sewage smell from sink

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Old 02-24-09, 08:26 AM
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sewage smell from sink

We bought a new home about 6 months ago. A couple of months ago we noticed a sewage smell coming from the sinks in upstairs bathroom. It is coming from both sinks in master bathroom. We have been cleaning regularly and I don't think that we have lived there enough for other buildup problems, nor do we use it that heavily.

Builder is reluctant to fix anything and is giving excuses and said that this part of regular maintenance. I think the fact that the problem is in both of the upstairs sinks suggests some problem other than maintenance. I looked at some other threads on this forum and one post suggested that it could be problem with another exit pipe.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Sorry I am not a very handy person.

Edited to add - reading some of the previous posts the problem may be caused by a vent pipe. How do I find it and clean it? Thanks.
 

Last edited by PeteG60; 02-24-09 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 02-24-09, 09:41 AM
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I'll get you started while you wait for the pros. Each sink should have a trap, usually visible in the cabinet below. This p-trap should hold a small quantity of water after each use to block any sewer gas from leaking back into your home. If the vent is blocked or too far from the trap, exiting water can siphon the water out of the trap. There are other possibilities, but first take a look to see if there is a trap and tell us the proximity of the two bathrooms, frequently back to back. Thus they may be sharing the same vent pipe.

Also note if the smell is coming from the drain, if not then the vent may open somewhere in the wall. Adding a little water to the drain should fill the trap and block the air leakage. If not, sniff around.

Bud
 
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Old 02-24-09, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Bud9051 View Post
I'll get you started while you wait for the pros. Each sink should have a trap, usually visible in the cabinet below. This p-trap should hold a small quantity of water after each use to block any sewer gas from leaking back into your home. If the vent is blocked or too far from the trap, exiting water can siphon the water out of the trap. There are other possibilities, but first take a look to see if there is a trap and tell us the proximity of the two bathrooms, frequently back to back. Thus they may be sharing the same vent pipe.

Also note if the smell is coming from the drain, if not then the vent may open somewhere in the wall. Adding a little water to the drain should fill the trap and block the air leakage. If not, sniff around.

Bud
The two sinks are near each other in the master bathroom (maybe 6-8 feet apart). There is a p-trap below each sink. Builder was suggesting that p-trap may be clogged and needed to be cleaned. The smell comes from both sinks and is most noticeable in a sink when water is run in it.

We lived for 5 years in previous house in similar conditions without any problem, and the builder is giving excuses for everything, so I don't trust that they are trying to look at the root problem.

I will try to get a better idea of the pipe layout and the vents. Thanks.
 
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Old 02-24-09, 10:33 AM
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Iím an amateur guessing, but it sounds like a clogged vent pipe or something is not hooked up correctly. Usually the vent for the flush is the largest pipe and the smaller vent pipes attach to it before it exits the roof. Since both bathrooms are having the problem, I would assume those two drain lines join before the problem. Any photos from the builder while under construction? Do you know who the plumber was, he may remember, and he may be more interested in correcting the problem than the builder. Start documenting your conversations with the builder, it sounds like he doesnít want to take responsibility for anything.

Being an energy auditor, I keep finding ways to use an Infrared camera to troubleshoot problems. One thing they do very well is spot any source of hot or cold inside a wall. 5 minutes of hot water running through the drain and an IR camera will show you where they are. A non-invasive way to get more information.

Do a little dance and the pros will show up.

Bud
 
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Old 02-25-09, 09:04 AM
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have you pulled the pop up plug for the drains? tried using something like scrubbing bubbles in the drains?

do the sinks have overflow holes? if so have you tried scrubbing bubbles or bleach or vinagar in them?

have you taken the traps off to make sure there is nothing in them?

if all else fails be a pain in the builders neck until he gets a plumber out to diagnose the problem. look up your areas laws pertaining to new construction to find out what you can do. has anyone else complained about this builder?
 
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