Sewer Smell In Bathroom, need help!

austinite123January 31, 2013

Last week we started noticing a sewer smell in our kids bathroom. It is a dual sink vanity bathroom with a seperate room with the toilet and bathtub/shower. All drains are used regularly. Our house is a one story, built in the mid 80s and this bathroom is used daily. I have tried a number of things to fix the problem and continue to have the sewer odor problem. Here is a list of things I've done so far:

1. Checked attic space for dead rodents. Didn't find anything noticeable but the house has had rodent problems in the past. No smell in the attic.

2. Ran a 25 foot auger into each roof vent pipe, followed by a jet spray of water from the hose. As far as I can tell there were no clogs, though I seemed to hit some turns in the vent pipe.

3. Checked for clogs in the toilet and both sink drains. Didn't find any. Checked for clogs in bathtub up to the J trap, didn't find anything. Did not go back deep into bath drain. Possibly a clog further back?

4. Replaced wax seal on toilet. Didn't seem to be a problem and the smell is still there afterwards.

5. The smell seems to be strongest and most pinpointed close to the ground between the toilet bowl and the side of the bathtub. They are right next to each other with about 1-2 feet between then.

6. It seems that the smell is coming out of the sinks, but not as strong. Both the vanity room and the toilet/bathtub room have the smell.

7. I did install a new flushing mechanism in the toilet a few weeks ago. As far as I can tell the installation is correct and the toilet flushes. It's a low water flushing mechanism so the flush is not as strong as before.

8. The smell has slowly crept into our living room area but is not strong there and not always there. Might be the odor just carrying over.

I would appreciate any insight that anyone has. I'm stumped and am hoping there is a home fix that I can do before shelling out big money for a plumber. I'm thinking that I may have a a broken vent pipe somewhere in the house or a broken line below the house. Crossing my fingers that this is not the case!

Thanks in advance for all help!

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If all of your traps and toilets have water in them, that should stop any gases from entering the home. Do you have a basement or crawlspace under the house to see if there's a line leak?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 10:41AM
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Check the sink overflows for trapped debris.

They are before the trap and can collect some debris that then starts to smell.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 11:36AM
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If traps are installed correctly and not tilted the seal line should be fine in trap. Hard to tell is if your system is vented properly. If it is not vented properly the draining water can cause siphoning which will suck water out of the traps. Most of the time this occurs at the shower/tub drain. Get down and dirty and try to locate the drain where the smell is coming from.

Another common place for this is a floor drain where water evaporates in the trap. Mineral oil or antifreeze is an easy solution if you don't have a way to prime it.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 12:12PM
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I had the same problem in a house I lived in 18 years ago. I finally called a plumber. He went into the crawl space under the house and said it had a lot of standing water with sewage in it.

We had to have the toilet removed and the line augered to fix a drain previously, and the line may have damaged by the augering process, causing it to subsequently leak into the crawl space every time it was flushed. We had also had a freeze the winter before, and the drain pipe may have frozen and then leaked. He couldn't tell which, just that it was split and leaking.

The second part of the problem was the screening over the entrance to the crawl space. "Critters" had gone there and there was a lot of critter poop under there. That, combined with the leak, created our own sewage treatment pond, without the treatment part.

He pumped out the crawl space, scattered lots of lime under the house, fixed the pipe, and rescreened the crawl space entrance. Problem solved!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 10:50PM
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