Sulfer Smell in Bathroom Faucet

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Old 05-19-15, 10:54 PM
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Sulfer Smell in Bathroom Faucet

One of my bathroom sink started to smell like sulfer when the faucet is turned on. The smell doesn't appear to be in the water, but it seems to begin when the faucet is turned on. The smell lasts about 10-15 seconds. Another oddity is that it doesn't happen all the time, but perhaps 60% of the time. I live in a condo unit that's upstairs. All piping on the faucet appears to be in good condition, including the P-trap, which I'm starting to learn about.

I have not had the same experience in my second bathroom or the kitchen.

What could be causing this smell and what can I do to fix it?
 
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Old 05-20-15, 03:52 AM
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It is odd that it would happen in one faucet, and not in all. It could be rotting hair caught in your sink prior to the ptrap, that, when wet, it will emit an odor. You can buy an inexpensive reverse barb tool from the home stores that will allow you to run it down the sink drain and pull out hair masses with ease. Mostly the hair is hanging up on the trip mechanism of the sink and will remain there until it is removed or it completely rots away. Not a nice thing, but necessary.
 
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Old 05-20-15, 06:39 AM
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Try a little experiment. When you use that or any other faucet in the house turn it on either cold only or hot only and smell for the smell. Try to determine if you are getting the smell from both the hot and cold or just one. Also, where is the problem faucet located in relation to your water heater?

If it's only the hot it could be a bacteria in your water heater. It's not harmful but there are some bacteria that can eat the anode rod ad produce a rotten egg odor. It's often made worse if the water is softened.
 
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Old 05-20-15, 04:17 PM
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@chander: I'll look into that, but I don't think it's clogged hair because I've blocked the sink to test and even when the water isn't going down it smells. I'd expect the running water to take a while to reach the p-trap (when the sink drain is blocked)

@Pilot Dane: It occurs regardless of hot or cold water. The water heater is centrally located from the kitchen and the two bathrooms. It's approximately 16ft away from the problem faucet.

Additional Info: It's a Mohen faucet and I've read that because they use plastic piping, which can be the cause. Any truth to that? Here's a photo of my faucet:

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Old 05-20-15, 04:21 PM
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I've never heard of plastic being the cause of a sulfur smell. If anything it's metals that can sometimes be food for bacteria and make odd smells.

Give a good look for water leaking from under the toilet and smell around it. If it's wax seal is leaking it could be the source of the smell.
 
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Old 05-21-15, 09:30 PM
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I checked thoroughly, but the wax seal around the toilet seems to be fine. Any other thoughts? Could it have something to do with the faucet itself?
 
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Old 05-22-15, 04:43 AM
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One more stab in the dark. Is there an unused shower or tub, or even a floor drain in the room that could have the ptrap dried up and allowing sewer gasses in? Smell really good at the round overflow on the sink, then turn the water on and smell.
 
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Old 05-30-15, 01:57 PM
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Unfortunately, not. Everything in the unit is used. I took a really good sniff on the sink overflow drain and no rotten egg smell there. I also plugged the drain and filled the sink with water and let the excess water go down the overflow drain, but that didn't do anything. The smell is still there.

What else can I try?
 
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Old 05-30-15, 02:24 PM
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I don't have a clue and the suggestions that others have posted would have been mine as well. Please do let us know if you ever find the source of the smell.
 
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Old 05-30-15, 06:08 PM
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Ok, I may have been wrong about my previous assumptions. I tried some new experiments today, which were:

1) I put water in a bowl from the kitchen and poured it down the overflow drain of the bathroom sink, but it didn't trigger any smell.

2) I then poured the water (from the kitchen) directly into the sink, and sure enough, there was a rotten egg smell.

So, chandler may have been right all along. It's something inside the outgoing drain that's causing the problem. Now, since I don't have easy access to the p-trap to remove it, is there any type of chemicals that I can pour down the sink that may resolve the issue? In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out what this reverse barb tool is that chandler suggested.

Thanks.
 
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Old 05-30-15, 07:55 PM
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$3 at big orange BrassCraft, Zip-It Bath and Sink Hair Snare, BC00400 at The Home Depot - Tablet

Why don't you have access to your ptrap?
 
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Old 05-31-15, 07:49 PM
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It's not that I don't have access to the Ptrap, but I don't have easy access. The sink is attached to the floor and there's very limited space to work with. See the photos. I also picked up the item you mentioned and a few extras. I am unable to remove the stopper (also due to limited access), but manged to get the Zipit tool inside, but when I pulled it out, it had little hair/debris after several attempts. I'm not sure how much would be needed to trigger such a problem. So far I'm unable to get either of the other two tools inside unless I figure out a way to remove the stopper.

Any thoughts? Any chemicals that might do the trick? Thanks.

Sink:
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Ptrap:
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Last edited by mcmuney; 05-31-15 at 08:04 PM.
  #13  
Old 06-01-15, 04:43 AM
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NO chemicals. You will eat through your metal piping. Undo the wing nut on picture 3 and pull out the rod. The stopper will pull up freely, then. You can run the tool down the trap. You will need to align the stopper's flange hole with the rod when you reinstall it for proper operation.
 
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Old 06-06-15, 04:04 PM
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I was saving this for this weekend project and removed the stopper using your instructions, which was pretty simple (thanks!). Then, I used all 3 tools and got way inside, but nothing. It was clean. However, when I would pull out the zipit tool, I'd notice some brown color dirty water residue (in the form of water stuck in the corners of the edges).

After investigating further, I noticed 3 openings on the side where the water goes down (right underneath where the stopper shuts the drain). My phone is acting up and can't seem to email a photo to myself, so I'm including this one that I found online. I'm referring to the highlighted area in yellow. When I look straight down the drain, I see 3 such openings and inside them I noticed some beige/brown chalk/clay like material. I tried to get it out, but very difficult. Still trying as I write this. When I smell the bits and pieces that I was able to extract, it does have a bad odor, but not the rotten egg smell though.

Do you know what this material could be? And could this be the cause since there is no hair that's clogged? Are these 3 openings normal? What purpose does it serve?

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Last edited by mcmuney; 06-06-15 at 04:26 PM.
  #15  
Old 06-07-15, 11:15 PM
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So even after a thorough clean out and removal of most of the questionable substance (shown on the last photo), the problem still persists
 
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Old 06-08-15, 03:53 AM
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I don't understand your drain set up at all. What is the wooden or stone piece at the opening in the drain overflow? There seems to be a gap between the tailpiece and the drain. Is that right? Can water fall between the two? I would recommend taking the tailpiece and drain apart, cleaning it as well as the ptrap to see if there is any errant hair or other particles being trapped an staying wet.
 
 

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