Sewage Smell Coming From Dishwasher and Washing Machine


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Old 07-13-10, 12:56 PM
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Sewage Smell Coming From Dishwasher and Washing Machine

We recently moved, and we have an extremely foul sewage smell coming from our dishwasher and washing machine every time we use it.

I have run bleach and white vinegar through a couple of cycles, but the smell continues. It is weird because when I open the dishwasher during a cycle, the smell doesn't get worse, and it actually smells like the dishwashing detergent I use.

After I cut the dishwasher on, I went outside and sat down on the steps leading up to the porch on the side of the house. I had the door to the house shut. After a few minutes, I could smell the "sewage" smell outside. I don't believe it was coming from the house because the door was shut.

We have the same problem any time we run the washing machine. It is a stackable washer and dryer that is in the bathroom. A gentleman was out to work on the dryer yesterday, and I asked him about the smell in the washer.

He told me that it could be water in the "S pipe". I put vinegar in it and ran a cycle. I didn't smell the odor when I did a load of laundry after that, but I haven't tried it again today.

Is there anything I can do about this without having major plumbing work done? I have read others' posts about foul odors from plumbing, and it seems hopeless.

Thanks for any help you can give.
 
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Old 07-13-10, 01:33 PM
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How is the dishwasher and wash machine hooked up? are they near each other? the term "S pipe " sends a red flag; s-traps are not legal and they can lose their seals easy and cause a smell.

I need to an exact piping lay-out to get an idea of what the problem might be.

You can try sniffing around without anything running and see if you can find a location where you get a smell, more info.
 

Last edited by stickshift; 07-13-10 at 01:39 PM. Reason: removed unnecessary quoting of entire post
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Old 07-13-10, 01:34 PM
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Hi Donna,
Are you on a public sewer system or a private septic tank? As you dump water into a septic tank, if it is draining slowly, then it will fill up a bit forcing out some of the air from on top of the tank.

The dryer guy that blamed the "s" tube or trap would only apply if the trap was not installed correctly, thus open to the sewer system, or is there was old stale water in the trap. But you have been using it so that's not the case. And if the trap was not working, you should have the problem all of the time.

Let us know what type of system you are on and we will do some more thinking.

Bud
 
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Old 07-13-10, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by shacko View Post
How is the dishwasher and wash machine hooked up? are they near each other? the term "S pipe " sends a red flag; s-traps are not legal and they can lose their seals easy and cause a smell.

I need to an exact piping lay-out to get an idea of what the problem might be.

You can try sniffing around without anything running and see if you can find a location where you get a smell, more info.

I am not sure what you meant by "how are they hooked up". They are on opposite sides of the house at opposite ends of the house. After this loads of dishes finishes, I will start sniffing. Thanks.
 
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Old 07-13-10, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Bud9051 View Post
Hi Donna,
Are you on a public sewer system or a private septic tank? As you dump water into a septic tank, if it is draining slowly, then it will fill up a bit forcing out some of the air from on top of the tank.

The dryer guy that blamed the "s" tube or trap would only apply if the trap was not installed correctly, thus open to the sewer system, or is there was old stale water in the trap. But you have been using it so that's not the case. And if the trap was not working, you should have the problem all of the time.

Let us know what type of system you are on and we will do some more thinking.

Bud
We are on public sewer. You said that I "have been using it, so that's not the case". We have been here less than two weeks, and the smell has been present since we got here. Actually, before we moved in I could smell something very foul, and the real estate agent said he didn't smell anything. I have a VERY keen sense of smell. After we got moved in, the smell was worse, and I hadn't run anything yet. A guy came out and looked at the dishwasher looking for the smell. He almost put his hand in putrid water that was left in the bottom of the dishwasher. That standing water led me to believe there may have been a drainage problem before.

When you said that if "the trap was not working, you should have the problem all of the time", did you mean that the stink would be present whether we were running the appliances or not?

Thanks for your help.
 
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Old 07-13-10, 02:03 PM
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"I am not sure what you meant by "how are they hooked up"

I know it may be hard but if you can give an idea of how the piping is run off the wash machine and dishwasher it can help.
 
