Burping Toilet / Sewer Smell


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Old 01-16-06, 02:04 PM
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Burping Toilet / Sewer Smell

My downstairs toilet is very sluggish in flushing and will often back up. I actually replaced the toilet and before I reistalled the new I poored several gallons of water down the drain and it did not back up. The sink and the shower in the same bathroom have no back up problems. There are no other back up problems throughout the house. When the washing machine is running in the adjacent room or if the shower is running upstairs I get some heavy burping in the toilet bringing in a detectable sewer smell. My parents are coming cross country to visit and I would like to get rid of the smell and give them a funtioning bathroom. I am on city sewer, and house was built 1990.
 
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Old 01-16-06, 02:19 PM
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luke.cowley, Wecome to the DIY Forums.
Hope it's not too bad to go up on the roof. The problem is the vent. When you poured water into the open pipe when the toilet was removed, the space around the pipe let air in. Now that the toilet (which has a built-in trap) is installed, the drain is not getting air which is needed for proper drainage. The burping is caused by a vacuum being created when other fixtures are used. This sucks the water out of the toilet trap and allows sewer gas to enter the house. Look at the pipe coming out of the roof. You may find leaves, cobwebs, or a birdsnest. Clear out what you can by hand and look down the pipe with a flashlight. Then flush with a garden hose if possible. If not, pour a 5 gallon bucket of water down it. Good luck.
 
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Old 01-18-06, 12:04 AM
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Exclamation

Depending on the time of year, watch out for live bees, birds, and small animals.
Mud wasps might have built a nest inside, especially if the pipe terminates under the eaves such that it in not exposed to rain.
 
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Old 01-31-06, 05:58 PM
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I have the same problem, or am pretty sure I do.

So it is okay to try and flush the vent clean with a garden house? I was wondering about that. Seemed like the logical thing to try.

To be honest, it did not occur to me to use a flashlight and actually LOOK in the vent to see what may be obstructing it! What if the blockage is, as mentioned, a dead animal or something else too far down the vent to reach and remove?
 
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Old 01-31-06, 11:27 PM
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Welcome, mtujohn.

So it is okay to try and flush the vent clean with a garden house?
Yes. A 2" vent should accept full flow from your hose.

Make sure someone monitors the drains inside.

If you are filling from the roof, you could overflow any fixture in the house depending on where the clog moves to.
Usually the bathtub fills up first upstairs and then the kitchen sink downstairs.



it did not occur to me to use a flashlight and actually LOOK in the vent to see what may be obstructing it!
Use a really big flashlight.



What if the blockage is, as mentioned, a dead animal or something else too far down the vent to reach and remove?
If it is a dead animal or leaves, lye/Drano (and later lots of water) should clear that clog.
If it is a mud wasp nest or bird nest, lots of water.
If it is a small flashlight, oops! call a real plumber.
 
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Old 02-16-06, 08:17 AM
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Same prob, but on septic system

A couple weeks ago my upstairs shower was draining slowly, so I applied enzyme treatment to the showers, sinks, and toilets. Blue stuff: run hot water, dump some in, run more hot water, leave overnight, then flush all in the morning.

Ever since then my downstairs toilet burps and the water runs out. I have plunged, used drain cleaner, and put bacteria in it yesterday. It still burps and loses water. No smell, though it sometimes burps back shreds of toilet paper.

When someone runs the shower upstairs or the washing machine (also upstairs) it does the same thing. Is it my vent too? I didn't know I had a vent. We are on a private well with a septic system. We are in a rural area so animals etc are very possible. It is winter so I don't think it would be insects.

So am I supposed to have someone go up on an icy roof and run water into that pipe? Would a plumber be able to do something from inside the house?

Thanks in advance. This is a great forum!
 
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Old 02-17-06, 01:15 PM
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Guys - word of advice when looking down your vent with a big flashlight - don't drop it in the vent!
Tapper - go outside and look on your roof. Most houses have a piece of ABS or PVC piping sticking up a couple of feet above the roof. If it's not in an area that you feel comfortable getting to, you can always try accessing the vent stack in the attic. You'll have to cut a small section out of the pipe for access (its probably plastic) and reassemble it later, either with solvent glued couplings or mechanical ones available at any hardware store.
 
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Old 02-17-06, 07:23 PM
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If you do try to access it from an attic, be very careful not to move it too much. There's a seal where it goes thru the roof, which could leak if disturbed.
 
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Old 02-17-06, 09:06 PM
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small flashlight -- oops!

Originally Posted by Wayne Mitchell
word of advice when looking down your vent with a big flashlight - don't drop it in the vent!
That's why I specified a really big flashlight. Mine cannot be dropped down the vent.


If there is ice on the roof, that could be the problem.
Snow and ice might have plugged the vents if they were too short. Usually there is enough heat to keep it melted out.

So, Tapper, how long has the problem persisted? Do the vents appear to be encased in ice? How tall are the vents above the roof?
 
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Old 02-18-06, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Wayne Mitchell
Tapper - go outside and look on your roof. Most houses have a piece of ABS or PVC piping sticking up a couple of feet above the roof.
OK, I saw the vent. This is a very old house, so it's a green metal pipe, not too far up. I have a friend coming over tomorrow to go up and look inside. But the pipe is on the 2nd floor roof, and the sewage outlet is in the basement; do we need a 3-story pole to jam whatever is in there down to the end?

Also, last night, the sinks on the 1st floor started backing up. When I plunged one the other gurgled. I rarely use drain cleaners (perfer enzymes and bacteria), but maybe I should get use of those major chemicals and then re-seed the bacteria in a few days.

In any event, it is now Saturday on a holiday weekend and I won't be able to call a plumber until Tuesday, and they probably won't be able to come until the middle or end of the week, so I want to try to do something myself.

Thanks all!
 
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Old 02-18-06, 08:00 AM
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Tapper,
If you have a long piece of tow chain, that will work unless it is a dead animal wedged in the line. Easier to carry onto the roof also. 20 foot should do a two story house. Good luck.
As with the flashlight, DON'T drop it down the pipe.
 
 

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