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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last summer, we had the master bathroom in our 50 year old home remodeled and were not very pleased with the contractors. After all was said and done, I kept smelling a very light but foul odor in the bathroom, but I chalked it up to me being 7 months pregnant and having a super sensitive nose. Then in October, when we had some wonderful 90 degree Fall days in Texas (sarcasm), the smell got really really bad. It turns out, the smell only got really bad that Fall when the temps were over 90 degrees.

Long story short, we had the wax ring on the new toilet replaced twice by a plumber AND our crappy contractors, but that did not fix the smell. We then paid to have a smoke test by American Leak Detection, but not a single leak was detected. We also had an AC condensate line added in the attic, and then the weather got cold and the smell went away altogether, so I assumed the condensate line fixed the issue.

Today, the smell is coming back, and surprise! The high is supposed to be 92 degrees. I am out of ideas and out of money after the $15,000 bathroom remodel and then another $1,000 for all of the tests and checks and replacements (plus a new baby!).

WHAT could this be?? Who can I call? The traps are not dry in the sinks, shower, or toilet, and even if the contractor screwed something up, woudnt the smoke test have shown that mess-up (cracked vent pipe, no drain trap installed, broken toilet flange, etc)? And it only happens when it's over 90 degrees outside.

I have a 7 month old that spends too much time close to that side of the house, plus this is just gross and I do not want to spend the entire summer sleeping in the guest room and unable (once again) to use our new master bathroom. I am desperate!! Any advice?? Help!
 

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too many variables to diagnose especially with no pictures

start with venting & trap issues such as replacing any AAV devices
pouring 6-8 oz of water down each trap to ensure no siphon has occurred

having not witnessed smoke test, impressions are it was not performed well
or the leak is occurring outside the parameters that were tested with smoke

for example, did they smoke test with traps in place or while removed/plugged?

is this remodel on slab, crawlspace, basement, or upper level floor?

Peace
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Has anyone verified that your AC air handler condensate line was NOT ran in to the homes plumbing drain lines somewhere, rather than outside ?
I do know that the leak detector rep said that the condensate line wasnt up to code and could MAYBE be the cause, only because he couldnt find leaks elsewhere, but when my AC guy came to install the trap, he said he doesnt think it's the issue at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
too many variables to diagnose especially with no pictures

start with venting & trap issues such as replacing any AAV devices
pouring 6-8 oz of water down each trap to ensure no siphon has occurred

having not witnessed smoke test, impressions are it was not performed well
or the leak is occurring outside the parameters that were tested with smoke

for example, did they smoke test with traps in place or while removed/plugged?

is this remodel on slab, crawlspace, basement, or upper level floor?

Peace
The remodel and entire home are on a slab. I did not walk through with the rep while he did the smoke test, but I do know he was here for over an hour searching for any possible leak. I also do not think he plugged any of the traps. I just assumed that a company that specializes in leak detecting would do it properly. Should I pay another $400 for a second opinion?

If we did have a leak, why would it only smell horrible in really hot weather in ONE room? The smell has been gone all winter.

Is it possible that the flange on the toilet, trap in the shower, etc, are damaged or installed improperly and the smoke test missed it? Or are the smoke tests pretty fail-proof?
 

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I do know that the leak detector rep said that the condensate line wasnt up to code and could MAYBE be the cause, only because he couldnt find leaks elsewhere, but when my AC guy came to install the trap, he said he doesnt think it's the issue at all.
The question was does it deliver to the sewer or outside. If it feeds it's own trap then to the sewer the trap water would evaporate over periods when not in use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The question was does it deliver to the sewer or outside. If it feeds it's own trap then to the sewer the trap water would evaporate over periods when not in use.
I am pretty sure it runs into the sewer line, but if the issue were drying up, then it would have happened and brought the smell over the winter months or when weather has been mild. Not when it's hot and the AC is for sure running. (It has been running the past week and several times over the past few months). The smell only hits at 90+ degrees.
 

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Peace be with you
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The remodel and entire home are on a slab. I did not walk through with the rep while he did the smoke test, but I do know he was here for over an hour searching for any possible leak. I also do not think he plugged any of the traps. I just assumed that a company that specializes in leak detecting would do it properly. Should I pay another $400 for a second opinion?

If we did have a leak, why would it only smell horrible in really hot weather in ONE room? The smell has been gone all winter.

Is it possible that the flange on the toilet, trap in the shower, etc, are damaged or installed improperly and the smoke test missed it? Or are the smoke tests pretty fail-proof?
evidently not much pressure applied if traps were not plugged...
I'm not sure how much of the smell factor is the heat & humidity combined?
was remodel invasive to concrete? how much concrete removed?
were fixtures added/moved? was all DWV piping replaced or just new sections?
was shower drain piping in slab replaced? a separate tub location?
was there any old leakage into/under slab with original piping?
was new bathroom piping tested/inspected?

are you only noticing smells w/AC running?
any guesses to smell origin inside master bathroom?

Peace
 
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I have used ALD Co. twice when I was working and the guys I dealt with were top notch. I cannot testify as to their other locations in the nation....

When smoke tests are done on a buildings drain and sewer piping, they perform the test in a "normal" state. They only plug the sewer line on the street /city side, so the smoke will go only in to the buildings piping and not be pumped in to the city sewer piping or septic tank etc. They do not plug traps as that would give them a incomplete test procedure, as they need to know all traps are sealing on their own.


Having the smell only when it gets above 90 deg. f. still indicates to me the possibility of sewer gas being pulled from the AC condensate line and then blown out through the home in the ducts, or maybe even a dead animal in the attic that really "perks" when the temps rise. I dunno beyond these two thoughts. Good Luck and JMO
 

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Peace be with you
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The quickest way I know to check under a slab is with a long dual stage
test plug inserted into the sewer main cleanout; purge/fill the under slab
piping with water up to near flood rim of shower; if there is a leak at the
floor level (such as from a WC, busted/nailed pipe), it should show itself quick.
If the water level recedes but no water leak visible, smell is from under slab.
If water level stays consistently up for at 20-30 minutes in shower then a
leak at or below the slab can be eliminated & plug deflated/pulled.
Hopefully your leak is not below; If not, Investigate trap levels & venting for smells.

Peace
 
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