Shower drain stinks after 4 minutes of use.

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  #1  
Old 06-08-19, 12:19 PM
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Shower drain stinks after 4 minutes of use.

Hello and thanks for reading this post.

I have been living in my house for 5 years now and over the past few months the shower has developed a bad sulfur type smell. My wife describes it as the same smell you would associate with a hair salon but much more potent. This has been getting progressively worse over the past 6 months.

I checked all of the vents on the roof, snaked out the shower drain with a 50 foot snake, cleaned the p trap, and poured every possible deodorizer down the drain I could find. The smell hits about 4 minutes into the shower. There is no odor unless the water running. The p trap seems to be pitched properly and functioning as it should. I was planning on replacing the p trap but after ripping up my basement ceiling and removing the insulation I don't see any problems with the p trap.

I was wondering if anyone on this forum has any other suggestion? I have been researching and following internet guides for this situation since December.

Thanks for your help.

Vincent
 
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  #2  
Old 06-08-19, 12:44 PM
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It sounds like you have investigated the drain pretty well. How about the water? Are you on a well or city water?
 
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Old 06-08-19, 12:59 PM
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There is no odor unless the water running.
I agree. Focus on the hot water supply.
 
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Old 06-08-19, 03:41 PM
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If it only smells when using the shower, look to the supply side. If it smells continually even after the shower, I would look to something like the toilet sucking the water out of the trap and leaving you with an open dry drain to the sewer. That would indicate a vent problem.
 
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Old 06-08-19, 05:12 PM
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I seem to go with what Czizzi is thinking. Any recent remodeling? Any sink or bathroom add-ons in the past year or so?
 
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Old 06-08-19, 08:03 PM
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Wow. Thanks to all of you for getting back to me. I should have mentioned that we have 3 bathrooms and this is only happening in the master bathroom.
Yes it was an add on 10 years ago to the overall house but the entire master bedroom/bathroom was added at that time. The puzzling thing is we have lived in the house for 5 years and this has only been happening in the past 6 months.
 
  #7  
Old 06-08-19, 08:37 PM
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Question.

If the toilet is sucking the water out of the trap why would the trap fill back up as soon as we turn on the shower?

Something else to add to this issue... My wife and I both took showers tonight and the stench did not show up. Weird.. but to Czizzi's point we did not flush the toilet before hand,

I will test the toilet/p-trap hypotenuse tomorrow. Thanks again.
 
  #8  
Old 06-10-19, 10:19 AM
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Okay well. I did do some tests over the weekend based on the recommendations.
It's definitely not the water supply. The funk is coming from the drain for sure.

I think it has to be a venting problem. We have 2 shower head in that shower and one has more water volume than the other. The one with the lower water volumes seems to produce more of the odor. The toilet does not drain the trap but the water does move up and down slightly when the toilet is flushed.

One thing that seems to work is if I clog up the drain for a minute (with my foot) or so the odor stops and then let the water go and the odor does not come back.

I am wondering if I need to use a pipe camera to inspect the vents or drain pipes.
 
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Old 06-10-19, 10:39 AM
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The trap creates a seal against sewer gases. If there is a vent problem, for the water in the shower to drain, it may be pulling air in at the trap which breaks the seal. I would stop up the drain with a rag, fill the shower with several inches of water and then pull the stopper and see what happens. If it gurgles when draining, you have a vent problem, if it drains normally, then we look elsewhere.
 
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Old 06-10-19, 11:02 AM
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Question - Are you on municipal water or on a private well?
Sometimes private wells will eventually hit a layer of water with a high sulfur content.
If so, the shower is where the smell is really noticeable, because you need a lot of water and a lot of surface area.

Question - is the odor coming from the shower drain, sink drain, or toilet trap?
The next time you shower, close the sink stopper and push a wet washcloth into the overflow. Spread a wet washcloth over the shower drain before you shower. That forces air to be routed through the vent stack. Water in the shower usually gets about 1" deep and then drips through the washcloth and down the drain, but watch for overflow.
Do you still have the sulpher smell with sink and shower drains blocked?
 
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Old 06-11-19, 12:47 PM
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We are on municipal water.

Question 2. I followed your directions above and there was no sulfur smell with the sink and shower drains blocked.
 
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Old 06-11-19, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by vvsaid
Question 2. I followed your directions above and there was no sulfur smell with the sink and shower drains blocked.
I'm thinking there may be roots slowing the flow in the lateral pipe heading out to the main sewer.

When you flush the toilet, it "drops" a slug of water of significant weight quickly down the pipes. You have a similar "high volume of water all at once" situation with dishwashers and clothes washers. My guess is that your vent is working fine and those slugs of water are moving with sufficient force to push air ahead of them down the pipe, through any roots, and out into the sewer.

In contrast, water trickling down the pipes during a shower doesn't push the roots out of the way, the lateral fills up with water, displacing the stinky air which burps up through the shower drain. Eventually the water accumulates to a sufficient height that it pushes through the roots.

Quick test, when no water has been run for a while, go down to the basement and tap on the shower drain line and the big sewer lateral; they hould sound "hollow".
Next time somebody is in the shower for a few minutes, tap on the line and sewer lateral, they should NOT sound "full"...
 
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Old 06-11-19, 07:57 PM
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Okay. Tomorrow I am getting a pipe inspection camera and checking this out once in for all. I will check both the shower drain line and the big sewer lateral as you suggested and let you know what I find. There are no trees in my front yard but I guess that doesn't mean there are no roots.

Thanks again for your time and help and I will back soon.
 
  #14  
Old 06-11-19, 09:46 PM
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Is it a 2" p-trap?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
  #15  
Old 06-12-19, 10:10 AM
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Try and get one with a small trolley affair to keep it off the base of the pipe. I have a cheapo USB one that gives good pics but as soon as I put it into a garden drain pipe the lens got covered in mud. I need to get it off the ground for it to be any use. Yours is sewer so maybe there won't be mud there.........could be bog roll down there though? Maybe you can rent a proper camera that the pro's use?
 
  #16  
Old 06-13-19, 03:50 PM
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Yes. It is a 2" p trap........
 
  #17  
Old 06-17-19, 11:42 AM
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Update. Over the weekend I used an endoscope to check the drain pipe for the shower and the main sewage line to the street. Both pipes are completely unobstructed and clean of any debris or roots. At least 50 feet worth.

So I went back on the roof to check the vents once again because even though I used a 50 foot snake to check it before I wanted to make sure. On 2 of the 3 vents I found a blockage. You can see the images attached. This about 25 feet from the top of the roof vent and as you can see in 1 of the images there is a stick in there.

So I tried something I do not recommend but it worked temporarily. About 10 years ago I built a potato launcher for my kids. We've gotten a lot of good use out of it. More for getting frizz-bees and other items out of tree or making a rope swing but all and all very useful. So I pump 40 psi into the launcher and closed the sink, tub and blocked the overflow holes while I shot high pressured air into the shower drain. That cleared the trap and opened up the clog on the vent enough for the stench to get out. I know it's crazy but I was desperate. (my wife was ready to sell the house).

I still need to figure out how to get the crap out of the vent 25 feet from the top of my roof. Any suggestions?

Also can I put a u shaped pipe on the vents so this doesn't happen again?

Thanks for all of the help and suggestions here. It's very much appreciated.

Regards,
Vinny
 
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  #18  
Old 06-17-19, 03:20 PM
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I'm no expert, but I wonder if putting some RidX down the pipe would decompose the material. Or you could flush it with a hose.
 
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