Weird smell under bathroom sink

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Old 01-29-14, 03:16 PM
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Weird smell under bathroom sink

A little over a week ago, I left one of the sinks in our bathroom running at a slow flow to prevent freezing. We have a double vanity and tended to use one and neglect the other (until now after reading this forum). We also ran some water in the tub as a back-up in case the did freeze. After a few days, I noticed a smell that I thought was coming from the water in the tub. I let it out and noticed it was still there. I don't know what's going on, but it's been stressing me.

Our house is 4 years old and we live in NC.
I've put peroxide and baking soda down the drains (twice) and bleach, on a different day. The smell goes and comes and decreases with the weather temp. It also moves between the vanities underneath. I'm thinking maybe a leak under the house? Any other ideas? I haven't checked the trap under the sink yet.

My hubby's a trucker, so I have to wait until he gets home in a few days to check on the leak.

Thank you so much
 
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Old 01-29-14, 05:23 PM
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Is the house on a slab or a foundation with a cellar or crawl space? I don't see why running the water would cause a smell. Fill a glass with water & let it set for a day or two. See if it smells.
 
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Old 01-29-14, 06:43 PM
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Yes, we have a crawl space. It's not the water itself that smells. The smell started after one night of running water all night in a sink I rarely use. I remember reading about algae in the drain.
 
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Old 01-30-14, 04:14 AM
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I would go under the house (or send hubby when he gets home) to look for a leak. It's possible you've had the leak for a while but when the sink is only used intermittently it has more chance to dry out. When a line is left running there is water in the drain line continuously which can allow more to leak out.
 
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Old 01-30-14, 07:06 AM
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Thank you! We will certainly do that :-)
 
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Old 01-30-14, 10:17 AM
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Because it started after running the water, this may not be the issue - but it's an easy thing to chec.

Look down each drain, you should see some standing water. The trap keeps some water in it to prevent sewer gasses from coming back up through the drains. If something isn't plumbed right or clogged, you could end up having that trap water sucked out, allowing the gases to come up through the drains.

Do you ever hear gurgling out of other drains when running the water?
 
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Old 01-30-14, 02:48 PM
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Thank you. Do I check the drains only in that one bathroom or the whole house? Sorry, I'm clueless when it comes to this kind of stuff, but I want to learn. I have been noticing that smell in the laundry room, but the smell is very faint and doesn't stick around long. We have a sink in there too. Thanks!
 
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Old 01-30-14, 02:51 PM
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Oh, I haven't been hearing any gurgling.
 
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Old 01-30-14, 03:07 PM
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We have those stoppers that don't come out unless you get down under the sink and removed them. Is there any other way to check? We can still do that, I just wanted to see if there a simpler way first. Thanks
 
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Old 01-30-14, 04:14 PM
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If the "u" or "j" shaped pipe under your sink is white plastic, you may be able to loosen it with your hands. If you do, and after you turn it a little water comes out, then you have water in the tube to prevent smells coming up the tube. Just tighten it back up. If you keep turning it and no water comes out, disconnect it. The curved part at the bottom should be full of water. If not, you found your problem. Post back for help if that's the situation.
 
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Old 01-30-14, 05:08 PM
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I just checked and some water did come out. Thanks for all of your help! :-) Any other ideas?
 
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Old 01-30-14, 05:12 PM
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I couldn't untwist it for some reason this time. Its too tight now and I didn't even twist it on that tightly.
 

Last edited by eLowdermilk; 01-30-14 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 01-30-14, 05:23 PM
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Could a stuck open air admittance valve cause a odor from past the P-trap? Unlikely she has an AAV but thought I'd throw it out there.
 
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Old 01-30-14, 05:47 PM
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I hope this helps.
 
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Old 01-30-14, 07:08 PM
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I swear it was a wild guess but dang there is the AAV (Studor valve) in the second picture. See if the smell is coming from there.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 01-30-14 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 01-30-14, 07:35 PM
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Good photos. Just goes to show how valuable photos are in figuring things out. I think ray2047 is on the right track, although I must confess I'd never heard of an AAV valve before tonight. I just watched a Youtube video about it (AAV Valve Death By Plumbing Code Part 1 - YouTube) and it could definitely be the source of the smell. I would try to fix it by unscrewing the top, then cleaning out the part that comes off, as well as the seat for the part. But, I've never done this before. You may have to replace it.

Looking at your top photo, it doesn't look like the plastic piece is screwed on the metal piece right. Run some water (with a bowl below in case it leaks) and see if the joint leaks. If so, you'll need to get it unscrewed again so you can try to screw it straight on. It looks crooked to me. Don't force it. Focus on getting it lined up straight and it should screw on easily. If you force it you will strip the treads and you'll have to replace parts.
 
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Old 01-30-14, 10:15 PM
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I remember reading about an AAV, so that's why I took a pic :-) It's cool actually knowing what it is now! I read that smells could come from it, so I unscrewed it a few days ago and it smelled fine. I didn't check the seat of it, though.
 
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