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Old 07-13-10, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by shacko View Post
"I am not sure what you meant by "how are they hooked up"

I know it may be hard but if you can give an idea of how the piping is run off the wash machine and dishwasher it can help.
Okay, I will try. The diswasher is connected to the garbage disposer, but they are not side by side. There are 2 hoses that run from the dishwasher, through the bottom shelf of the cabinet next to it, and then to the garbage disposer.

On the washer, the pipes run through the wall in the bathroom, and the tech said they run to an "s trap". I think he was just assuming this.

Also, I don't know if this would be pertinent, but when I do a load of laundry, suds come up through the bathroom sink.

Thanks for any help you can give.
 
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Old 07-13-10, 03:01 PM
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Hi again, we are getting there.
How long had the home been empty before you moved in. You said you could smell it when you first arrived. Those traps are supposed to hold a little of the last water that went through and act as a block so sewer gas cannot come back into the house. If they sit for too long with no water being added, the water that was there will evaporate. Every drain in the house has one of these traps, showers, sinks, washing machine, and possibly others. Be sure you have run some water through all of them.

The putrid water in the dishwasher says it certainly sat for at least some time. Once you have flushed some water through all drains, put your nose to the test again to see if the smell returns.

Bud
 
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Old 07-13-10, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Bud9051 View Post
Hi again, we are getting there.
How long had the home been empty before you moved in. You said you could smell it when you first arrived. Those traps are supposed to hold a little of the last water that went through and act as a block so sewer gas cannot come back into the house. If they sit for too long with no water being added, the water that was there will evaporate. Every drain in the house has one of these traps, showers, sinks, washing machine, and possibly others. Be sure you have run some water through all of them.

The putrid water in the dishwasher says it certainly sat for at least some time. Once you have flushed some water through all drains, put your nose to the test again to see if the smell returns.

Bud
We have used every drain in the house multiple times over the last 2 weeks. The house was occupied right up until the day before we moved in. When we first saw it, I didn't look in the dishwasher to see if there were dishes there. I do know that laundry had been done right before we saw it because there were clothes in the dryer.

Is there anything I can pour in the drains or run through the appliances other than bleach or vinegar that will take care of this problem permanently?

Why would I have been able to smell this even outside?

Thanks again.
 
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Old 07-14-10, 02:21 PM
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>>>Also, I don't know if this would be pertinent, but when I do a load of laundry, suds come up through the bathroom sink.
 
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Old 07-14-10, 06:22 PM
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[QUOTE=shacko;1747458]>>>Also, I don't know if this would be pertinent, but when I do a load of laundry, suds come up through the bathroom sink.
 
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Old 07-15-10, 03:09 AM
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Your house will normally pull a lot of its air from that crawl space, warm air exits the upper areas of a home and pulls in replacement air from the lower areas. Definitely a yuck with that down there. But even under normal circumstances, the dust, mold, and such it is an area that should be covered and sealed with a good vapor barrier. Just some food for thought, but here is a link that illustrates what a finished crawl space can look like. Check out photograph 5.
BSI-009: New Light In Crawlspaces — Building Science Information

Glad you found the problem, even though it is a nasty one.
Bud
 
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Old 08-04-10, 07:49 AM
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Follow Up

Hi guys. Thanks again for all of your help with this problem. I am sorry to be so late in following up on what happened with this problem. What would have been great is if I had taken a picture and posted it for all of you who like that kind of thing.

The pipe leading from the kitchen sink to the pipe that leads to the street had disintegrated for the most part. Everything that had been going down the kitchen sink and I suppose the water from the dishwasher was just leaking into the ground - hence the stink.

I can't imagine how the former resident didn't have problems.

Roto Rooter came out and dug up a good bit of area around our shrubbery to replace the pipe. The guys in my family enjoyed watching the bulldozer, but it was painful to see them digging up my yard.

That problem seems to be solved, but there is a new one. Please look at my thread on the new problem and see if you can offer any help.

Thanks.
 
 

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