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Old 06-01-2010, 04:14 PM   #1
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No sewer gas smell from open drain


So I accidentally left my main drain line open last evening. It is a 3inch pipe straight into the ground. The odd thing is that there is not even the slightest hint of sewer gas coming from the pipe. I literally stuck my nose in the pipe opening and took a huge deep breath. In fact, later in the evening, there was a light rain and the air coming from the pipe smelled like fresh sping air. Ya know, that smell just before it rains where you just want to breath all you can. Anyway, Im still going to seal my drain, I just thought it was odd. There really isnt a question in here, more of a "just because you cant smell it doesnt mean its not sealed, kinda thing.

Shane

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Old 06-01-2010, 05:25 PM   #2
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No sewer gas smell from open drain


Do your roof gutters tie into the municipal waste system. This is something they used to do in larger municipalities until they discovered the rain water from the roofs overwhelmed the sewage systems.

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Old 06-01-2010, 05:44 PM   #3
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No sewer gas smell from open drain


No, they sure dont. None of my neighbors do that I know of either. I think my *&%^ just doesnt stink.

Shane
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:29 PM   #4
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No sewer gas smell from open drain


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It is a 3inch pipe straight into the ground., there was a light rain and the air coming from the pipe smelled like fresh sping air. Ya know, that smell just before it rains where you just want to breath all you can.
I don't doubt that your drain smells like fresh rain water, especially if it's a floor drain. Chances are good that this drain is connected to storm drains. Storm drains and sanitary sewer drains are different animals. The problem is that in some municipalities they are interconnected due to new housing development being added to older systems.

I don't know the age of your home or it's location. Do you know if this drain of which you speak has a "P" Trap? That will help indicate it's original intention. If I'm not mistaken, most floor drains in older homes did not use a trap for storm drains unless they were in a low lying area prone to flooding and/or high ground water tables. In which case there will be other indicators that this drain was either for sanitary or storm purposes, such as an anti-backflow valve (depending on the date of installation).

Evidently, since you are in the process of capping this drain, you have another drain, or another pipe that acts as the sanitary drain system t.o your residence. If this is true, then it gives even more credence to the theory that the drain in question was originally intended for run-off.

Again, I want to stress that I don't know your specific circumstance, and I don't doubt that your observances are in fact correct. I just want to point out that there may be a reason your drain smells like fresh rain water...right now.
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Old 06-01-2010, 10:36 PM   #5
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No sewer gas smell from open drain


I experienced something similar with our house. It is a two story home on a slab. When I replaced the downstairs toilet I used a rag to plug the drain temporarily because of the smell.
I had to pull the upstairs toilet twice (messed up the wax ring the first time). Never noticed any smell either time. We have a septic tank and well.

No idea why.
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Old 06-02-2010, 09:43 AM   #6
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No sewer gas smell from open drain


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Originally Posted by fabrk8r View Post
I don't doubt that your drain smells like fresh rain water, especially if it's a floor drain. Chances are good that this drain is connected to storm drains. Storm drains and sanitary sewer drains are different animals. The problem is that in some municipalities they are interconnected due to new housing development being added to older systems.

I don't know the age of your home or it's location. Do you know if this drain of which you speak has a "P" Trap? That will help indicate it's original intention. If I'm not mistaken, most floor drains in older homes did not use a trap for storm drains unless they were in a low lying area prone to flooding and/or high ground water tables. In which case there will be other indicators that this drain was either for sanitary or storm purposes, such as an anti-backflow valve (depending on the date of installation).

Evidently, since you are in the process of capping this drain, you have another drain, or another pipe that acts as the sanitary drain system t.o your residence. If this is true, then it gives even more credence to the theory that the drain in question was originally intended for run-off.

Again, I want to stress that I don't know your specific circumstance, and I don't doubt that your observances are in fact correct. I just want to point out that there may be a reason your drain smells like fresh rain water...right now.
Well, no, this is the main drain line/roof vent to my house. All of the toilets, sinks and showers drain into this line. My house is a 1945 house in an old community. Is it possible that sewer gas is just too heavy to reach the second story of my house?
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Old 06-02-2010, 10:04 AM   #7
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No sewer gas smell from open drain


I'm sorry, I thought your original post meant you were going to seal off a floor drain.

There should be a trap under the floor if this is your sanitary drain line. As long as that trap is working the way it is intended there will be no odor.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:33 PM   #8
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No sewer gas smell from open drain


Vents not only exhaust smelly air out the roof of your house, they also intake fresh air from outside. All plumbing vents that extend above the roof also serve as a vent for the entire underground sewer system. What was probably happening the moment you stuck your nose in the pipe, was a flow of fresh outside air flowing down the vent into the underground network of sewer piping. Depending on where you house is located on the overall layout of the entire neighborhood sewer system, your roof vent might be serving more as an air "intake" to the underground sewer system than as an exhaust, which if you go several blocks away and smell their vent, you will probably get a face full of stink. Houses located at the beginning of sewer mains will usually intake more air than exhaust since a majority of the water entering the system is downstream of your house, so therefor when the water drains down the line, it will pull air behind it, those creating a negative pressure drawing air into the system from roof vents.
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:02 PM   #9
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No sewer gas smell from open drain


Does that mean I dont need P traps?
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:16 PM   #10
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No sewer gas smell from open drain


I wish I had your sewage line last September when I was digging mine up... The smell was relentless

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