sewer smell in one bathroom.

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Old 05-01-06, 06:01 AM
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sewer smell in one bathroom.

i just bought a house in tampa. 1 story on a concrete slab. we have 2 bathrooms. we remodelled the master bath first with a new toilet, tile, paint, and a pedistal sink to replace the vanity. ~3 weeks ago there has been a nasty sewer smell. it was very faint 3 weeks ago but now its just nasty and heavy and it almost knocks you on your a%$. the house is about 40 y/o. they built both bathrooms back to back with no access to the plumbing. our second bathroom doesnt have a smell in it.
i thought it was the toilet not sealing so i bought 2 new wax rings and installed them. still smells.
the wall in the second bathroom is out because were ready to remodel that one as well. i found 2 vent pipes in the wall. one thick one and one small one. is the big vent pipe for the toilets only? is the small vent pipe for the showers and the sinks? the small vent pipe is next to the showers. the large vent pipe is next to the toilets. each of these pipes run to the roof.
i went up on the roof and looked down the large vent pipe and it was clear. i ran water down it and it drained fine.
the small vent pipe filled up and overflowed when i put water in it then it slowly went down.
i know this has to be my problem but why would only one bathroom smell?
i also noticed that the master bathroom stand in shower drains fast and the second bathroom tub/shower drains very slow. both bathroom sinks and toilets drain fast.
any help or explanation will be appreciated.
 
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Old 05-01-06, 08:22 PM
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Go back on that hot roof and chug the hose down the small vent pipe until water runs freely. You have a blockage somewhere before the traps, and the sewer gasses are pushing past your ptraps. This may solve your problem. I am assuming you have run water into the traps in the sink and the shower unit.
 
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Old 05-02-06, 05:36 AM
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yes, the traps are filled every day. it is currently the only bathroom we use now. why are there 2 vents? if the small vent is clogged why doesnt the large vent take over?
thanks
 
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Old 05-02-06, 04:42 PM
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They aren't tied together. They have different purposes and come from different applications.
 
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Old 05-02-06, 05:22 PM
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why doesnt the other bathroom smell?
 
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Old 05-02-06, 06:01 PM
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It could be something as simple as a ptrap being installed slightly higher than the one in the adjoining bathroom. Have you chugged the pipe yet?
 
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Old 05-02-06, 06:03 PM
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Just for fun, run some water in the sink in the smelly bathroom. Put your head over the sink while doing this and see if it smells. If so, plug the drain and pour a cup of bleach in the sink. Slowly (so you don't splash bleach) fill the sink with water and let it run into the overflow. Run water until the bleach smell is gone. Sometimes the "runway" for the overflow gets bacteria growing in it and causes smells. Good luck.
 
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Old 05-03-06, 05:43 AM
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i purchased a pipe snake. it should be here this week. ill let you know.
as for the overflow the sink is 2 months old.

i tried something this morning. i closed both bathroom sink drain stoppers and i closed the second bathroom tub stopper. i ran the master bathroom shower and the drain was gurgling.
 
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Old 05-03-06, 06:47 AM
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Now it sounds like a vent problem. As far as the sink only being two months old, you don't know how it was stored or for how long before you bought it. Bacteria like to grow where there is little light and damp conditions.
 
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Old 05-03-06, 08:11 AM
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great! ill let you guys know what happens when i snake it this week. thanks for all the help.
 
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Old 05-06-06, 05:59 PM
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We ourselves had a near exact problem. Smell coming from somewhere in one of two bathrooms which were back to back. We thought it was a p trap not functioning corrrectly. Our bath tub also was draining slow. Then it just totally clogged. We called in professionals and they ran a snake down the tub overflow and drain hole. This was a mistake because it ended up cracking the 50 yr old drain pipe which led to the main sewer line in the home. Only way to fix it was bust out a wall or remove the tub to replace the broken drain pipe from the tub.

Once the drain pipe from the tub was repair and a new tub put in, the smell was no longer there. We can only assume that the drain pipe had a open crack which was allowing gases from the sewer line into the bathroom from under the tub.
 
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Old 05-06-06, 07:52 PM
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definetly not what i want to hear but good to know.
here is an update. got the pipe snake in and used it on the small vent pipe. i ran water down the drain as i was snaking it and it is no longer clogged. i retracted the cable only to find parts of a frog stuck on the cable tip. i ran water down the vent pipe and it no longer filled up and overflowed. the tub drains fast now but the master bath smell is still there. i think its the new toilet. i put 2 wax rings when installed. what are my options now? is there anything else i can use besides wax rings. i dont want to put 3 wax rings down.
 
