Sewer Gas coming up in Master Bathroom Sink?

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  #1  
Old 01-09-05, 11:13 AM
dmwisniewski
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Unhappy Sewer Gas coming up in Master Bathroom Sink?

Hello.

Once in awhile when I run the sink in our master bathroom, it starts to smell like, what I think, is the sewer gases from the drain. While it doesn't happen all the time, and also I might add, is only in our bathroom, could it be a bad trap? I never heard a trap not working, but maybe its common? The sink drain is connected to the toliet drain, obviously. Our toliet got plugged a while back - could "stuff" have pushed backwards to the sink drain, and now bacteria or denser matter is in our sink drain trap? I did use the plunger quite aggressively.

Please advise...

Thank you for your time.

Best regards,
David
 
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  #2  
Old 01-09-05, 11:25 AM
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If it is something in the drain line that is smelling then you could pour a bleach and water mixture in the sink and see if that cures it. What you may want to try is to look down the sink drain and have someone flush the toilet. If the water in the trap moves, you have a vent problem. If the vent is plugged, when the toilet is flushed it needs air to let the water go down the drain. If no air is available from the vent, it will pull the water out of the sink trap. Then without a water seal in the trap, you get the sewer gases coming back up through the sink drain. Good luck.
 

Last edited by majakdragon; 01-09-05 at 05:11 PM.
  #3  
Old 01-09-05, 11:26 AM
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Either of two things could be the problem.
(A) It could be from a partially clogged vent pipe on the roof above that bathroom. When water drains through the system and a vent pipe is clogged, it will create another "vent" by siphoning the water out of the nearest trap which allows sewer gas back in.
A vent pipe clog could be caused by anything...snow, ice, frost, leaves, debris, birdnest, etc. Go up on the roof and clean anything that you can reach out of the top of vent pipe by hand, and if necessary, snake the vent from top to bottom with a heavy-duty plumber's snake and flush it down with a water hose sprayer.
(B) It could be smelly algae buildup in the sink drain and overflow hole. Plug the drain with a wad of paper towel, and pour a non-caustic, enzyme-based drain cleaner such as DrainCare into the drain and the sink overflow hole.
Let it sit overnight, and then flush it out with very hot water.
(Don't throw the paper towel into the toilet. It will clog it. Throw it in the trash.)
Good luck!
Mike
EDIT: Ping! Terry and I did it again. LOL
 
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Old 01-09-05, 11:31 AM
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Wink

Your way up north there. Have you checked the outside vent stack on the roof it can be froze shut.when you flush it can pull the water out of that other trap there.

ED
 
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Old 01-09-05, 11:37 AM
dmwisniewski
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Thanks guys!

Yes, I'm up in Wisconsin - very cold this time of year. You know, when I think about it, this gas smell started during the cold winter months. It is very possible that is frozen. So, let me get this straight - if the vent is plugged, it will pull water right out of the trap? Leaving it wide open for gases to come up?

Could I wrap it with an electric pipe heater? I can't go up there right now, too much snow and too cold.

Thanks!
 
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Old 01-09-05, 11:45 AM
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If it is the vent, it will not totally empty the trap. It will just suck enough water out so that there is an air gap in the trap to suck air from. Not really much you can do right now if you cannot get on the roof. Just add water to the sink trap each time you flush the toilet (run some water in the sink after flush is complete).
What you may find when you can get up on the roof is that a bird built a nest for warmth. Other things are spider webs,leaves, dead animals. These things are often found in clogged vents. You will have to inspect it, clear everything you can by hand, and then flush with a garden hose. Good luck.
 
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Old 01-09-05, 11:51 AM
dmwisniewski
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Thanks again!

One more thing, are there usually more than one vent in a house? Is that why I am not smelling anything like in the kitchen, utility sink downstairs, and the other bathrooms?
 
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Old 01-09-05, 12:05 PM
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IF, and we are not positive it IS the vent, it will draw air from the closest fixture which is your sink.
Most houses have only one vent due to construction cost so all the water using fixtures are close to each other. Some houses have more than one vent because it is cheaper to have another vent than to run long lengths of pipe to connect fixtures. Local codes can also dictate how far a vent line can run for connecting purposes.
 
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Old 01-09-05, 12:13 PM
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A house can have one or several vents out of the roof, depending upon its particular drain/waste/vent system plan. The larger vent pipes are called the "stack" where usually most everything else is drained and vented into, and only the main vent pipe itself actually exits the roof.
Usually, a clogged vent will cause only one trap to be siphoned to create another "vent", so the trap water in the rest of the house fixtures will stay in place in the traps doing their job (preventing sewer gas from getting back into the house). That's why you normally only have an odor problem from one trap and the rest will be fine.
Mike
Edit: Ping! Again. LOL
 
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Old 01-09-05, 01:34 PM
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Wink

If you can get to the stack in the attic. you could use a heater tape and put it on the stack up there . should melt the ice if thats what you have there and work. I know of some that have a heater tape on the vent up there just for winter and snow. Plug it in when they need it.

ED
 
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Old 01-09-05, 04:31 PM
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I live in the South, so I never see a vent pipe freeze problem, but I've seen others from there that have solved the problem suggest adding a section of pipe in the attic larger than the vent pipe to take the hoar frost, ice and snow buildup.
A section of 6" pipe in the 4" vent pipe in the attic, for instance.
You can check with your Building Inspection Department for code and suggestions. You certainly won't be the first one there with this problem.
Good luck!
Mike
 
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Old 01-16-05, 12:43 PM
dmwisniewski
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Hello again,

I think I found out something - it seems that only when I turn on the faucet, does the gas smell start to come up. Does this change the previous statements?
 
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Old 01-16-05, 01:11 PM
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It could be something in the sink drain pipe that is making the smell and it gets worse when water is added. You can try pulling the trap off the sink and cleaning it and after putting it back on, run some bleach/water solution all the way around the pipe edges. Good luck.
 
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