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Thread: minor sewer gas smell - new home

  1. #1

    Default minor sewer gas smell - new home

    We just build a new home and moved in. After a few days, we noticed a sewer gas smell coming from the powder bath.

    We called the plumber out (from new home warranty) and he replaced the wax ring. However, when he pulled the toilet off the smell was very strong.

    I have replaced several toilets and failed wax rings and never smelled the sewer gas so strong - even on much older homes.

    After installing the new wax ring, it appears to have stopped the smell - it is no longer noticeable. But, I am very concerned because of such a stong smell when he removed the toilet.

    The bathroom has concrete slab subfloor with ceramic tile. It is a powder bath and gets used once or twice a day. We are in Dallas, TX.

    Is it normal to have a very stong sewer gas smell when the toilet is removed? Or does this give indication that there could be a problem?

    Thanks much for the replies.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    It IS a direct path to the sewer system, so I'm not sure what you'd expect. If the wax seal was compromised, and it went away, the seal and the trap are doing their job.

    A potentially bigger question is why did the seal fail? Does the toilet rock at all? If it does, call them back again to shim the toilet so it doesn't rock or you will have the same problem shortly.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3


    I never did notice the toilet rocking so I am not sure why the seal would have broke - unless it was not properly installed to begin with.

    As far as the seal and trap doing its job - I was curious because I have never had such a strong smell come from the toilet plumbing in any of the toilets I have replaced before.

    I thought that the p-trap in the slab would prevent the odor from coming up - it seemed to have worked that way on other toilets.

    I was just curious if such a very strong smell was normal.

  4. #4
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Yakima WA


    Not sure what you mean by the P trap in the slab. Every fixture must have its own trap, the toilet has its trap built in. There are no other traps in the drain system. Many years ago, the practise was to install a big trap were the drain exited the house thus serving the entire house. This has not been done for many years. I think your problem was the seal was broken on the toilet allowing the odor to get past. With that repaired, you should have no future problems.

  5. #5


    Thanks for the replies. I thought there was a p-trap in the slab as well as one built into the toilet. I guess I was given bad information.

    Would there be any reason to why the odor on this particular toilet is so strong vs. other toilets I replaced?

  6. #6
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    humid summers hot, humid winters cold

    Default any odor is odor.

    The big thing to worry about is the leak. Not the strength of the odor.

    Q: What is the important thing to pay attention to?
    A: The leak. Not the type/degree/intensity of smell that comes out.


  7. #7


    Thanks for all the replies!


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