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Thread: septic smell in my home

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member amy grindstaff's Avatar
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    Default septic smell in my home

    I just bought my house almost two months ago. It was built in 1950. there is one original bathroom and one additional bathroom added in later years. when i purchased it the disclosure statement said sewer smell after rain but the owners had paid over $1000 to have it fixed and assured me it was repaired. When i first moved in, we thought the smell was coming from an old drainage system in the basement used for the washer (not connected to rain???) so we rerouted the washer ... this did nothing. we cannot connect the smell to any certain event. We have it one day and then not again for three, etc. for the last three mornings i have been awoke by this smell that i could not sleep through. I mean the worst imaginable smell. I thought my child would vomit before we could leave. I expected my floors to be covered in sewage. I can find no connection to anything i am doing. laundry, rain, showers, temperatures, nothing!! the smell is in the older bathroom and right outside the older bathroom wall. the vent runs up from the basement in this wall out the roof. we have checked it, it is not stopped up. the smell is also in our basement under this bathroom. we have a second floor, which has been getting pretty hot these last few 90 degree days so I put a box fan in the window before bed to pull out the heat (we do have a heat pump but the upstairs still gets very hot). the smell this morning seemed 5 times worse and seem to even go upstairs. I assume the fan was pullling air through the house and apparently pulling these gases even more than normal but we cannot find the source. we have no leaks, etc. there is a shower in this older bathroom we do not use because there is no water pressure. we plan to repair this but haven't had a chance so far. I have heard of dry drains but would this not be an everyday issue if it was only a 'dry' drain. I am going to run water and put bleach in it tonight per a plumber's suggestion. i called a plumber but considering the previous owners paid alot of money already, i am concerned we may be wasting our time. any suggestions or ideas would be greatedly appreciated !!!!
    Last edited by amy grindstaff; 06-02-2011 at 11:29 AM.

  2. #2
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    It is very possible that you have a leaking vent pipe somewhere which may require a pressure or smoke test to locate. It may also require removing and replacing some wallboard around the existing plumbing to locate and/or repair.

    If you have any fixtures or floor drains you do not use regularly, pour a few cups of water or bleach water in those drains on occasion to make sure the traps do not dry up.

  3. #3
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    If there are no obvious signs of where it is leaking from I would have a plumber look at it and then perform a Smoke Test.

  4. #4

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    I would contact the person the sellers paid and ask what and where the problem was as well as the extent of the work performed. They may have suggested more extensive repairs.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member amy grindstaff's Avatar
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    we did call them. they paid a company to dig up the septic and run a new line of some sort and put in a new septic lid (????) and a pipe to check the sewer. not sure what they are called but it sticks up in the yard and has a lid. we thought it was the washer run off so we re-routed that. this weekend we took up the toilet and put in a new ring that goes down the pipe to make sure no fumes escape and a new wax ring (another $32!). we also ran water for 5 minutes in the unused bathtub and put in bleach per the instructions of a plumber. The smell isn't as strong as last week but we can still smell the sewer. if there was any consistency to the smell, it would definitely help find the problem but there isn't. not sure what next to try except calling a plumber...............:confused.Thank you for all of your replies !

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