks or tubs etc)
The weird thing is that we've been here almost 2 months and the smell just started out of the blue. It wasn't here when we moved in.
When the city came they said the main line definitely needed to be cleared and they did do that. Incidentally, one street over they are replacing the entire main line on that street.
We have three floor drains. (only one is tightly capped) I'll have my husband uncap it and take a look at that one. The others have covers that are easily removed and those both are holding water fine. BUT it is the one floor one that seems to be the only one that smells. (and it's not the one tightly capped)
thank you so much for the help so far.
Old 05-28-03, 02:38 PM
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There is a diffrence between a floor drain and a clean out.
A floor drain has a trap that holds water to keep the smell out.
A clean out does not have a trap and should have a clean out cap on it to keep the smell out.
Old 05-29-03, 08:28 PM
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would a blocked vent cause the sewer gas smell in the house? I am wondering if one of the vents on the side has a bird's nest or something in it.
Old 05-30-03, 04:02 AM
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A blocked vent will cause trap water to be siphoned out of a trap whenever waste water is running through the drain/waste/vent system.
Check the vents on the roof, clear them out by hand of what you can reach, and flush them down with a water hose sprayer.
You may have to snake them from top to bottom and flush them again, if the problem persists.
Good Luck!
Old 06-06-03, 08:55 PM
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what would cause the smell to be worse when it rains?
Old 06-07-03, 06:35 AM
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When you checked the floor drairns, there were little cleanout plugs in the sides of them? If you can see a hole in the side of the floor drain, this is the clean out for the drain not the actual drain. Even having these somewhat loose will allow gas to enter a basement.
Old 06-07-03, 12:48 PM
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I would fill washing machine up on high level.I would then go down in basement and make sure floor drain water level is correct may add water to make sure.Then while watching water level in floor drain with flashlight i would get someone to let h20 out of washing machine.Maybe flush a few toilets at the same time.This will let you know if you have a venting problem.You will either get a gurgle sound or water will rise then siphin out.The reason i use the washing machine is becouse it puts the most water in the system at one time.This is when most problems show up the most.As for as smell more when rainning is becouse sewr gas is heavest then and doesnt dilute into the air.the rain water storm water etc.Is seperate than sewer at least here anyway.
Old 06-07-03, 08:47 PM
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My 2 Cents

Hello Annie W.

After reading all the postings in this thread, I am wondering if the cause of the problem is not within your sewage system. The fact that the odor comes when it rains or soon aftwards may indicate there is presently or was in the past a septic system installed.

When it rains the water table in the ground rises. Septic system that leak or leach lines that are not sealed, damaged or broken leak. The leakage saturates the surrounding soil and the elevated water table pushes up the leakage.

This condition you presently have may have to be explored back a few years. To determine if there is or was a septic sewage system there now or in the past, contact the building department in the city or town.

Permits will be on file and date the system installed when the home was first built and any changes made since then. A licensed plumber can also do this for you and also determine the exact cause.

Not doing so and or not correcting the problem will mean you will have to endure the condition for years to come. The condition may also continue to get worse.

That's my entire two cents worth from a non professionals point of view and strictly in my opinion....
Old 06-08-03, 09:42 AM
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Originally posted by poleaxed
There is a diffrence between a floor drain and a clean out.
A floor drain has a trap that holds water to keep the smell out.
A clean out does not have a trap and should have a clean out cap on it to keep the smell out.
I see a cap on the floor (in the basement) next to the main pipe. It has a square on top with a number 4 on it. Is that the one maybe?
Sorry to be so ignorant here, but I am a new homeowner and am sincerely trying to avoid the cost of a plumber for something that may not be a big deal.
There is another pipe with a cap in another part of the basement, but it looks like it should not be touched.
I'm beginning to wonder if this is just a seasonal thing because of the barometric pressure rising and falling and so the vents are not venting at 100%. (because as I said in the beginning the smell wasn't there for two months, then turned up come spring, then seems to get worse when it rains)
We did get on the roof and hose the vents out. It didn't change the smell.
Incidentally, this odor can be smelled coming through a couple of my heat vents too now.

thanks to everyone for their input. I appreciate it.
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