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cibula11 11-08-2007 08:07 AM

Sewage Smell
Since the temperature has dropped and our heat has kicked on, I have noticed a sewer gas smell coming from our toilet. I noticed that some of the caulking around the base of the toilet has come loose, and used my sniffer to identify where the smell was coming from, so I have recaulked, but can't seem to get every single space.

Apon further inspection, I noticed that the toilet does not have a vent. In the basement there is a "Y" connection piece that would be a vent that is attached to the waste stack, except it just stops there. Last winter we noticed that we had a foul smell in the basement, so I covered the open stack so that there was not sewage smell.

Is the smell I get from the bathroom toilet connected to the vent issue? I think there is way I can add pvc onto the y connection to vent, but I didn't know if that would solve the problem.

I also know that with dryer air some of the water in our p traps could be drying out.

majakdragon 11-08-2007 10:28 AM

That, non-vent will be a problem. Most toilets are installed on a main vent line that goes up and out the roof. Other vents are tied into this line along the way. If the caulk is seperating around the toilet base, I would say you have a bad wax seal. This should be apparent by looking at the floor from the basement. Having the furnace on oftens help dry out the traps in floor drains. These need to have water added occasionally.

cibula11 11-08-2007 10:37 AM

From the basement I can't vent to the roof, but I could go through the side of the house. Could I do that instead?

I misspoke earlier. The caulking is not coming loose, there was just none to begin with, so I added some. The toilet was installed over a year ago, so I have a hard time thinking it is the wax seal, since I have had not water leaks.

majakdragon 11-08-2007 12:52 PM

I have seen this done before. It still needs to end above the roof. Local codes may not allow it, but as long as it cannot allow sewer gases to re-enter the house through windows and such, I see no problem. I never caulk the base of the toilet completely since any leak in the wax seal would be hidden until it caused damage to the flooring.

cibula11 11-08-2007 01:04 PM

What do you think is causing the smell? Vent or bad wax ring?

Last time I used a double wax ring. Should I use a flange extender and a single wax ring instead of a double ring?

majakdragon 11-08-2007 02:09 PM

If you have a Wye fitting that isn't completely sealed on the open part, it is probably causing the smell. Problem here is that if it IS sealed, you have no vent and you will probably see bubbles in the toilet every time you flush it. Drainage systems need air to work properly. The vent provides the air. No air, you pull a vacuum when you use the fixture. This sucks water out of the trap. I prefer using an extender flange rather than a thicker seal or two seals. You may be fine with the seal you have. I would concentrate on extending the pipe out of the house.

scorrpio 11-09-2007 02:57 PM

If originally toilet was simply tied into a pipe open to the basement, that pipe would vent it but allow sewer gas to enter the basement.

Now that you closed the pipe on top, you removed the vent, which likely causes trap water siphonage and admits sewer gas via toilet.

I hope you did not plug up that pipe too permanently. What you need is a MaxiVent. Top the Y off with it, and it admits air so your toilet trap water stays put, but will not allow sewer gas to enter your basement. These valves are allowed by latest national code, but local municipalities have been dragging feet updating local codes to allow AAVs - but given how darn convenient these things are, I am sure most local codes will be updated, give or take a few years.

47_47 11-09-2007 03:16 PM

Agree, he needs a vent, but with an open pipe in the basement, I would have a plumber look at this system and make sure everything else is or at least seems ok.

majakdragon 11-09-2007 03:37 PM

I agree that an AAV (air admittance valve) would work but codes are the problem. Where I have seen them allowed, they could not be inside a wall. Had to be open for inspection at all times. They are still better than no vent at all or sewer gas entering the home.

Marlin 11-09-2007 04:27 PM

The rule of thumb on AAVs is they shouldn't use used if their is any practical way around it. The inspectors don't want to see home owners (or even some plumbers) adding on a bath and using three AAVs because it was the easiest thing to do.

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