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Thread: another stinky kitchen drain and dishwasher problem

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Lynn V's Avatar
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    Unhappy another stinky kitchen drain and dishwasher problem

    I have a bad odor coming from kitchen drain and up thru dishwasher. Also, when I wash dishes and open door, odor very bad. Also comes up bathroom drain slightly. Worse when I open up the house. Going on for over a year. I have had three dishwasher repairmen out and finally bought new dishwasher. The drain hose is properly looped. The city has tested water quality - no issues. Four different plumbers have been out four times (same company but different people). All traps in house now have water (two didn't). Trap under sink perfectly clean. Clean-out in basement replaced because not completely screwed in. House smoked and found loose vent pipe and repaired. No vents clogged. I have cleaned drain and dishwasher over and over with both bleach and vinegar/baking soda combination, etc. As far as we can tell, no dead animals or mold issues. Still have odor, although at this point seems not as bad but still intolerable on dishes and in kitchen. They did not snake kitchen drain for clogs further down, but drains do seem to drain fine.

    Any ideas for what next? Plumbers are now saying maybe tear out kitchen cabinets and walls and look at pipes going up there. Perhaps pressure from smoke was not enough to show up on first floor, but they say that is a long shot and don't seem anxious to do it.

  2. #2
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    A picture of the sink cabinet, the inside and how things are hooked up would help.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Lynn V's Avatar
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    Name:  cabinet.jpg
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    Thank you for your reply. I have tried to attach pictures but not sure I succeeded.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    If the dishwasher line is looped high in the cabinet, then it's as good as you can get. I don't think it's the plumbing.
    I prefer a metal shield coupling going from the gavlavinzed to the plastic, but if the rubber isn't torn, that's not going to be a issue with smell.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member Lynn V's Avatar
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    My plumbers think the plumbing is clean, also. But don't know where to go from here. Also, smell not in hot water, but did drain hot water heater and have kept temp at 140 degrees.

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    DIY Senior Member Smooky's Avatar
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    Over that sink is a window, so where does that vent pipe go?

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member Lynn V's Avatar
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    I don't know. There is a vent pipe on the roof above it, but don't know exactly how it is connected. When the house was smoked, smoke came up through both vents. However, we only cut the drywall out, which covered the area from the top of the sink to the black joint, after it was smoked. The plumber did say that he could not get anything to move, so he thought the joint was solid.
    Last edited by Lynn V; 10-02-2013 at 06:32 PM.

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    DIY Senior Member Reach4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn V View Post
    I have a bad odor coming from kitchen drain and up thru dishwasher. Also, when I wash dishes and open door, odor very bad.
    1. Did any of the plumbers or others say what they thought the smell smelled like? Plumbers would be able to distinguish the smell of plumbing from a dead animal etc, I would think.

    2. Do you smell the smell at the kitchen sink all of the time, or just when water is being used somewhere?

    3. I have an idea for measuring the pressure at the far side of the P trap under the sink.( Before doing this, wait until somebody agrees this would be worthwhile. ) Get about 6 to 10 feet of clear plastic tubing. Old oxygen tubing would be good for this if it is small enough to get through the drain. Push one end of the tubing down the sink drain about 3 feet. That will move the tip through the trap to the other side. Blow the free end hard to blow out any water. Put the free end into a glass of water and push to near the bottom of the glass. Rig something to hold the tube.... Note how high in the free end of the tube the water level goes. Ideally, it will be at the same level as the water in the glass. If the level in the tube is lower than the level in the glass, measure the difference as best you can. Keep it there for a while, and note changes when you operate various plumbing. Maybe do a load of wash.

    4. Grinding ice cubes in the garbage disposal is one way to clean a disposer.You even put in a new disposer, so I think we can eliminate the disposer.

    5. I am curious what that clear corrugated tube is. I doubt it is related to your smell, but what is it?

    I am not a pro or expert on plumbing.

  9. #9
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    4. Grinding ice cubes in the garbage disposal is one way to clean a disposer.You even put in a new disposer, so I think we can eliminate the disposer.
    She doesn't have a disposer. So yes, that's elimated.

    5. I am curious what that clear corrugated tube is. I doubt it is related to your smell, but what is it?
    That's the dishwasher drain.

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member Reach4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    That's the dishwasher drain.
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    I was referring to what I labeled A. Isn't the dishwasher what I labeled as B?

    D would be the sprayer hose.

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member Lynn V's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your comments - I really appreciate your efforts. Terry is correct - both A and B are dishwasher hose. D is the hose to the sink sprayer. I do not have the smell all of the time coming up thru the drain. In this weather, I close up the house at night. When I open doors and windows in the day, the smell will immediately waft up thru the drain and dishwasher. It will subside for a while and then it will become noticeable again. Sometimes after closing up the house and cleaning the drain with vinegar and baking soda, I can use the dishwasher with no odor. Odor does seem to get a lot worse with several loads of laundry during the day (no odor in washing machine or in drains in that area). You ask what does it smell like? The plumber did not think it smelled particularly of sewer gas. More like very dirty dishwater or maybe a cross between sewer gas and dirty dishwasher, but hard to describe. No dead animals. This has been going on for over a year. (I was very sick for a long time and was not able to attack this problem sooner.) It has also seemed a lot worse during the last two summers.

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Hot water which is what dishwashers use, can develop a "rotten egg" smell similar to sewer gas. This can permeate the building, but is most obvious in closed areas such as dishwashers, or after prolonged hot water usage, such as tubs and showers. I had to replace a water heater last week that could not be purged of the odor.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member Lynn V's Avatar
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    Thank you. It is not a sulphur smell. Also, I replaced the hot water heater a year ago, and the smell started before that. I do not notice any smell when I run the hot water even to where it is steaming. I have drained it and I do keep the temp above 140 degrees. Also, when I used to wash glasses in dishwasher (I now use disposables), they would often smell strongly like my cats after I put water (bottled) in them. From other threads, I picked up that eggs might be causing this, so I no longer wash anything used for cooking eggs without first cleaning in cold water and soap. Oh, no 'possums in house either!

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    DIY Senior Member Smooky's Avatar
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    “Odor does seem to get a lot worse with several loads of laundry during the day”

    This sounds like a venting issue. When the washer drains a lot of water is going down the pipe. The water causes a vacuum behind the water if there is no air coming in the vent pipe or if it is not vented correctly. The vacuum can suck water out of the p-trap in the sink. If this is happening you may here a (glug, glug, glug) sound in the sink drain when the washer is draining.

    “When I open doors and windows in the day, the smell will immediately waft up”

    If you only notice the odor when you open the doors and windows, then that may be a different issue.

  15. #15
    DIY Junior Member Lynn V's Avatar
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    I have not noticed a glug when the washer is being used, but I will remember to listen when I wash tomorrow. I have associated the increased odor when doors and windows are open with a decrease in pressure in the house and therefore less pressure on the drain and it takes less force for the odor to get thru two traps and a dishwasher hose (unprofessional, seat of the pants opinion only). Also, last night I read something about how traps that had been dry for a long time might have bacteria and just need to be cleaned real well. So I used baking soda/vinegar in the two drains that had been dry in the basement, the kitchen sink, and the bathroom and followed it up with bleach. This definitely made the odor more strongly waft up thru the dishwasher, which has a trap by the way, but not up thru the kitchen sink.

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