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Old 09-15-2009, 08:08 AM   #31
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


All except two have roof vents, the other two have 'studor' vents. The one where the odor seems strongest has roof venting.

I bought two new studor vents to install, and plan on checking all the other roof vents for blockage. No drains are draining slowly, but an upstairs toilet does cause some thumping noises from the pipework when flushed.

I'm not too familiar with the typical plumbing layout of a drain line, would it be typical that it uses mostly 4" pipe below the slab and the 2" pipes connect to this as early as possible? The house is 3 years old.

I ask because the plumbers I've called seem to be equipped with cameras that'll fit a 4" line, but not a 2" line. They've also told me that unless the pipe is basically destroyed, it won't be visible on camera. Is that right or should I try asking some more?

I didn't realize you could get a trap installed in the main sewer line, that could be well worth a try too, thanks for all the help!

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Old 09-15-2009, 03:54 PM   #32
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


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Originally Posted by aaronb9 View Post
All except two have roof vents, the other two have 'studor' vents. The one where the odor seems strongest has roof venting.

I bought two new studor vents to install, and plan on checking all the other roof vents for blockage. No drains are draining slowly, but an upstairs toilet does cause some thumping noises from the pipework when flushed.

I'm not too familiar with the typical plumbing layout of a drain line, would it be typical that it uses mostly 4" pipe below the slab and the 2" pipes connect to this as early as possible? The house is 3 years old.

I ask because the plumbers I've called seem to be equipped with cameras that'll fit a 4" line, but not a 2" line. They've also told me that unless the pipe is basically destroyed, it won't be visible on camera. Is that right or should I try asking some more?

I didn't realize you could get a trap installed in the main sewer line, that could be well worth a try too, thanks for all the help!
My hunch is that all the under slab plumbing was roughed in before the slab was poured. Where the plumbing enters through the slab, I would assume that they installed a 4" sleeve to contain the wet cement from contacting the plumbing lines. Usually these sleeves are just long enough to contain the cement as it is poured and finished.
I would expect that you would find such sleeves at any point where the plumbing passes through concrete.
These sleeves are likely a 'code' requirement.
I doubt that you have a plumbing problem. I would bet that because of your high water table that its more likely ground source methane that you smell.
If I were installing electrical conduit through a sleeve, I would be required to close the sleeve off with duct seal and this is what I would do next.
The duct seal compound is relaively cheap and well worth trying. Even if it doesn't work, it will cause no harm and may be beneficial.
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Old 09-16-2009, 10:18 AM   #33
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


that's correct on tv-ing the line, most plumbers won't have a camera that will tv pipes smaller than 4 inch's in diameter. Just in case you do have someone tv the 4 inch line, try and do it when the water table is up and their is no sewer flow in the pipe. Pressure from the water table will penetrate into the 4 inch pipe if there are cracks.
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Old 09-16-2009, 08:57 PM   #34
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


I went up on the roof yesterday to try and snake all the cleanouts, just in case. I haven't tried sealing the sleeve yet because that'll require pulling the cabinet out, which is going to make a heck of a mess (it's attached/caulked/glued? to the wall, and so is the countertop & backsplash). I'll definitely be doing that at some point, I just want to exhaust all the easier ideas first.

The cleanout to the upstairs bathroom (not the one with the odor problem) was loose, so I went into the attic and found that it makes a 90 degree bend, made up of 2x 45 degree couplings. Each coupling was cemented to it's respective pipe, but where one coupling joined the other there was not a sign of any PVC cement, and the pipe was completely out. I cleaned and cemented that join, but it didn't seem to be the (only) problem. The sprinklers ran this morning and made the smell in the downstairs bathroom a bit stronger again. I didn't smell anything in the attic that would suggest it was the source (different sides of the house too).

I also replaced the two 'studor' vents in the house with new studor parts, and used teflon tape, mainly to rule them out.

As far as testing the drain line under the slab, no plumbers I've called have mentioned this to me yet, but I'm wondering how safe a pressure test would be. As I understand it they cap off the vents, block off the main sewer line and pressurize the drain (presumably with air?). You then flush one toilet and the water level supposedly rises in the bowl, and should stay that way for a couple of hours if there's no leaks. I'm wondering whether to try and find someone who can do that.

I've been trying to read up on the ground source methane but haven't found much that's helpful. It definitely sounds like a plausible explaination, I'm wondering why I wouldn't smell it throughout the whole yard though (I dug same depth holes just 10' from the house and smelt no trace).

Based on what I've now seen of this houses' plumbing, I'm worried that a joint may have been done poorly under the slab, and the snaking a few weeks back knocked it loose.
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Old 09-18-2009, 08:04 AM   #35
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


I looked in the main cleanout again today, and noticed it seems to have a ~1/8" green sleeve in the vertical section. As I was tightening it down, I saw the outside start to rotate as well. I wasn't yet able to see if it was the whole vertical section or just the screw cap though.

Is this sleeve normal practice, or is it likely to be one of those repair solutions? It's only on the vertial part.

I also went up in the attic right above the offending bathroom, and couldn't smell a thing. I will pull the soffet down tonight and confirm that it's not a vent leak, then I guess at least I know I'm looking at a ground methane issue or an under-slab drain leak.

I'm still having no luck finding a local professional who specializes in this stuff unfortunately.
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Old 09-24-2009, 01:32 PM   #36
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


I had a leak detection specialist come out today and it seems like we don't have a leak in the drain line. He put an inflatable plug in the main drain line, and ran the water until it just started backing up into the shower. Marked the water line on the shower floor, then left it 30-40 minutes after which it hadn't budged at all.

So right now it's looking like it's ground source odor. Now we've hopefully ruled out a pipe leak, pulling out the vanity seems like the logical next step.

Thanks again for all the suggestions and help.
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Old 09-24-2009, 04:00 PM   #37
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronb9 View Post
I had a leak detection specialist come out today and it seems like we don't have a leak in the drain line. He put an inflatable plug in the main drain line, and ran the water until it just started backing up into the shower. Marked the water line on the shower floor, then left it 30-40 minutes after which it hadn't budged at all.

So right now it's looking like it's ground source odor. Now we've hopefully ruled out a pipe leak, pulling out the vanity seems like the logical next step.

Thanks again for all the suggestions and help.
[Post 22]

I doubt that you have a plumbing problem. I would bet that because of your high water table that its more likely ground source methane that you smell.
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Old 09-27-2009, 07:42 PM   #38
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Sewer smell from under sink and adjoining closet, but not from drains?


Oh yeah, I know a couple of you guys called it several posts back, I was holding off on this puely because I can't get to that sleeve to plug it without removing the sink, countertop, possibly baseboards and pulling the whole vanity off the wall. Hope I didn't give the impression that I was asking for advice then ignoring it.

Now I know my plumbing's supposedly good, it's demo time!

The plumber also recommended using something along the lines of concrete or plaster, but I'm thinking if we do that and the slab settles or moves, we risk causing a leak. The electrician's putty is going to be what I use if I can find it.

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