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Old 08-14-2012, 07:03 PM   #1
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Sewer Odor in Shower But Trap Has Water


I really hope some of the experts can help me figure this out. I renovated our master bath back in April and hired a plumber to do the one task I couldn't - move the shower drain and install the shower base. Everything else I did myself.

Fast forward a week or so after completion and I noticed the bathroom often smells like sewage/sulfur. I assumed I did something wrong installing the toilet, so I made a mental note to deal with it when I had time. The smell would come and go over a few weeks. Sometimes we don't smell it at all, sometimes its pretty potent.

One night it was especially potent, so I decided to pinpoint and confirm if it was the toilet. Sniffed around the base but didn't detect anything, sniffed around the sink drain - nothing. Got to the shower drain and it was undeniably the source. Called my wife in and had her confirm. No doubt from either of us.

I popped the drain cover off and looked down - there was water in the trap but the smell was putrid. I called the plumber and exchanged a few voicemails until he finally agreed to come look at it. The day he came, I wasn't home but my wife was. Sure enough, the drain didn't smell at all. This was morning and we have noticed the smell is usually worse at night or in the morning before we shower (once we shower, the smell disappears).

The plumber checked the trap for leaks (which I already did) and basically said the smell can't be coming from there and we must be mistaken. He offered to check the toilet seal but my wife told him not to bother, knowing I could do that if it were the cause.

It continues to smell (at random times) and it is undisputedly coming from the shower drain. Any thoughts?

Thanks for any help.

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Old 08-14-2012, 09:59 PM   #2
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Sewer Odor in Shower But Trap Has Water


Did he tie the drain into a vent line?

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Old 08-14-2012, 10:41 PM   #3
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Sewer Odor in Shower But Trap Has Water


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Did he tie the drain into a vent line?
sounds like the vent wasn't connected or a dry fit came apart
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Old 08-15-2012, 07:06 AM   #4
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Sewer Odor in Shower But Trap Has Water


i have fixed cases where they put the vent on the wrong side of the trap.
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Old 08-15-2012, 07:16 AM   #5
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Sewer Odor in Shower But Trap Has Water


Is the smell present at all times or mainly when you use the shower or shortly after?
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Old 08-15-2012, 08:37 AM   #6
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Sewer Odor in Shower But Trap Has Water


The smell is usually well after we have used the shower (several hours).

Below is a photo from underneath - luckily, its a utility room below so we have access to the plumbing. I assume that pipe coming out from the tee is the vent?

Sewer Odor in Shower But Trap Has Water-image-1769839792.jpg
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Old 08-15-2012, 08:49 AM   #7
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You’ll need to find out what the secondary line is vent drain? Also what’s downstream of those connections , the trap from what I see in the picture is a little deep, way be a problem depending on the downstream configuration.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:05 AM   #8
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Sewer Odor in Shower But Trap Has Water


I'm not sure what you mean by:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Javiles
You’ll need to find out what the secondary line is vent drain?
Good point about the trap. One of things I noticed is the new trap is lower than the old trap. Low enough that I can't put drywall on the ceiling underneath it, as it drops below the joist). It looks like he had to do this because of the space between the joists. You can see how he had to go out at an angle to fit it.

What would the downstream configuration do to cause this? I am not sure what is downstream of this but I can certainly try to find out.

Thanks for your help.

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Also what’s downstream of those connections , the trap from what I see in the picture is a little deep, way be a problem depending on the downstream configuration.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:20 AM   #9
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Sewer Odor in Shower But Trap Has Water


Unfortunately that could have been done correctly relatively easy, either this person was inexperienced or he was not a plumber, handy man type? Weather this is somewhat a relation to the odor could be,, you may want to have someone look at it, some that can also perform a smoke test to see if the odor is actually sewer gases.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:30 AM   #10
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Sewer Odor in Shower But Trap Has Water


Quote:
Originally Posted by Javiles
Unfortunately that could have been done correctly relatively easy, either this person was inexperienced or he was not a plumber, handy man type? Weather this is somewhat a relation to the odor could be,, you may want to have someone look at it, some that can also perform a smoke test to see if the odor is actually sewer gases.
Guy who did it was a local plumber - has done work for me in the past and is well-known in the area. His business is specifically heating and plumbing only.

I am thinking of calling someone else to look at it - just annoyed I will have to pay someone to potentially fix an issue someone else created.
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:54 AM   #11
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Sewer Odor in Shower But Trap Has Water


The water in the P-trap is supposed to block any gases coming in from the sewer. However, if there is positive or negative air pressure from the sewer or your house, it can cause the water in the P-trap to be displaced and allow the sewer gasses to enter the bathroom. Check your drain venting.

I think the second pipe in the picture is not a vent pipe.....perhaps the toilet or bathroom sink. If its the toilet, then the flush pressure may cause negative pressure to pull the water out of the P-trap for your shower or it has positive pressure that may push sewer gases past the shower P-trap..

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Old 08-15-2012, 09:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bugman1400
.I think the second pipe in the picture is not a vent pipe.....perhaps the toilet or bathroom sink. If its the toilet, then the flush pressure may cause negative pressure to pull the water out of the P-trap for your shower or it has positive pressure that may push sewer gases past the shower P-trap..
Are you sure that pipe isn't the vent? I looked closely at it tonight and it goes back up through the floor right next to a closet, in an area where there are no fixtures. Seems logical to me that it would then be venting out the roof - assuming these vent out through the roof?

The actual drain pipe you see there meets up with the drain from the toilet about three feet down from the area shown in the photo, and then drain down through the concrete slab to the septic. However, I question whether or not that could be the cause as we had no issue before the bathroom was remodeled. And we used it daily before the remodel - usage has not changed.
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Old 08-15-2012, 10:00 PM   #13
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Sewer Odor in Shower But Trap Has Water


That is a vent. A waste line would not be plumbed with a tee- assuming the original installer knew his code. And a toilet drain is either 3 or 4" line.
There is a chance though that the toilet is causing back pressure on the trap- pushing sewer gas through.
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Old 08-16-2012, 08:10 AM   #14
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Sewer Odor in Shower But Trap Has Water


If you trace the pipe and see it go up through the wall, through the attic, and out the roof then, yes, it is probably a vent pipe. I have a hard time understanding that if it is a vent pipe, how the flow from the toilet would cause enough pressure to displace the water in the P-trap of the shower.........unless, the vent pipe is blocked.
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:29 AM   #15
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Sewer Odor in Shower But Trap Has Water


Here's a question : How does your shower floor look? Post pictures please, and include all the corners at the bottom of the pan.


Shower pans tend to stink 30 minutes to several hours after showering if the grout lines and sealer have failed, and water is just sitting in the shower pan liner (not installed properly to grade to weep holes, or weep holes full of silicone)

This is probably the worst news, so I hope it turns out to be something else.

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