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Thread: Laundry Room Smell

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  1. #1

    Question Laundry Room Smell

    Hi there. I did a search on your site before posting this and the only thing I found that was anywhere near similar was something I found on your old forum:
    Posted by Vicki Stearns on June 11, 2002 at 14:52:34:
    I have been noticing a odor coming from the area of the washing machine. Can sometimes smell it in the rooms opposite the wall of washing room. Some times you cannot smell it at all and other times it is very strong. Almost a mildew smell. Also when the washing machine has been used a couple of times in a row it is strong and also when the tub on the other side of the house is drained it smells in laundry room. No other drains or rooms have that smell. I live on concrete slab and the house is approximately 28 years old. Getting to the plumbing is awful--floor would have to be jackhammered up. Help. Any ideas what the odor may be. Septic tank was emptied when I bought the house in 1998 and I usuall live alone except when my grandkids or kids stay with me. thanks.
    I have noticed these same things:
    • odor coming from the area of the washing machine
    • sometimes smell it in the rooms opposite the wall of laundry room
    • sometimes you can't smell it at all and other times it is very strong
    • almost a mildew smell
    • house on concrete slab
    At first I thought it was cigarette smoke coming through the vent behind the washing machine because it seemed like the smell started when the new neighbors moved in a couple months ago. (They smoke outside between the two houses.) I've since decided that's impossible because the smell doesn't quite go away and it really seems to be a somewhat mildewy smell. Upon looking at the floors with a flashlight, I don't see any wetness at all.

    I also found this reply to the aove quote:
    Posted by Gary Swart on June 12, 2002 at 08:49:15 in reply to Vicki Stearns on June 11, 2002 at 14:52:34:
    Just a thought, is there a Pee trap on the pipe the washer drains into or does it just go straight into the drain? If there is no trap, put one in and that should cure the problem. If there is a trap, I don't know.
    I don't know what a Pee trap is, but my Dad suggested pouring bleach down the drain. Any help you could provide would be gratefully taken. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default trap

    It is a "P" trap because it looks like the letter "P", not a "pee" trap with its connotations. If you have floor drain in the laundry room or under the washing machine, then it is probably dried out and allowing odors into the room. Pour a couple of cups of water into it and it will cure the problem. If that is the problem, the drain should have had a "trap primer" to keep it from happening, but they are often not installed, and even when installed do not always operate properly.

  3. #3
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    If you look under any sink in your home, you will find a P trap. Every drain must have a trap. Your toilet has one, but it's built in so you don't really notice it. Their purpose is to prevent sewer gas and even rodents from coming into the house through the sewer. It's actually looks more like a U than a P to me, but be that as it is, they work by holding water in the U which blocks the undesirable from passing into the house. If a drain is not used too often, the water can evaporate and you will get the odor. I have a couple of floor drains that are rarely use, so I pour a quart or so of water in them whenever I think of it. The traps under sinks and tubs are made to come apart for cleaning and/or retrieving lost rings, etc., but traps under concrete floors are glued solid since you can't access them without breaking the floor. Hope this little primer helps.

  4. #4

    Smile

    I'm not sure if this helps or not.

    My washing machine drains into a hole that is actually at the same height as the back of the machine. I assume it was put there because the room itself is a long, narrow rectangle and there is no other place to put the drain. WM fits in one end of rectangle, dryer fits in opposite end. Door between the two goes to garage, door opposite comes into house. (Stupid set up, if you ask me! ) On the other side of the wall next to washer, on the garage side, is the water heater and the furnace, so they couldn't put a drain that direction. I assume the drain leads into the cement and out to wherever it goes from there.

    We use the washing machine just about every other day, so there's no chance it could be dry. Any other suggestions or advice? Thanks again.

  5. #5
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I definitely can be the source of the smell IF the washer drain is not trapped before it enters the main drain.

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default drain

    I assime the "hole" is a square plastic box. If so then it is the common way for a washer drain to be installed and it would be a rare thing for it not to have a trap.

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