Funky-ish odor in kitchen sink

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by CindyJ, Jul 8, 2014.

  1. CindyJ

    CindyJ Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    About 3 months ago, we had a kitchen renovation completed. Included in the renovation were a new double-bowl sink and new dishwasher. The new sink is about 24" from where the old sink was situated, so the sink plumbing was shifted accordingly.

    About two weeks after all was completed, I started noticing a strange odor at the sink. This odor did not exist before the renovation. It doesn't smell like rotten food and it doesn't smell like a decaying animal. It's hard to describe it except to say it's mildly funky. At first I thought it was coming from the dishwasher, but I notice it even when the dishwasher is closed. Another thing I should mention is that after the water has been running for a short while, I no longer notice it. Maybe my sense of smell is just adapting to it, but it seems to go away when the water runs. It might be relevant to mention that I do not have an under-sink garbage disposal.

    Can anyone help me identify the likely source of this odor? And, more importantly, help me get rid of it. Thanks!
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,926
    Location:
    IL
    See if http://terrylove.com/forums/index.php?threads/swampy-sulfur-smell-from-upstairs-faucets.57569/ helps.

    Maybe run a quart of hot and a quart of cold into separate containers. Take them away from the sink. Smell each container, or better yet, get a young nose to smell. If there is a difference in smells, look to the plumbing. If the problem is more with the hot, you could try raising the hot water heater temperature for a while. Then run hotter than normal water slowly from the tap. Then put the water heater temperature back to normal. If you have a tempering valve, that could prevent extra-hot water from making it to the faucet.

    It could also be the sink trap. A little bleach solution down the drain slowly could help that. Does your sink stopper leak just a little? If so, put about 1 gallon of water into each stoppered bowl of your sink. Put a tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach into each bowl. That corresponds to a little over 200 ppm chlorine. Stir with a spoon etc. Let the water trickle down the drains. If the bowls have not emptied in an hour, help it along. Avoid holding your hand in the bleach water. If you do get the solution on your skin, probably no reaction will occur, but rinsing in a different sink would be reasonable.

    I wonder if your city water does not have residual chlorine by the time that it hits the kitchen faucets. Particularly the hot line might be almost chlorine-free. I don't think I have heard that discussed. With a well, people routinely disinfect their pipes and faucets if they sanitize their wells (after well work, and for some people maybe biannually). Some high sensitivity chlorine strips, such as a pool store would have, could check for that. Note that this is not normal test, but I think I would do it if I had musty smells coming out of the faucet. I am not a pro. I don't think this is standard advice. I have a well that I have sanitized. Whoopee.
  3. presence

    presence New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Here and Now
    I suspect you have something in your trap; some eggs or something. Fill the sink to the top... then let it drain out to flush your trap clear.
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,799
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Did you install deeper sinks?
    Can you post a 800 pixel or less picture of how it's connected?
  5. CindyJ

    CindyJ Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    The new sinks are pretty much an updated version of what I had previously. My husband thinks it might have something to do with where the dishwasher is connected in relation to where the trap is. I hope this photo gives you a good idea of the plumbing configuration.

    And FWIW, we have well water with an inline filter and a septic system.

    [​IMG]

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2014 at 9:29 AM
  6. Smooky

    Smooky Member

    Messages:
    569
    Location:
    NC
  7. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,799
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Your S-Trap is siphoning.
    Also, the dishwasher needs to be installed with either a high loop, or an air gap. Right now, with some dishwashers, the sink can backflow into your dishwasher. Yuch! :(

    Here is a small sink with an AAV for venting.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    The sink drain is run with 2", and the p-trap is 1.5"
    The AAV is higher than the trap arm.
  8. CindyJ

    CindyJ Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Thanks so much! This is all very helpful.
  9. CindyJ

    CindyJ Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    To follow up... I had a lengthy conversation with the plumber who did the work in my kitchen renovation. He doesn't seem to think that an AAV will solve the problem because he feels it's more likely caused by a clog in the venting somewhere in the house.

    I had forgotten until he reminded me that the first time the water was turned on at the kitchen sink, the water did not drain. After a bit of aggressive plunging, a mess of yucky black stuff came up and then drained. Since then the sink has been draining just fine (as far as I can tell). The plumber is guessing that there's another clog somewhere in the system. He also said that adding an AAV under the sink would mask the odor, not prevent it, and that the odor could well show up somewhere else in the house, most likely in the laundry room or the powder room, both of which are fairly close to the kitchen. He also said that the only way to be sure there's not a clog is to bring some kind of equipment to the house that's made for clearing sewer systems, to go up to the roof where the main vent comes through and run the equipment. He said that other, larger plumbing companies have equipment with cameras that enable the plumber to actually see inside the pipes, but he doesn't have anything like that. I hope I'm describing this correctly and that this is making sense.

    So I'm not sure where to go from here. The plumber isn't pushing this as a solution he wants to sell to me; it's just his best guess as to what's causing the problem. He also said if we did want him to do this, he really can't estimate what this would cost because he can't say how long it would take to do the job. And, since this isn't directly caused by the renovation per se, the cost wouldn't be covered by the warranty I received from the general contractor. I wish there was a way I could troubleshoot the problem to know the best, surest, most cost-effective way to approach the resolution.

    I need some guidance -- how should I proceed from this point? Thanks!
  10. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,799
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    For starters, take the advice of a plumber of 40 years, not the hack that installled your plumbing.

    What you have is an S-trap, an ilegal S-trap at that. Pull a permit, and the plumbing inspector can clue in your handyhack.
    That needs to be replumbed with an AAV or, run it proper and vent through the roof. Your handyman's excuse is one for the books. His premise that if you vent something proper, the problem just shows up somewhere else. How did he come up that bit of nonsense?

    [​IMG]

    The wrong way to plumb a kitchen sink.

    Also, take the dishwasher hose and at least strap it up high in the cabinet so that the goo from the sink doesn't flow downhill into the dishwasher.
    In Washington State they like an above the counter Air-Gap for those connections.

    [​IMG]

    Next time you talk to your "plumber" get his license number and check if he's registered with the State.
    Someone needs to clue this guy in.
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