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Old 09-07-2009, 02:24 PM   #16
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


Sure, to describe the orientation of these photos: Facing the sink, the wall directly behind the countertop now has a hole in it. These were taken by putting the camera into the hole, and pointing it down towards the ground. The first one shows the floor in focus, the second shows the vent pipe/sink drain in focus.

My dimensions are a bit off too I think, the smaller pipe is 2", the larger one must be about 3".

The ground does look wet, next to where this pipe enters the floor, but I'm absolutely sure that it's not - it almost looks like some kind of sealer or varnish that appears shiny.

here's the links to the photos:

http://img180.imageshack.us/i/drain1.jpg/

http://img143.imageshack.us/i/drain2.jpg/

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Old 09-07-2009, 09:54 PM   #17
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


It sure looks like the larger pipe is just a sleeve through the concrete.for fun can you stuff a rag in the space between the 2" and the 3"? then see if you still smell the odor.
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:29 PM   #18
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


The quickest way to detect the leak is to smoke test the drain line from just outside your house. I know that sounds like a big deal but it's actually very simple IF you know where your clean-out fitting is outside the house. Any big box hardware store will have the non-toxic smoke packs. You blow the smoke with a small fan into the clean-out fitting (make sure and plug the "downstream" side of the line, and the smoke will show up at any leaks in the vent pipes.
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:34 PM   #19
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


I agree with plumber Jim, the 4" looks like a sleeve, but could still be the source of the odor if the 2" is leaking under the slab. I'd start by using spray foam to seal that area between the 4" and 2" pipes.
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Old 09-09-2009, 08:44 AM   #20
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


Quote:
Originally Posted by cm3putter View Post
The quickest way to detect the leak is to smoke test the drain line from just outside your house. I know that sounds like a big deal but it's actually very simple IF you know where your clean-out fitting is outside the house. Any big box hardware store will have the non-toxic smoke packs. You blow the smoke with a small fan into the clean-out fitting (make sure and plug the "downstream" side of the line, and the smoke will show up at any leaks in the vent pipes.
The second plumbers that came out did run a smoke test, but they did it on this vent pipe where it exits the roof. We didn't see any smoke coming up through the gap though. The idea of smoke testing from the cleanout sounds like a good one - as far as I know we have one cleanout where the main drain line heads off toward the street, and presumably the sewer.

How penatrative is the smoke usually? If the 2" is leaking under the slab and the odor is coming from contaminated ground, is the smoke likely to make it through?

Are there any tests I could do to confirm or rule out whether or not the 2" pipe is leaking under the slab? The shower in this bathroom gets run twice a day, sinks and toilet are run/flushed several times too with no apparent effect on the odor.

The weather has been dry and sunny here for about a week now, and the smell has pretty much gone.
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Old 09-09-2009, 11:38 AM   #21
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


The smoke is very dense and will show up if there is a cracked pipe, etc. Just make sure and plug the downstream (or street side) of the drain line before testing. Also, probably unlikely, but you might first call your water/sewer company and see if they will come out and smoke test the line for you. Most places won't but I've encountered some companies will.

I'm not aware of any "easy" test that you can conduct to confirm a leak. (the smoke test will confirm you have leak somewhere, but not pinpoint it if smoke shows up in that sleeve). A "hard" test would be to isolate the line (somehow plug it on both ends, don't know if that's possible, and probably not practical) and pressure test it with air or water. If it won't hold a constant pressure then you definitely have a leak.
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:39 AM   #22
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


can you poke something like a stick or something down between the 2" and 4" and see if it come back wet? that way if you find its wet you might have a peaking drain pipe below the slab.
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Old 09-10-2009, 08:17 AM   #23
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


I probably can try and get something down in the gap actually, space is pretty tight with the cabinet still in place but I'm sure I can figure something out.

It's supposed to rain most of the weekend, I'm hoping that'll show up the problem if it's still there. As of right now the cabinet still smells fine.
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:03 PM   #24
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


Yes , a picture would definitely help the cause.
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Old 09-12-2009, 10:12 PM   #25
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


Well it finally rained heavily this evening, and the smell came back very strongly. I am almost positive that the sleeve pipe is the source.

I was able to drop a rod into the sleeve, with a piece of tissue paper on the end. It dropped maybe 8-10" before it hit the ground, and the tissue paper came out dry. Tried it a couple of times with the same result.

I don't think I can get good enough access to block off the sleeve with a rag or expanding foam etc, at least without pulling the cabinet out and cutting away the drywall.

I removed the cap to the main cleanout this evening too, this is located outside the front of the house, and I think it goes out to the main sewer in the street. I couldn't smell anything there, so assuming I have the layout correct I don't think it's main sewer gas backing up into the house.

The outside ground the other side of the wall was very wet again, if I stepped right next to the slab my foot would sink a little and the water would rise halfway up my shoe. The rest of the grass was wet, but even at a point where the water combines and runs off the roof it wasn't this wet.

At this point I've spent $500 on plumbers, neither of who diagnosed it correctly or fixed it in the slightest. I'm wondering how much more diagnosis I can do myself (even if it's destructive) or whether I should just try to find another plumber.. If I end up going that route, any tips on what I should specifically ask them over the phone to try and get someone who really knows what they're doing?

