Another toilet install resulting in sewer smell

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by BigRob_NH, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. BigRob_NH

    BigRob_NH Software Engineer

    Nashua NH
    Good evening folks,
    I have the same issue as a thread started just a few days ago where a recently installed toilet is resulting in a sewer gas smell. In my case I removed the old toilet and had a tile floor installed. I then had a plumber in to raise my flange, reseat the toilet etc.
    The toilet was rock solid and exhibited no water leaks. However, within a day we started detecting a foul odor in that bathroom. I had the plumber back this morning and he reseated the toilet with a new wax ring. I watched the whole operation. Cleaned the horn/flange thorougly and to my untrained eye seated it cleanly. However after airing out the house for the day, I closed the window and room and the smell is back again.

    One thing I noted is that the flange was raised but the bottom isn't flush with the floor. It is ever so slightly below flush with the floor (maybe 1/16th of an inch). A good portion of the flange is above floor level though.

    Another thing I noticed was that the left side looked slightly lower than the right so I'd say that the flange isn't exactly level with respect to the floor. Again, not dramatic but visible.

    I've searched here and found possible "solutions" to be to use two rings or use a waxless setup. I went out and purchased the fluidmaster 7500 waxless system tonight.

    The plumber is coming back tomorrow to try again. Sorry for the long post but I'm finally down to my questions.
    1) should I insist that the flange be flush with the floor?
    2) along those lines, is the fact that it's slightly out of level a show stopper?
    3) should we just try a thicker wax ring or two rings or would the Fluidmaster waxless setup give us the best chance for success.

    Thanks in advance for any help with this. I'm just trying to educate myself so I can have an intelligent exchange with the plumber who does seem to be working hard to get this right. Not having set a toilet before I can't speak to the level of difficulty though.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    Ideally, the flange would have been installed on top of the finished floor. If you tiled up to the old one, then there's no easy way to do that - it can't just be hanging there in the air, it has to be attached. So, what's under yours?

    Slightly out of level is annoying for having a pro reset the flange, but you still should be able to get a good seal. It may require a double wax or extra thick. The waxless should work - wire brush the inside of the pipe to clean any crud out if it isn't clean now. I've used several of those seals and not had any problems. Most plumbers don't like to use them because they cost probably 10x what a wax ring costs, and normally, that works well as it has for decades.
  3. BigRob_NH

    BigRob_NH Software Engineer

    Nashua NH
    Hi Jim,
    Thanks for the response.

    I didn't observe the raising of the original flange. He cut out the original, ran new 3" PVC and a new flange. There appears to be some sort of PVC spacer underneath the current (new) flange. Screws were run through the flange and the spacer into the floor and it seems secure.

    I agree that I was a tad disappointed in the fact that the new flange isn't exactly perfect. Getting it done correctly and expertly was why I called in a plumber in the first place. Maybe I just had my expectations set too high. If the opinions here are that I'm not doomed to failure with the current setup, I'll keep with the simpler solutions.

    I have the waxless in hand and will try and see if he'd take a shot at using that. Otherwise I'll request thick/double wax and a reset.
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    When he reset the toilet was the wax seal he replaced crushed? Sometimes when a flange is not high enough the wax ring doesn't even touch the toilet.
  5. BigRob_NH

    BigRob_NH Software Engineer

    Nashua NH
    It looks like things are OK now. I think he just got sloppy, was rushing or whatnot.

    The first time we pulled the toilet he said it looked like he had caught it when seating it and it had been pushed askew. So, the second ring he installed he sorta squished down a bit w/his thumbs first to help it adhere.

    The second time we pulled the toilet it had only made contact w/about 1/3 of the ring. Not having done this before I can't explain how he didn't feel that happening. The combination of his squishing technique and the slightly recessed/tilted flange resulted in failure to seal.

    This time he went with a jumbo ring. I watched him seat it this time and it looked to me as though it squished the ring this time. Thus far, it looks like we've got a seal.
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