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Old 12-16-2010, 09:36 PM   #1
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sewer smell in basement bathroom


I have a split-foyer home that was built in 2001. In the finished side of the basement, we have a bathroom with a toilet, shower, and sink. There is a strong sewer smell that comes from the bathroom at times. I will say that we hardly ever use the bathroom at all. Occasionally when company comes over someone will use the toilet and sink but the shower never gets used. We are on city water and sewer. I do run water and pour bleach in the shower drain at times, to keep it fresh and tha trap full. The sink and shower drain really fast so I don't think it is a vent problem. One thing I think it could be is this. About 6 months after we moved in, I pulled the toilet and peel and stick tiles. I Installed a new ceramic tile floor. When I went to reinstall the toilet, I had problems using a wax wing with a horn. They would not fit in the flange on the floor, The horn would just crinkle up. It is because the toilet flange is a 3" spigot flange. I ended up using a standard wax ring without a horn. Maybe it didn't seal good and that is where my smell is coming from? I wish I could change the flange out with a bigger one, but it is in a concrete slab. Any advice on the smell and where it could be coming from?

I pulled the toilet and it doesn't appear to have been leaking. Here are some pics.





Also, I thought maybe the smell could be coming from the ceiling so I removed the light/vent fan. It stinks in the ceiling too! Also the vent fan was just venting right in the ceiling. What does this mean? Do you think they just stubbed the vent pipe off in the wall or in the ceiling area? Any ideas?
Thank You,
Andy

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Old 12-17-2010, 03:18 AM   #2
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sewer smell in basement bathroom


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In the finished side of the basement, we have a bathroom with a toilet, shower, and sink.
My take is:

1. Verify that there is water in the sink trap when the smell occurs. Water could be siphoned out of the trap if it's a P trap but the vent is not clear. Or if it's a S trap.

2. With the sink eliminated, eliminate the shower. Since you hardly use it anyway, can you cover the drain with something so it's air tight? If you make the shower's drain airtight and the smell still occurs, then it's not the shower.

3. With the sink and shower eliminated, continue working on the toilet.

HRG

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Old 12-17-2010, 01:36 PM   #3
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sewer smell in basement bathroom


Thanks for the reply! I still have the toilet removed and I have the flange covered up good. I will seal off the shower drain and look at the p trap on the sink. Since I smelled sewer in the ceiling, I removed the light/fan. I covered the hole with cardboard and taped it off. The smell in the bathroom has went down a lot. I took the cover off of a receptacle and smelled around it and the smell would knock you down. I believe the walls and ceilings is where the smell is coming from. What would cause this?
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Old 12-17-2010, 02:25 PM   #4
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sewer smell in basement bathroom


I have a smellologist on staff.. This guy is like a little kid putting thing in thier mouth but he smells them. Everything big smell them... "Wow You need to smell this" Grosses me out. So lets start with my first pet peeve of the scenario you described

Ceilingfans MUST ALWAYS BE VENTED OUTSIDE!!! Plain and simple cut and dry. If not they will push moisture up into the Joist causing mold and rot.

Now onto your other issue- I am guessing you have PVC and my guess is you will find a nail going through it or a coupling that was not properly glued. Think back and look for any Pictures that were hung up around that time... If not... Get to smelling
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Old 12-17-2010, 02:57 PM   #5
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sewer smell in basement bathroom


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I have a smellologist on staff.. This guy is like a little kid putting thing in thier mouth but he smells them. Everything big smell them... "Wow You need to smell this" Grosses me out. So lets start with my first pet peeve of the scenario you described

Ceilingfans MUST ALWAYS BE VENTED OUTSIDE!!! Plain and simple cut and dry. If not they will push moisture up into the Joist causing mold and rot.

