Sewerage/sulphur smell in house?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by DL, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. DL

    DL New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Augusta, GA/Southport, NC
    Hello,

    I am renting a house in Homestead, FL while I am working on a project here.

    The house stinks like sewerage or sulphur? I have poured bleach down all the drains, didn't work. I had a water softner and whole house water filteration system installed, that didn't work ?

    I've had the water system for about a week, still stinks in the house.

    What do you guys think I should do next?

    Thanks
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    Do you smell anything outside in the yard? Where is the vent on the roof and how much sticks out above it? Do you have city sewer or a septic system?
  3. DL

    DL New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Augusta, GA/Southport, NC
    Sorry, been out of town.

    I am on city sewerage. I don't smell anything outside. Vent pipes look good as far as I can tell, from ground viewing.

    House is a single story home.

    Contacted a local plumbing company today. They said they can do a smoke test through the vents on the roof to find the source of the smell.

    Cost is $300.00 to do the test?? Sound good?

    Thanks
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    Last edited: Jul 21, 2008
  5. DL

    DL New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Augusta, GA/Southport, NC
    I don't know.. I have smelled the water from the faucet outside, It doesn't have a bad smell to it.
  6. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    Location:
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    Its possible that its in the water heater. I'd say test for it any way.
  7. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

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    836
    Location:
    Webster Ma.
    I had a faucet smell of sulphur once. Does the house smell all the time or only when you run water or something else.
  8. orfeo

    orfeo New Member

    Messages:
    5
    i remember going up to my friends farm which used well water and the sulphur smell there was pretty bad and you had to clear the taps for a bit each time you went up there. I spoke to my lecturer about it and he said it was a bacteria solution, basically you have a thing of sulphate down in the well and the bacteria love the stuff and eat it and make sulphur dioxide and up your pipes it goes. But the bad bacteria remain in the well and don't come up the pipe.

    Anyway, a bit off topic and probably doesn't relate to your case :)
  9. DL

    DL New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Augusta, GA/Southport, NC
    Have a whole house water filter and softner installed on water line entering house. I don't smell it in the water.

    As soon as I walk into the house every day, it has an odor.

    I figure tub drains, washing machine drain, toilet wax rings ?( tile on all floors in bathrooms, no stains around toilet where tile meets toilet?) All sinks have p-traps installed?

    I don't know? :confused:
  10. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    Location:
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    Well the reason we are having trouble with this is a suphur smell usually is a water problem, and a sewage problem usually smells like poop.

    the two never seem to meet unless someone is poopin and burning matches thinking it covers the stench.:rolleyes:
  11. DL

    DL New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Augusta, GA/Southport, NC

    .. A friend in my neighborhood a few houses down, doesn't have the smell in his house. Another person I know on the same side of the street as me, doesn't smell in his house. It may be the water may not? I'm going to find out soon, if its the shitter or the water...lol
  12. FloridaOrange

    FloridaOrange Plumbing Designer

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    Location:
    SW Florida
    Could the smell be coming from the hot water side of your faucets only?
  13. DL

    DL New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Augusta, GA/Southport, NC
    I don't see how since I have the water going into the hot water heater filtered and softened. I drained the hot water heater when I had the softner and filter put in.
  14. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    Location:
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    Have your water tested for SRB's
  15. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

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    Location:
    Central Florida
    I also filter and soften my water, but quickly determined it was in the hot water only. It's a very common problem.

    First, verify this suspicion by smelling both the hot (only) and cold (only) in a shower, sink, or wherever. Oddly, results may differ at different fixtures. If it is in fact the hot water,

    1) try pouring a quart or so of hydrogen peroxide into the water heater. Let it sit for a while and see what happens over the next day or 2. No need to drain the WH. If the smell goes away, you've found the source but fixed it only temporarily.

    2) for a permanent fix, replace the anode rod with either an aluminum or aluminum/zinc/tin rod specially-designed to combat this problem. Google "anode rod smell" to find a number of sites that explain the problem and sell these rods, which are usually hard to find locally. I use an aluminum rod (which some sites say won't work -- they're wrong) that I bought for about $20, plus a couple bucks for shipping. Since you soften your water, the anode rod will have to be replaced more often. How old is your WH?

    3) and/or raise the WH temperature to above 140F. This has the positive side-effect of preventing growth of legionella bacteria, but it produces scalding water, and raises your electric/gas bill.
  16. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    Having the WH thermostat up high has several other functional benefits...you get more hot water for the same sized tank at typical uses. It is a good idea to install a tempering valve to limit the outlet temperature. This mixes cold water to bring the outlet temp down to where you set it (typically around 119-degrees, but they're adjustable). In a climate like FL, especially in the southern parts, the energy loss wouldn't be as great because standby losses are less when the temperature differential isn't great. Put one in an unheated garage, or basement in Maine, and that's a different story!
  17. DL

    DL New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Augusta, GA/Southport, NC
    I talked to the plumber today. I called him earlier this week and we both agreed to check the house out today before doing a smoke test. He stopped by this morning, Came inside the house and noticed the sulphur smell I was describing. He said it wasn't a septic /sewerage problem. Said he didn't have any idea where the smell was coming from and said he would talk to some other people to see what idea they may have. Didn't charge me anything for stopping by, nice guy.

    I guess the next thing to do is what Mikey said.

    I am renting the house, the landlord said he had a water heater put in sometime last year.

    Rheem Fury Water Heater
    Mfg date 02/2007
    Model 82MV52-2 50 gallon
    Upper & Lower Element 4500/3380

    When I first got to FL, I stayed with a friend who owns a house close by to where I am right now. He had a house with a detached mother in-law suite that I stayed in for a month. It had the same smell in it, I thought it was the water. I was in his house several times but I didn't notice the smell. Water & HVAC came from his house. I thought it was the water? I guess it wasn't??
    What else could it be????

    Anyone know a name of a Company that specializes in air/ground anaylsis to find my problem in my area? Should I start with county/city municipal depts to help? Could it be the ground the house is built on? The house is on a slab, could the concrete slab be absorbing the ground water underneath the house and passing along the smell in the water into the conrete foundation? Smell is in the whole house bathrooms, bedrooms, garage.


    Man this is a wierd problem to solve or maybe I'm over looking something that is an easy fix?
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2008
  18. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    Last edited: Jul 20, 2008
  19. DL

    DL New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Augusta, GA/Southport, NC
  20. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    Location:
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    I just figured since the answer to your smell had been given 13 posts & 10 days ago it was time to say it louder...:D
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