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Old 05-07-06, 05:15 AM
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Why did you use two wax seals? If the closet flange is lower than the floor, get a flange extender and bring it up to floor level or just above. Using two seals just increases the chance of a leak because they can slide when you set the toilet on them. They do sell thicker wax seals.
 
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Old 05-07-06, 05:44 AM
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hell. thats what everyone told me to do. after the tile was put down the flange was flush with the tile.
 
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Old 05-07-06, 06:18 AM
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Bad advice. If you pull the toilet up again, put a straightedge across the bottom and you will see how little space you need to fill with the wax seal. Some of the Plumbers here will say to use 2 seals but I have seen enough of them slide and block the flange opening. I always recommend an extender if the flange is below the tile.
 
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Old 05-09-06, 05:08 PM
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OOOOh, what an obnoxious audio on the website. Just thought you ought to know. And vent pipes aren't "designed" to allow sewer gasses into a house, but to take them out.
 
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Old 05-09-06, 05:57 PM
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ok an update. last saturday i snaked the small vent. it was clogged. pulled out parts of a frog to be exact. sunday. smell still present. didnt do anything else. monday. smell gone. didnt do anything. tuesday smell gone. didnt do anything. does anyone else find this unusual? im not complaining because the smell is finally gone.
 
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Old 05-09-06, 07:17 PM
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Probably until the wet residue that was causing the smell dried on the inside of your pipes and became almost inert, you had the smell. Once they dried, and air began moving freely, the smell went away. Bottom line -- its gone. Mission accomplished, congratulations.
 
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Old 05-13-06, 07:43 AM
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ok.. bad news. we now dont use the second bathroom and the smell has moved into that bathroom. everyday i run a little water to make sure the traps are full but the smell is there no matter what. not as strong as the master bathroom smell was but it is definetly present. what could it be that it would switch to the bathroom that is not in use?
 
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Old 05-13-06, 11:04 PM
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I didn't read the responses to this thread but has anyone mentioned the smoke test on the system to determine where the leak is?

Smoke tests always lead to the problem without major time and effort spent doing numerous things that do not address the core issue.
 
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Old 05-14-06, 05:24 AM
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how do i go about getting a smoke tester?
 
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Old 05-14-06, 09:13 PM
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They make a 90 second or 3 minute smoke emitter that is basically a smoke bomb. You wrap a wire around it, light it and drop it into the cleanout outside of your home and "hang" the bomb about 6" down into the cleanout.

Use a leaf blower or shop vac on the blowing side and blow air towards your house. Have numerous people in the house when you do this; first sign or smell of smoke will lead you to your leak. Most likely it could be a leaking wax ring even though no water is present from flushing.

Any time I get a call for a customer that has exhausted all avenues of trying to find the source of a smell........I come in and do what usually takes 10 minutes to identify the source. If one smoke bomb doesn't work then I keep lighting them and blowing smoke into the home until I find the leak. I did this on a chiropractor's office recently. The nurses come running out of the building saying exam room number 4 was full of smoke.

Turned out to be a sink that hadn't been used in months that had a dry trap. Easy fix (water) to a 2 month smell problem.
 
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Old 05-15-06, 05:57 AM
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where do i get this smoke? is this only something a plumber can get? what in gods' name is a cleanout?
thanks for your help.
 
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Old 01-29-09, 07:30 AM
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Frog in toilet...

Frog found.. quite alive.. in toilet bowl.
How could it possibly have gotten there?
What preventive measures can be taken for no repeat performance?

Thanks,
Sheeba
.
 
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Old 01-29-09, 07:55 AM
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Frogs in the toilet.

While we are at it, here's an article on the "smoke testing" technique described below, one of the comments provided a link for purchasing smoke bombs.
 

Last edited by Michael Thomas; 01-29-09 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 01-30-09, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by busa4 View Post
where do i get this smoke? is this only something a plumber can get? what in gods' name is a cleanout?
thanks for your help.
asking those questions begs for having a professional out and watching them so you might be able to do it if ever it needs done again. you can get smoke bombe at a plumbing supply or google it
 
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