Laundry room smells like sewer after a wash

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Old 09-14-11, 02:05 PM
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Laundry room smells like sewer after a wash

Lately our laundryroom stinks like sewer when we run the washer, not always but once in a while. Laundryroom is located in the second floor. Then if I go down to the sump area in the basement, it smells the same like sewer. I assume I need to check the plumbing upstairs.

What would be the proper way to go about detecting and possibly cleaning out the culprit? FYI, our water is fine.
 
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Old 09-14-11, 03:28 PM
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You need to tell us a whole lot more about your set-up. Since the basement smells when the laundry room smells I have to ask if the basement smells ONLY when the laundry room smells?

Does the washing machine drain to the sewer or to the sump? Are you on a municipal sewer system or a septic tank? Is there a trap in the drain from the washing machine? Is the sump for groundwater removal? Where does the sump drain to and is it a pumped system?
 
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Old 09-14-11, 04:45 PM
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Are you on city water supply (chlorinated), or private well supply?

What would be the proper way to go about detecting and possibly cleaning out the culprit?
I might first suspect the water that remains in the pump chamber of the washin' machine of 'turning'... do you notice it generally on the FIRST load only?
 
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Old 09-14-11, 09:19 PM
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Just to also eliminate a possible machine issue...is your machine an old style top load, or fairly new front load? The new style can have issues if they are not maintained and operated per the manual which most people never bother to read. Many of these newer machines even after a few months or even weeks can start to cause issues if maintenance has not be performed, or the operating requirements were not met, and for example even if the load door is kept closed when not in use, problems can occurr. Just wanted to ensure that the issue truly is likely a plumbing issue rather than the other.
 
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Old 09-15-11, 07:29 AM
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Thank you all for your feedback. Just to explain the setup:

1) When the laundry room stinks up, not only the sump room in the basement but the bathroom next to the laundry smells also.
2) Washing machine drains to the sewer line which is right next to the sump in the basement.
3) No septic/well water. Municipal sewer/city water.
4) Sump is for groundwater removal by pump. Sump drains to outside of the house into another piping in the ground which I assume goes right into the sewer.
5) Trap in the drain: I'm not sure because it's hidden in the back of the machines.
6) Washer is front loading, approximately 3yrs old. I better check the manual for maintenance, how careless of me!
7) I need to check if it happens after the first load only or two.

Thank you all once again.
 
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Old 09-15-11, 08:26 AM
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The only way you would get smell is if the traps are being siphoned out. Why would this happen?

I can only guess but I would think part of it may be that the sump pit may be tied to the sewer. This is illegal as far as I know. These would not be normally trapped either. So you would have sewer gas coming right out the sump pit.

Now the other ting I can say is more then often in my experience partial blockages in sewer lines cause siponage of traps. Have you ever had a clogged toilet but did not realize it? Then when you went to the toilet the water in the bowl was empty?

And being that you are useing a higher water volume appliance with a partial blockage in the line, the sewage may be coming back into the sump pit line.

One thing may not be related to the other. It may seem like the washer is the cause when in reality its what I describe.

My advice. Plumb the pit to code, and have your lines cleared and/or inspected with a camera.

I say the above based on my experience with issues like this.

Sewer gas can cause sickness and even death!!!

Mike NJ
 

Last edited by lawrosa; 09-15-11 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 09-15-11, 10:01 AM
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I agree with all that Mike wrote and I'll ask another question. Have you had any groundwater problems lately and/or do you know if the smell can be related to the operation of the sump pump?

It IS possible that your sump pump is unlawfully connected to the sanitary sewer and when it runs it is siphoning the traps in the laundry and bathroom along with not being trapped itself.

Perhaps some pictures of the piping in the basement in the vicinity of the sump pump would help. Pictures need to be first uploaded to a photo hosting site and then the public URL posted here.
 
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