Terrible smell in basement as water runs down from kitchen sink. Smell doesn't linger

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by mriceramblz, May 8, 2014.

  1. mriceramblz

    mriceramblz New Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2014
    Location:
    Colorado
    We have a smell problem in our basement ONLY when water from the above kitchen sink or dishwasher runs down the pipe. We have had smoke tests, pipes replaced, pipes snaked and snaked again, special plumber's potions used daily in the sink, bleach and other cleaning poured down the floor drain in the basement. Oh, and have I mentioned we have had the pipe snaked a bazillion times? After one snake the smell went away for a brief time, but then it returned. The smell is really sickening and unlike anything I have ever smelled (not like damp basements, empty P traps, etc). The smell only smells when kitchen water runs down the pipe, not when any other water in the house goes down drains. The smell does not linger at all. After the water stops running the smell is instantly gone.

    Numerous plumbers have come and gone without any idea on how to fix the problem. We've spent thousands of dollars on new pipes, tests and snakes, but nothing works.

    I am desperate to find a solution, as my indigent sister now lives with us and I planned to set her up an apartment in the basement. I can't do it until the smell problem is fixed. We live in a tri-level with a basement (four levels, 1970's model) and the basement is 1/4 of our living space that we can't use. This has been going on for years.

    Please help.
     
    Derekb69 likes this.
  2. edwardh1

    edwardh1 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Location:
    South Carolina
    disconnected vent pipe hidden in a wall?
    are u on septic?
    when did it start?
    lots of remodelling over the years?
    well water?
    more info please
     
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  4. mriceramblz

    mriceramblz New Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2014
    Location:
    Colorado
    We are on city water and sewers, no remodeling, problem started 5+ years ago. I don't know how to check vent pipes inside walls. We checked them from the roof and they didn't look clogged. But then again, we are inept at home improvements and we really don't know much about vent pipes (like where they would be located inside the walls, or how to check them)
     
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    With all you have had done, they should have found any obvious, or common, cause, which means it is almost impossible for us to diagnose it remotely.
     
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Click Notifications up top.
     
  7. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

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    Land of Cheese
    It might be necessary to open up the wall where the vent(s) are to find the source of the problem. The piping can be isolated and tested. Rodding a sewer line is not going to do anything to fix a leak, which is what you apparently have.
     
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Smoke tests, which they say have been done, would detect a leak.
     
  9. Derekb69

    Derekb69 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2015
    Location:
    Iowa
    If you figure the problem out would you please let me know? I have the same exact thing going on! Not one thing is different as far as the problem goes. The smell doesn't reach upstairs at all, in fact it stays in the room with the pipe (out of wall pipe) unless I open that door and that is when that rotten egg smell hit's you. Even though I have easy access to the pipe I still can't locate the stinking problem! Thank you!
     
  10. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    If the 1st floor sink it ties in directly to the 2nd floor sink drainline without a vent before it meets the stack, you can push or pull water from the lower p-trap.
    I would check to see if water remains in the lower p-trap after 2nd floor use, and if it is being drained, figure out a way to vent that trap.
     
  11. krik

    krik Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2014
    Location:
    Maine
    One thing I would try is to block off all basement drains (not sure if you have more than just the floor drain) using test plugs or whatever, and see whether the smell still happens. If not, open them up one at a time until the smell returns. If the smell does happen with all drains plugged it's a bigger problem. Also, although you say it doesn't smell like an "empty trap" you could open a cleanout and take a small whiff to see if the smell is the same.
     
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