Stubborn smelly shower drain (after shower) - any ideas?


  #1  
Old 05-08-10, 05:17 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Frisco, TX
Posts: 88
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Stubborn smelly shower drain (after shower) - any ideas?

My master bath shower started smelling like sewage after taking a shower (or sometimes during - depending how long you take ). Note that it drains as quick as ever, so there is no back-up at all, just really stinks. Stinks of sewage, not mold. Single story house, about 8 years old on slab.

So here is what I did:
  • - as every newbie - bought your "two part pipe foam cleaner" in a store and poured it in; no desired effect
  • - came to this forum and searched; learned that there could be a film of nasty slimy under the drain screen. So I took the drain screen off and found a film of nasty slimy. Used a bleach solution and a bottle cleaner to scrub / clean it all; looked great but still - no desired effect
  • - came to this forum and searched some more; climbed to the house roof. Poured water into every single plumbing vent until I was satisfied that none of them were filling up (none of them did that I saw - at all). No desired effect through.
  • - went to Lowes; bought a 20 feet plumber's snake / auger. Shoved it into the shower drain, until it was all in, hoping to find some pipe monsters. Nope, found nothing. Did not get a desired effect either...

Now - here is how it looks down the drain just after the shower (while it is still stinking actually); I understand that some soap scum is expected to be in there, but I find it a bit strange that the water seems as ditry and foamy as it is; could this mean it is backing up from somewhere? Hmmm:



I have also verified that the water in the shower drain does NOT drain completely away, so I do not think that it is leaking into the foundation or under it, as I'd expect the water level to lower over time, especially if nobody is using a shower for hours... but that does not seem to be the case. I am also unable to hear some "gurgling" sounds, but as the problem happens while in a shower - I guess it's possible I miss it.

At this point, the only other thing that I can think of is to open this up and see what I find; it is on the external wall outside of my bathroom. I expect that this is the place where you can access sewage plumbing in case there are major blockages. Note that I do not seem to have a drain issue anywhere in the house:



Any ideas?
 
  #2  
Old 05-09-10, 11:08 AM
L
Member
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arlington, WA
Posts: 9,238
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Upvote on 1 Post
The water sitting in the trap should be clear after taking a shower. The first picture seems to show a wad of scum sitting in the trap. You have to get that out of there!

Either a piece of wire with a hook bent on the end of it and pull the wad out, or very hot water (boil a quart or two on the stove) and pour that down the drain to wash it on down.

DO NOT use anything TOO caustic in the drain!! Remember, that whatever you pour down the drain is going to end up in your muni waste water system or your septic tank!
 
  #3  
Old 05-10-10, 03:52 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Frisco, TX
Posts: 88
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Well, but that's exactly the thing...

If I just pour let's say a gallon of water under there - then the water is clear. If I let the shower run for a minute - it is still clear. If I take a shower (meaning shower running for longer period of time) - then I see the scum... and the auger did not get even a single hair out?

Still - I am going to go try it again. Hey - all I can lose is a stinky shower!

Would going from the outside to the white pipe do anything? Any chance that is related?
 
  #4  
Old 05-10-10, 04:33 PM
dkpbxman's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: NYS
Posts: 167
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Are you sure the smell is coming from the drain?

Maybe a bad wax ring under the toilet? or a dry trap under the sink?
 
  #5  
Old 05-10-10, 06:29 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Frisco, TX
Posts: 88
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by dkpbxman View Post
Are you sure the smell is coming from the drain?

Maybe a bad wax ring under the toilet? or a dry trap under the sink?
Thanks for trying to help! Let me address your questions:

- I am 99% sure it is coming from the drain; I just took a shower, after putting the 20 feet snake/auger in there several times, turning for qhite a while as it was all in to stirr up as much as possible. The snake did not bring up anything, literally. No hairy pipe monsters...

As I take a shower, after a few minutes, the smell comes quite suddenly and it is the strongest in the shower. I stopped the shower and kneeled down to take a whiff and let me just say that I think this is the epicenter.

I then waited for a few minutes, then let the shower run for 10 seconds and the smell is gone.

Is this scenario possible: could I have some sort of stoppage in the pipe somewhere "downstream" of about 20 feet, and me taking a shower stirs up the nasty stuff which then backs up to the drain? The only problem with that theory is that then I'd expect the drain to overflow but that never seems to happen hmmm...

- I do not think the toilet has anything to do with it; I got down on all 4 and sniffed all around it - nothing...

- I also just confirmed it is not the traps under both sinks; took the U traps (is that how they are called?) off in fact, cleaned them out and for a good measure put the auger/snake into those pipes too just because I can. No pipe monsters and nothing better. The traps were full as I was taking them off.

"Stubborn" - yeah, I think I was right when I was describing it... I wonder if I should maybe try one of those air pressure drain unblockers. Close as many drains as I can around the house, put it on the shower drain, yell "fire in the hole" and let it rip? Something will move somewhere?
 
  #6  
Old 05-16-10, 05:35 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Frisco, TX
Posts: 88
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Hah... I wanted to share what I discovered; mind you that is after I tried everything else: bought a 50 ft snake, snaked all roof vents, snaked both external cleanouts, used enzymes etc etc...

Our shower door is an aluminum frame type. The bottom part of the frame (under the door) has some holes for water to come in. And 3 holes (on the shower side) for water to go out.

Well, the 3 holes got clogged. I never thought to clean this out I guess... when I cleaned one of those with a toothpick, a bunch of water that was sitting on the bottom shower frame part started gushing out, stinking fiercely. I mean INTENSE! Then some bugger-like stuff started coming out too... I know I am giving you good detail here.

Anyway, I cleaned out all 3 holes. Took out a part of glass rubber "insulation" on the bottom so I was able to pour more water in there. After about 10 minutes of pouring hot water in there, buggers finally stopped coming out and the whole place smells much better! I rinsed it off with a mind bleach solution.

What I figured is that as we'd take a shower, the bottom shower door "ledge" would overflow from water draining along the door. The nasty stinky stuff would start seeping out little by little, causing shower (and shower floor and drain) to stink.

Well, at least I know now that all my vents are very clean! I am feeling good about this; it was almost therapeutic to find the source of stench.

I yet have to take a shower but this was definitely a part of it so I wanted to share!
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: