Sewer/Gas smell in the bathroom after going the bathroom

Old 05-09-14, 06:50 AM
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Sewer/Gas smell in the bathroom after going the bathroom


I am new to septic. Purchased a house built in '79 in November and quickly had septic issue (found out the main pipe exiting the house was clogged). After having that snaked out things worked fine (that was back in December I had that done). House had sat open for about a year so basically no water had been run consisently so gunk had built up.

Plumber advised using Bio Clean (which is supposed to provide almost a lubrication on the pipes) monthly which I do as well the Zep pouches (from Home Depot).

About 2 months ago I noticed that everytime we go to the bathroom (number 2) it immediately releases a terrible gas smell (like worse than what it should smell for going to the bathroom Did research and learned that maybe my P traps were dry (so have run all water) and that has not fixed the problem (not to mention the smell comes from the two bathrooms we use most. If a trap is dry say upstairs and we only use te downstairs bathroom, and the downstairs bathroom smells, would it matter that , that trap is dry?

Looking for any advise or thoughts on the smell?? Again only when we go to the bathroom (so it seems like our waste is immediately reacting with the waste so I feel like it is almost backing up)? I opened up the septic tank and had my wife run water and from what I hear everything sounds to be draining right.

Also ready about potentially the venting not be correct but not really sure how to check that? Think the venting pipe is on the roof (doesn't have any branches or anything near it) if I am looking at the right pipe....?

Considering buying one of those septic clean out things (like high powered zep pouches but they can be pricey and not sure if they work? Or if that would even fix my problem?) Any advice is apprecaited thanks!!
Old 05-09-14, 08:14 AM
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I am not a believer in wonder chemicals or biologicals you flush. Mother Nature provides everything a septic system needs and I have never seen a benefit to adding more of anything.

I would do some more investigating for the source of the smell but suspect it might be the wax ring that seals the toilet to the drain pipe. It is possible that you have a broken pipe (vent or drain) but since they are located in the walls or under the floor it's harder to get strong or immediate smells.
Old 05-10-14, 05:36 AM
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A clogged vent pipe could cause a "burp" through a sink or shower trap when the toilet is flushed. Or it could suck the water from the trap allowing smells to come through. Have you chugged the vent pipe, or are you using Studor type vents?
Old 05-10-14, 06:08 AM
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When was the last time you had the septic tank pumped? Adding those zep tabs arn not doing you any good I am sure. They break doown the stuff in the tank into smaller particles so it dont settle in the tank and gets out to the leach field..

Anyway , if its not the toilet seal as mentioned, your tank could be full and possible leach field issues.

Having the tank emptied is always the first course of action ...
Old 05-10-14, 07:32 AM
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As a Real Estate Broker, I've sold over a thousand houses in Vermont . . . . and tried to sell many more.

Only once have I encountered what is called an "Internal Vent", which was on a house I listed in the Summer when all the windows were wide open.

When I found a Buyer for it in the Fall, it was closed up tight, and I accompanied the Appraiser to evaluate it for a Mortgage.

When I opened the door, we were greeted by a dense septic odor, and so much methane we could hardly breathe . . . . I'm sure that if either of us had a lit cigarette, the place would have exploded.

Turned out that the place was equipped with an Internal Vent which eliminated the need for another roof penetration, and instead, had a little 2" pipe to the attic which had what I'll call a "flapper" on it which, when the toilet was flushed, opened up and allowed air to enter and break the vacuum. It was made of a resilient rubber or plastic, which was supposed to snap back into a sealed position when the flushing was done . . . . but apparently after a decade of so in the hot attic, the flapper fatigued, and failed to return to its sealed position.

We were able to obtain a replacement flapper, but I spoke to a reputable Master Plumber and he said that even though they may be allowed, he'd never install such device. I subsequently spoke with one of our State Engineers at the Agency responsible for approving new "on-site" waste water disposal systems and potable water supplies, and he says that they consider the Septic System to begin up at the roof line and end at the Leach Field.

Other things can block normal exposed vent pipes that protrude through the roof, like an occasional heavy snowfall and icing up of the vent, or some species of birds that sometimes think that location would be the ideal location to build a nest . . . . regardless of the ramifications for the humans who live inside. A blocked vent will often signal itself first by difficult flushing, (often calling for the assistance of a plunger) . . . . and then some of that burping of fumes that lawrosa speaks of.

I'm not suggesting that the symptoms that fitz is experiencing down in Maryland are due to one of these causes . . . . but it could be; and this is fun to talk about anyway . . . . particularly when you're no longer involved. I always look for a vent pipe these days, a nice high one that extends up and above the eaves. I should carry a Canary with me when going into some of these places.

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