Best way to find sewer smell?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Stuff, Feb 16, 2019.

  1. Stuff

    Stuff Well-Known Member

    Mar 7, 2013
    A friend of mine is getting a smell maybe once a week at the top of her basement stairs. She thought it was natural gas so didn't worry about it. :rolleyes: I've told her to get a real plumber out but she's reluctant as she can't see anything broke and the smell goes away. So my goal isn't to tear things apart and fix but give a big nudge.

    I took a quick look and smelled something but didn't see anything obvious. Smell at top/mid of steps, not at bottom. It is an older house with a remodeled bathroom and I can see several cast iron to PVC rubber couplings without the stainless steel band. Other than following my nose what do people do to find the leak?

    Or is it most likely the toilet needs re-seated?
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    Here is a post I found that may be useful.

    Peppermint test. That brings back some old memories. Not sure how you did it but we would put peppermint extract into a bucket of hot water and pour it into the system. The person that poured it in had to stay out of the building because he smelled of peppermint for the rest of the day.

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