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Thread: Sewer smells

  1. #1
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    Oct 2006
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    Sewer smells

    Got a mystery on my hands and someone probably knows the answer. I started getting a sewer smell in my house the last few days. Being a Home Inspector I can find it, right? I understand the basics of plumbing and first suspected a P trap had lost it's water seal. So I went to the bathtubs and ran water since they are least used fixtures in the house. Assuming the water had evaporated in the P trap. This happened once before so I was sure that was it.

    Didn't fix it.

    So I ran water in all the fixtures just to make sure the P-traps had water in them. Still smell it.

    I have partial basement and 85% of the plumbing is in there. I smell it there and that may be where the smell starts and works into the house. No plumbing leaks and I use the fixtures down there regular too. But I ran water in all them to make sure they were sealed too.

    That didn't work so this morning I crawled under the house. I am thinking a line might have broke in the crawl space. Nope and no leaks or smell there either. Then I Climbed on the roof to check the vents and everything looks good.

    Now I am stumped! The only way I know for a smell from the septic tank to get into the house is though a drain line. Either a broken line or empty P trap and I can't find either. Anyone think of something I missing?
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
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  2. #2
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    ozarks
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    vent might be plugged?
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  3. #3
    The one drain that gets forgotten alot is the floor drain in the utility room in our basement. It has a p-trap too but it's below the concrete floor.
    Ken
    ------



  4. #4
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    Any chance the tank is either over flowing or leaking and seeping into the ground near a foundation vent? How close is the tank to the house?
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  5. #5
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    Todd, I thought of that and that is why I went on the roof to look. If it was clogged I would expect the toilets to empty all the water out. So I am thinking that is not it.

    Ken, no floor drains but that would be a good one to miss and would make total sense.

    Rennie, to far from the house. Plus I would probably smell it outside.

    Smell is not really strong so that is what is making it so hard to tell where it is coming from. I been spraying poly the shop this morning so my fan is going sucking air out. That should pull the smell out and maybe if it comes back and I narrow down where it is starting.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  6. #6
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    Any chance it could be a decaying, dead rodent or something? Or refuse from a live rodent?

  7. #7
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    I don't think so. I should be able to locate that if it was. I went under the house in the crawl space thinking it might be something under there and not in the basement section or inside the house.

    I am really stumped.

    Just went to the shop and fan is going and I smell nothing but the faint smell of the waterproofing I am spraying. So maybe this will remove the smell and if it comes back I figure where it starts.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  8. #8
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    I dont know much, but Ill add my 2 cents.
    Whenever barametric pressure in the atmosphere change, like during a storm, or whatever, sewer gases, and Im not sure which is heavier, the sewer gases, the air....but if theres a chance of them leaking in a tiny crack of a sewer vent, they will be most prominent when the pressure changes.
    I dont think the venting outlet itself will have an odor, it may be somewhere along the line, in the walls, floor, attic?

  9. #9
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    OK, I think I am onto something. Someone mentioned they had seen this happen in the spring when there were high winds. I had another house that every time we had heavy rain you would smell the same thing and sometimes when it was very windy. I had forgotten about that too. That house was built on a slab so I assumed there was a problem with the plumbing since I couldn't see it.

    Now I still don't know why high wind would cause this but it did start the day we had some really strong winds. And since my other house did this I think this is related to the wind. But why it would cause this I still don't understand. But it sort of lines up with what you were saying Allen.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  10. #10
    do not intend to hi-jack this thread but what is the purpose of the vent pipe /
    I've heard different versions for the vent pipe

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