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Old 12-10-2009, 04:41 PM   #1
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sewer pipe smell when weather is below freezing

When the weather is below freezing I get a sewer smell in the house. One plumber came over and poured hot water down a pipe on the roof and it immediately unplugged the pipe and the smell went away until it froze again which it can do the next day if there is a cold spell. I cant be getting up on the roof everyday for weeks at a time to do this. There must be a better solution. This plumber didn't know what to do so I made some calls and another plumber told me to put an external heat tape like the one that gets put on the roof to keep the snow melted down this pipe. I am going to try it. I was wondering if anyone has had this problem before and what their solution was.


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Old 12-10-2009, 05:03 PM   #2
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Here in MA, the minimum sized vent pipe is 1 1/4" diameter, BUT the minimum sized vent pipe protruding through the roof is 2". The size transition must be made a minimum or 12" below the roof penetration. The vent must extend a minimum of 18", but no greater than 24" above the roof.

All these rules are to prevent the roof vent from becoming blocked by hoarfrost (basically the same white, icy frost you'll find in a freezer). If, after all that, you still have a roof vent that's susceptible to hoarfrost, they tell you to increase its size one pipe diameter (i.e. - from 2" to 3") - which could mean having to replace the roof flange, as well.

Find out what the code is in your area, and determine if your current installation meets that code.


Last edited by Ishmael; 12-10-2009 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:42 PM   #3
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Frost obstruction of vent stacks:

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Old 12-16-2009, 11:52 AM   #4
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Thanks so much for the information.

We were able to get on the roof this weekend and was able to clear the frozen water in the pipe, but for now we put an outside heater tape down it and it has kept it clear in our below freezing weather.

My son was the one on the roof and he said that the pipe had a larger tube on top of a smaller tube that was shorter than the one one the bottom. Does that make since? I dont know the exact measurements but it was about 34" tall from the roof.

Who would I call to come check it out to see if this was done properly?
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Old 12-17-2009, 02:24 AM   #5
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plumber with a camera to look down stack
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