help with bathroom smell

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by gbishere, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. gbishere

    gbishere New Member

    sw fl
    strange smell in bathroom. I have considered it as mold, cockroach investation, or faulty plumbing. newly married and short on funds I need help. It's our master bathroom and we can even smell in bed. I took out half the walls already no mold, some cockroach poop that I cleaned up good but no difference in smell. smell really started one day after we had a clog in main pipe going to septic system and alittle water backed up from washing machine that I told my wife not to run until we fix clog. Just a little bit of water backed up out of master toilet so I took off base boards around toilet to let dry. Again nothing crazy backed up just little bit so I wanted to make sure drywall dried good I set up alittle fan. When opening up those baseboards opened up a can of worms bc that's when everything started smelling. . It must of been holding back the smell. so I need help. There are old copper pipes that were used before they were all replaced by pvc pipes. Looks like they were for bringing in water to house. What could this smell be. we bought the house not knoing about this so we feel alittle screwed. Do these old copper pipes need to be sodered shut? Or what else should I look for
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014
  2. gbishere

    gbishere New Member

    sw fl
    I have been tearing apart bathroom Walls everything bc will slowly be remodeling. I took out half the walls already no mold. I can see old copper pipes exposed. And new pvc pipes hooked up
  3. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    I sometimes paint the wood with Zerolac to seal in odors.
    Since you have this open, it's a good time to try it.
  4. Smooky

    Smooky Member

    The odor could be coming from the base of the toilet. If the toilet rocks or moves in any way the wax ring can allow sewer odor to come out. Does the sink have a proper trap? Is it vented through the roof or do you have an air admittance valve (AAV)? AAV’s can go bad and allow odor into the living space. Have you tried to sniff out exactly where the odor is coming from? Are there cracks or areas that are difficult to clean that could be the source of the odor?
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    You might bring in a few more-experienced noses who might be able to better distinguish mold, urine, sewer gas, dead rat...
  6. IssuedSig

    IssuedSig New Member

    New York
    Do you have any old DWV piping that isn't being used and not capped off that is still connected to the system? Is your toilet seated properly? It is possible that you have a bad seal at the wax ring and the sewer gas is leaking from the base of the toilet.
  7. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    New York, NY
    I had a smell in the city apartment that was just hideous. I was pretty sure it was sewer gas, but I found it hard to believe that it would just start coming from the toilet seal without any precipitating event (i.e rocked it, plunged it hard, etc.) and there were none. The maintenance supervisor said, just on hearing the description, "It's the wax ring on the toilet. I will send someone in today to reset it." He has 27 years in this building and 450 units on which to gain experience, so I trust him completely, but still it seemed like it had to be more than that. Nope. They reset the toilet and problem instantly solved.

    (Terry by the way made a comment in another thread about how these old lowboy toilets usually have a high-flow fill valve because they use so much water. That's what I have in that apartment. When they reset the toilet, they took out the substantial-diameter hardline to the toilet and replaced it with a flex hose [which I'm not sure meets code in NYC, but who am I to challenge them?]. Sure enough, the narrower-diameter hose means the toilet takes significantly-longer to fill.)
  8. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    North Vancouver, BC
    Could the smell be coming up through the ground? Do you have a cracked sewer pipe under your home?

    A camera inspection will tell you this.

    Maybe a cracked vent pipe.

    A test plug and flood test of the vent lines will tell you that.

    We ripped apart a garage and inspected every joist cavity to find the door coming from a golf bag. Where the owner of the golf bag bought some Shallets from a road side vendor. xixx months ago!

    rotten onions smell like dead rats - FYI
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