Last edited by aaronb9; 09-13-2009 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 09-12-2009, 10:43 PM   #26
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


As an electrician, I often used duct seal to close off a raceway, that had cables and conduit running in it.
Its similar to a childs 'plasticine'. or even window putty. Only it never hardens.
Its carried by most electrical supply outlets.
The space inside the 4" pipe should be sealed with this product!
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Old 09-13-2009, 08:05 AM   #27
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


Thanks for the tip, my only concern with sealing it off would be if it causes the smell to collect and appear somewhere else. Right now the 'source' is clear and it mainly affects the adjoining closet.

Is it possible this could happen?

Some more information too: I pushed a pipe into the ground outside, about 4" away from the exterior wall. The ground seems to be dry several inches down, but is very wet for the top few inches. Right next to the wall I peeled a bit of grass back, and could immediately smell the same smell. As soon as lowes opens I'm headed out to buy a spade and see if I can find out any more.

I also removed the toilet in that bathroom last night. I noticed when the plumber refitted it from the snaking several months back, one of the two plastic studs that holds it down had broken off so it was only secured by one side. With that said, I cleaned off all the wax and looked down the drain with a mirror as best I could. I didn't notice any odor at all from this line either.

What's got me most confused now is why this smell would be so strong through that sleeve pipe, but neither the main line cleanout nor the drain under the toilet seemed to smell at all.





I dug some holes outside today, two against the house wall and two futher away. The two closest the house had water pooling in them at around 18" deep, and a slight sewer gas smell. I dug one 10' from the house to 22" deep but no water or smell was present there. I dug the last one downhill from the house, and there was water pooling in it at around 8" but no odor at all.

I was putting up a light fixture in a different bathroom today, and also noticed the same smell from inside the wall cavity which is definitely new. I'm also fairly sure it's present under the kitchen sink now too. It's permeated the whole house again like it did last time it rained, so it's getting harder to pinpoint it.

I'm kind of at a loss now on how to proceed.

Last edited by aaronb9; 09-13-2009 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 09-13-2009, 11:36 PM   #28
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronb9 View Post
Thanks for the tip, my only concern with sealing it off would be if it causes the smell to collect and appear somewhere else. Right now the 'source' is clear and it mainly affects the adjoining closet.

Is it possible this could happen?

Some more information too: I pushed a pipe into the ground outside, about 4" away from the exterior wall. The ground seems to be dry several inches down, but is very wet for the top few inches. Right next to the wall I peeled a bit of grass back, and could immediately smell the same smell. As soon as lowes opens I'm headed out to buy a spade and see if I can find out any more.

I also removed the toilet in that bathroom last night. I noticed when the plumber refitted it from the snaking several months back, one of the two plastic studs that holds it down had broken off so it was only secured by one side. With that said, I cleaned off all the wax and looked down the drain with a mirror as best I could. I didn't notice any odor at all from this line either.

What's got me most confused now is why this smell would be so strong through that sleeve pipe, but neither the main line cleanout nor the drain under the toilet seemed to smell at all.





I dug some holes outside today, two against the house wall and two futher away. The two closest the house had water pooling in them at around 18" deep, and a slight sewer gas smell. I dug one 10' from the house to 22" deep but no water or smell was present there. I dug the last one downhill from the house, and there was water pooling in it at around 8" but no odor at all.

I was putting up a light fixture in a different bathroom today, and also noticed the same smell from inside the wall cavity which is definitely new. I'm also fairly sure it's present under the kitchen sink now too. It's permeated the whole house again like it did last time it rained, so it's getting harder to pinpoint it.

I'm kind of at a loss now on how to proceed.
Are you connected to a municipal sewage system or using a septic tank?

Septic tanks need to be pumped out, from time to time. If they are not, they eventually fill up with sludge, then they quit functioning.
Raw sewage then flows out to the weeping bed and plug this up.
If this happens, untreated effluent runs into the ground all about.
It seems likely that this could be your problem, and the methane gases from untreated sewage is finding its way into your house!
Where I live, home vendors are required to devulge problems of this nature and if they fail to do so, can be sued for the cost to make repairs.
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Old 09-14-2009, 07:40 AM   #29
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


We're on the city sewer system, no septic tank.

That's definitely the kind of problem it seems like though.
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:02 PM   #30
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


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We're on the city sewer system, no septic tank.

That's definitely the kind of problem it seems like though.
If they put in a sleeve for your bath sink, its likely that there were sleeves installed for everything else.
I would suggest that you would check all your drains and if they are run through sleeves, that they would be closed off with duct seal.
Perhaps you could find someway to vent under the slab as well.

Its conceivable that your sewer line is damaged and allowing sewer waste to run into the ground. Or even allow sewer gases to get under the slab.
My neighbor had a problem with his sewer and the plumber installed a trap and a vent at a point before it enters the house.
It may be a good idea to have a plumber look down your sewer with a TV camera and check for damage!

As an after-thought, all your sinks and toilets do need to have venting to the roof! Make sure that you do have this!

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