(206) 949-5683, Top Rated Plumber, Seattle
Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Septic Smell Terrorizes Room & Confuses Experts

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member roadrunnercj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    2

    Default Septic Smell Terrorizes Room & Confuses Experts

    Where to start ….

    We bought a new house in 2009 that was built in 2006 but had been unoccupied for years. It has 4 ˝ bathrooms and is on septic. The problem is the living room all the way on one side of the house fills up with the smell of septic primarily when we do a couple loads of laundry (other end of the house), but sometimes from just a few showers or a heavy rain. It’s not a slight smell either … No, this is more like the smell of a Bathroom off the Jersey Turnpike just after a bus pulls up from an All you can eat Mexican buffet.

    The builder, County Septic Dept, Plumber & Septic Installer have all tried to figure out the problem. They have tried flushing “peppermint” in an upstairs toilet to see if we can figure out where in the room the smell is coming. They have tried putting a camera down the vent stack to see if any nails or holes existed. They tried wishing the problem away nothing worked.

    One interesting possible clue or coincidence is that when they capped the vent stack (closest to the living room) in the attic after cutting into it for the camera access … the smell seemed to go away. Then it returned when they reconnected the roof vent. The home has three other vent stacks too. The washing machine is on the second floor but only the one room LR on the first floor really gets the full force of the smell.

    I have been reading on the internet for a few days and I understand the vent probably takes more volume of air to equalize the pressure from the draining washing machine but how could capping a stack help eliminate an odor problem? The builder & plumber are now considering a Studor or AAV valve in the attic and not using the rest of the pipe that extends through the roof but I am still concerned about how the smell is getting in that one room & if using the AAV is treating the symptom and not the problem.

    Adding to the confusion is Comcast who decided to ignore marked utility lines and trench over my drain field … not sure if that has anything to do with the smell either but all the sinks/toilets/tubs seem to be draining properly and the smell is inside so I am inclined to continue focusing on the vent stack.

    So if anyone has other idea … I would really like to hear them.

    Thanks RR

  2. #2
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    South*East
    Posts
    1,121

    Default

    Try extending the vent pipe on the roof. I have seen conditions where the wind passing over the roof can send sewer gases in the home through ridge vents, louvers & soft vents.

    John

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member roadrunnercj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Thanks John. We had discussed that or even put on a candy cane on that one stack, but it still begs the question ...

    1. How is the smell getting into the room
    2. Why it seems to be triggered more regularly by large volumes of water
    3. Why when the stack was camera scoped they didn't see any issues

  4. #4
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    South*East
    Posts
    1,121

    Default

    Once the sewer gas gets in the attic it can go anywhere in the house. I had one where you could smell it coming from an electrical outlet. It had gotten in the attic then down a wall and out through the opening in the dry wall around the outlet. There still can be a cracked vent line some where in the system. There are other tests that can be done to determine if this is the case. You stated that the smell went away when you capped the vent. That is why I suggested extending that vent pipe. It may just solve your problem.

    John

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Posts
    25,633

    Default odor

    quote; 1. How is the smell getting into the room
    2. Why it seems to be triggered more regularly by large volumes of water
    3. Why when the stack was camera scoped they didn't see any issues

    1. There are many possibilities, but without being there we cannot tell you which apply to your situation
    2. Large volumes of water create a greater air flow.
    3. Probably because the problem is NOT in the piping itself.
    4. I would prefer to do my own diagnosis, rather than depend on a description of what others have done.

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    892

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by roadrunnercj View Post
    The problem is the living room all the way on one side of the house fills up with the smell of septic primarily when we do a couple loads of laundry (other end of the house), but sometimes from just a few showers or a heavy rain.
    Emphasis mine.

    The "heavy rain" aspect might be worth considering by some of the experts here. Rain should not be affecting the plumbing in your home since it doesn't result in any flow inside and the effect on the stacks would be negligible.

    Since you are on septic it sounds as if the rains are affecting the septic system.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •