Sewer smell in bathroom

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by NC Mike, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. NC Mike

    NC Mike New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    NC
    We've had a bad odor coming from a bathroom on the 1st floor every since we moved in. In fact, I'm pretty certain the prior owners were having the same issue because I recall there being a lot of air fresheners in that area of the house when we were looking at it. In any case, I've replaced the wax seal myself twice. I also had a plumber come out, and he said it was a wax seal, so he replaced it a 3rd time. The smell persisted though. I went in the crawl space to see if I could see any sign of smell or dampness on multiple occasions, but nothing. I now think its a vent problem. I went up in the attic and found that the vent comes up to the level of the rafters to a 90 degree bend, it then courses over about 4ft in a horizontal plane, then it takes another horizontal 90 degree bend for another 4ft or so, then it takes a final 90 degree bend and exists through the roof. Does this sound like correct plumbing? It seems to me that this is a perfect "trap" for debris to clog the vent. We've thought off and on that the smell might worsen a little after rain, which I think would contribute to this theory. Any thoughts? Thank you!
  2. Smooky

    Smooky Member

    Messages:
    653
    Location:
    NC
    The vent sounds ok. The 90 degree bends does not sound unusual and should not cause a problem as long as everything is sloped to drain. Are there any other water using fixtures in the bathroom? Is there a sink and does it have a proper drain? Is there a tub and does it get used? Have you checked to see if everything has proper traps? Are there any clean outs in the bathroom? What about floor drains? Could the odor be coming from an outside air intake? Are there any air vents or chimneys in the room? 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?

    As far as noticing the odor more after a rain storm, this may be from an increase in humidity which can affect odor in a room.
    http://www.hvacsalesandsupply.com/Linked Documents/Tech Tips/29-How humidity affects oders.pdf
  3. NC Mike

    NC Mike New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    NC
    Thanks for the reply! My concern/suspicion with regard to the vent is that there is no slope from where it meets the first 90 until it meets the third 90, at which point it goes straight up to the roof.

    The only only other fixture in the bathroom is a sink, which seems to be ok. I don't see any way the odor could be coming from outside. I've sniffed, and the odor seems to be coming from the area of the toilet. The last time the wax seal was replaced, I took the toilet outside and cleaned up the bottom because I thought maybe there was a crack or something, but it looked good.
  4. Timothy LaDuca

    Timothy LaDuca New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Florida
    For my own education/curiosity, would a *lack* of sewer smell at the top of the vent on the roof indicate the vent is the problem? Can you do a sniff test in this situation or do you have to break out the snake which sounds like a nightmare the way this thing is configured.
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