Now onto your other issue- I am guessing you have PVC and my guess is you will find a nail going through it or a coupling that was not properly glued. Think back and look for any Pictures that were hung up around that time... If not... Get to smelling
Thanks for the reply! I thought the fans should be vented outside. We have 3 bathrooms. 2 upstairs and 1 in basement. None of the fans go outside! How could this pass inspection? Also we haven't done anything to cause a vent leak. How should I go about tracing the vent? Start tearing down sheetrock on walls and ceilings? Is it possible the vent from downstairs isnt connected to the vent going through the roof?
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Old 12-17-2010, 03:13 PM   #6
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sewer smell in basement bathroom


Yeah it is Possible... On your own it is a hit or miss. We would use the camera or a smoke test. Sometimes they wait to put the fans in till the end and the Inspector trust the builder so they do not even look. I have had inspectors not even get out of the car some days when there is bad weather to approve my work... Just sign off because they know I am a perfectionist in their eyes and I do not like call backs.
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Old 12-17-2010, 03:19 PM   #7
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Ok so instead of tearing down drywall, I might be better off to call a plumber to check it out. Are you close to East, TN? lol! I know of a Doc Whitley around here that sells insurance.
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Old 12-17-2010, 03:29 PM   #8
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Ok so instead of tearing down drywall, I might be better off to call a plumber to check it out. Are you close to East, TN? lol! I know of a Doc Whitley around here that sells insurance.
No Sorry... I got the name Doc from my Military days. It may be worth calling someone down there to see how they will do it. Some may be able to get a fog machine. I borrow one from a friend for stuff like this. a camera is good to see the vents, but you might want to cut a hole in the Ceiling and look for that vent pipe.. Sounds like you will need to cut a hole to vent the fan anyway... You can save a couple of dollars that way
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Old 12-17-2010, 03:36 PM   #9
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sewer smell in basement bathroom


Ok I will do that. So there should be a seperate vent pipe for the shower, sink, toilet? And, they all should come up the wall and tie into a main vent that goes through the roof?

Thanks!
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Old 12-17-2010, 03:37 PM   #10
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That all depends on your local code but typically yes
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Old 12-19-2010, 03:59 PM   #11
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sewer smell in basement bathroom


I cut out part of the ceiling above the sink and look what I found!!





vented right in the ceiling! What's the best remedy for this? BTW that's and 1 1/2" vent. Is it safe to say that is the vent for the shower and toilet also?
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Old 12-19-2010, 04:51 PM   #12
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sewer smell in basement bathroom


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I cut out part of the ceiling above the sink and look what I found!!







vented right in the ceiling! What's the best remedy for this? BTW that's and 1 1/2" vent. Is it safe to say that is the vent for the shower and toilet also?
The only thing you can do is to cut it thru the roof, you should increase the stub to at least 2in. going thru the roof.
A toilet should have at least a 2in. vent so I don't think it vents the toilet; but with the poor workmanship who knows?
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Old 12-19-2010, 05:13 PM   #13
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sewer smell in basement bathroom


Why not stick a studor vent on it and see what happens??
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Old 12-21-2010, 04:06 PM   #14
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sewer smell in basement bathroom


Ok, I did some further investigation. I cut out more drywall from the ceiling in the basment bathroom. Also I went up in the attic.
Here is a pic of a 2" vent going through the roof. You can see a tee that has an 1 1/2" pipe going over to my kitchen sink (vent). Also, the 2" on the bottom of the tee goes straight down to basement.

Ok when I cut out more drywall in bathroom, I found that 2" vent pipe coming down connecting into a tee. The pipe coming off of the right side of the tee, I believe goes over for the drain on my kitchen sink. (I think) The pipe coming off of the left side of the tee just goes over to unfinished part of basement and ties into main waste line.

Here's is a pic of where the 2" ties into the main waste line in garage.

Now, can I just tie my unconnected 1 1/2" into the is 2" in the ceiling of the bathroom? Also it appears that in that first elbow of the 2", that it has been leaking a little? I found some black mold or something on the insulation and drywall that was below it.
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Old 12-21-2010, 05:41 PM   #15
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sewer smell in basement bathroom


Ar you sure that 2" going up through the floor is not catching a sink or something? If it is not, you can tie it in, but I would stick a studor vent on that 1 1/2" and see if everything still worked fine.

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