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Old 09-14-2006, 12:26 PM   #1
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Odd Bathroom Odors


I am sure I will get a hard time for this one, but here goes. My main bathroom seems to be developing a "sewer" smell. It's not really strong but everytime you go in it it smells like someone just recently used it. At first I thought that was what was causing it but that is not the case.
I am not sure what other details you guys will need to help me find the culprit but please let me know. The shower in the bathroom is used very rarely because the walls are leaking and I do not have the cash for a full remodel at the moment. Also, the house was built in 1985.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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Old 09-14-2006, 02:22 PM   #2
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Odd Bathroom Odors


Make sure the traps have water in them, sink and shower traps.

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Old 09-14-2006, 02:29 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Ron The Plumber View Post
Make sure the traps have water in them, sink and shower traps.

The reason is if the water in the trap dries out, it can no longer seal out sewer odors. Pour some water down each drain to refill the trap.
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Old 09-15-2006, 09:50 AM   #4
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The sink is still used on a daily basis, and while we don't use the shower, the wife still uses the bath at least once a week. Wouldn't that be enough to keep the the traps from drying out??
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Old 09-15-2006, 02:19 PM   #5
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Odd Bathroom Odors


Should be enough to keep water in it, maybe the seal on the bottom of toilet is bad, if it is, then there is the problem.
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Old 09-15-2006, 03:23 PM   #6
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Would there be any other tell tale signs that the seal on the bottom of the toilet is bad?
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Old 09-15-2006, 03:39 PM   #7
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Odd Bathroom Odors


Unless the entire base of the toilet is sealed all around against the floor with caulk, you may be able to detect if it's leaking.
Is the toilet over a basement or crawlspace? If it is, you should be able to see if the wax ring seal is leaking from underneath.
If the toilet seal isn't leaking, you may have a partially clogged vent pipe, which means that you need to go up ont he roof above that bathroom and check the top of the vent pipe for leaves, debris, etc., clean it out, and flush it down with a water hose sprayer.
Good Luck!
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Old 09-15-2006, 11:40 PM   #8
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Is the house built on a crawlspace, basement or slab?
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Old 09-16-2006, 08:26 AM   #9
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Your comment that the bathroom smells "like it was recently used" would make me think wax seal on the toilet is broken. Urine smell is different than sewer gas smell. For less than $10 and about an hours work, you can change the wax seal and bolts out (I always replace the bolts) and know that it is no longer the problem. You can also try pouring a 1 part bleach and 4 part water mixture down each drain to kill any bacteria that MAY be the problem.
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Old 09-17-2006, 07:51 AM   #10
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The house is built on a slab, so no way to tell if anything is leaking from underneath. All the grout lines in the tile right around the base look dry...so today I'm gonna get up on the roof and check the vent. I really appreciate all the suggestions.
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Old 09-17-2006, 09:36 AM   #11
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If you are unable to narrow down the culprit after all these checks, there is one more definitive troubleshooting step that can be taken. Many plumbers that do a lot of sewer and drain cleaning have a sort of "fog machine" that they can pump harmless smoke into the DWV system. This will help declare every leak in the system, and particularly larger ones that are causing your odor issue.

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