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Old 10-12-2010, 12:18 PM   #1
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Sewer gas smell in basement?


Every so often I get a sewer gas smell in my basement. I never noticed it until I started spending more time down there because I'm working on finishing the space. The house is less than 5 years old.

The smell seems to come every few hours or so and only lasts for a few minutes. It is always noticeable in the same location. I'm not 100% sure but it seems like it is coming from a toliet drain line (pvc) from a first floor bathroom. There is no smell at all in the bathroom itself and the smell occurs when the bathroom is not in use.

I was able to sniff around that bathroom's toliet drain line this morning when I smelled the sewer gas and it seemed like whatever it was was coming from that drain line. It smelled strongest near the fittings where the drain comes into the basement. There are no leaks in the drain line that I can see when using the bathroom upstairs. I've also tried flooding the drain line by dumping a 5 gallon bucket of water down the toilet and the drain pipe was dry everywhere.

I'm looking for possible solutions to this or a way to figure out what is happening on my own. I am going to replace the wax seal on the toliet as a first step. Is there anything else I can do short of calling in a professional to further troubleshoot/solve this issue?

Thanks for any advice!
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Old 10-12-2010, 05:56 PM   #2
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Sewer gas smell in basement?


Make sure there isn't a dry p trap in any nearby floor drains.
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:02 PM   #3
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Sewer gas smell in basement?


Thanks. There are no floor drains in this basement.
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:03 PM   #4
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Sewer gas smell in basement?


Run some water down every drain. This will replenish any traps that may have dried out
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:36 PM   #5
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Sewer gas smell in basement?


Sewer vent stack blocked?
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:48 PM   #6
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Sewer gas smell in basement?


Are you sure it's sewer gas that you smell? Could it be natural gas or propane?
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Old 10-13-2010, 05:24 AM   #7
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Sewer gas smell in basement?


Thanks for the ideas, all fixtures with traps are used multiple times everyday so none of them should be dry. It's definitely sewer gas and not natural gas or propane. I checked the vent stack and all looks clear. I can smell sewer gas coming from it and I looked down it with a flashlight and didn't see any blockages. I didn't flush it or send a hose down it but I may do that also just to make absolutely sure it's not the vent stack.
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:30 PM   #8
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Sewer gas smell in basement?


I've heard of instances where the vent piping was dry assembled and accidentally (I hope) not glued. Can you tell if all the joints are glued?

You may end up needing to do a smoke test. Basically block the vents, put smoke into the main stack and look for leaks.

Last edited by jogr; 10-13-2010 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 10-14-2010, 10:51 AM   #9
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Sewer gas smell in basement?


My guess would be a nail in a vent pipe somewhere. Same thing happened in my house - when they nailed in the baseboard behind the toilet, they drove a nail (with a nailgun) into the vent pipe serving that toilet and cracked it. Since it was all behind the drywall, it couldn't be seen, but you could definitely smell it. I removed the toilet and opened the wall, repaired the broken pipe and patched the wall.
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Old 10-15-2010, 07:31 AM   #10
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Sewer gas smell in basement?


It looks like the wax seal replacement did the trick. I haven't noticed any smells since I replaced it several days ago.
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:32 AM   #11
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Sewer gas smell in basement?


Quote:
Originally Posted by barlav View Post
It looks like the wax seal replacement did the trick. I haven't noticed any smells since I replaced it several days ago.
whats the wax seal for? sorry for the dumb question...
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:56 AM   #12
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Sewer gas smell in basement?


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whats the wax seal for? sorry for the dumb question...
The wax seal is the seal on the bottom of a toilet where it rests on the floor.
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:10 PM   #13
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Sewer gas smell in basement?


Quote:
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The wax seal is the seal on the bottom of a toilet where it rests on the floor.
thanks for the reply! isnt that just like a line of caulk? because i got a stinky sewer smell near the bathroom and the bedroom right next to it...
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Old 12-03-2010, 04:53 AM   #14
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Sewer gas smell in basement?


Quote:
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thanks for the reply! isnt that just like a line of caulk? because i got a stinky sewer smell near the bathroom and the bedroom right next to it...
Here is a photo of a toilet's wax seal.
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Old 12-03-2010, 08:41 AM   #15
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Sewer gas smell in basement?


ohh so i need to uninstall it to replace it. thanks!
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