Finding source of smell in bathroom

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by workingtoohard, Oct 7, 2019.

  1. workingtoohard

    workingtoohard New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2019
    Location:
    Chicago
    Reaching the limits of what my nose can, and prefers not to smell. Wondering if someone can recommend a good meter that could possibly help me detect the source of an odd odor in my bathroom.

    I'm living in a high rise, talking to the engineer, there are no gas pipes in my building, so we are guessing what I am smelling is sewer gas. Engineer mentioned that could be a chance of a cracked pipe in the wall but before we get into that heavy wall tearing work, I should maybe look into the cheaper, easier options. I have replaced the wax ring around my toilet, checked my sink P-trap, and taped up my shower drain. Still the smell lingers. Oddly, the smell that lingers seems different from that whiff I get from the sewer drain when my face was unwillingly over it while I work the wax ring. The lingering smell had more of like a leaky gas stove kind of smell, but there are no gas pipes in my building so I'm just clueless at this point, maybe sewer gas smell varies depending on proximity?

    I removed the toilet once again, and this time taped a bunch of duct tape all over the toilet drain, sealing it up, just to confirm if the leaky smell remains. If it does, at least it will rule out the toilet, and any shoddy workmanship when I installed the wax ring. And if it still lingers, and with everything sealed up, I think I need some meter to find that leak for me. Looks like there are different kinds of meters online that sniff for specific chemicals and I don't want to end up with a useless gameboy, anyone have recommendation of what I should get?

    Much appreciated!
     
  2. plumber69

    plumber69 In the Trades

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2014
    Location:
    Prince Rupert, British Columbia
    A dead rat can have a sewer smell, and can linger for 3 or more weeks
     
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  4. workingtoohard

    workingtoohard New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2019
    Location:
    Chicago
    Thanks, I was wondering if something died but the smell has been around for close to 2 months since I've moved in. I'm on the 15th floor too, not sure how high rodents could go.
     
  5. Chucky_ott

    Chucky_ott Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2018
    Location:
    Ontario
    I live with 3 females with long hair. Every once in a while, the bathroom starts to smell like sewer gases. That's my cue to get my snake and clear the sink and shower drain. I usually get a large hair ball with all the crap that you can imagine. Smell gone until next time.

    I sometimes pour bleach down the si k overflow to clear out the gunk from there too.
     
  6. HudsonDIY

    HudsonDIY Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Location:
    Hudson, Florida USA
    +1 For what Chucky said ^

    I had a similar issue in my bathroom once. Just a shot in the dark but you may be experiencing a similar issue. It was driving me crazy trying to find the source of the smell. It turned out to be a plunger in the bathroom linen closet. It was the type with the flap (for lack of a technical term) that folds up inside the plunger. The flap had trapped some water (?) inside and began to brew some noxious concoction of god knows what. I didn't even attempt to recover the plunger, out in the trash it went.
     
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  7. Chucky_ott

    Chucky_ott Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2018
    Location:
    Ontario
    ...and today was the day. I leave them on the counter for one of them to dispose of.
    rat.jpg
     
    HudsonDIY likes this.
  8. Druid

    Druid New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2019
    Location:
    NY
    Can the engineer check the bathrooms above and below you? Can they do a smoke test? Did you check where the p-trap goes into the wall? I've had an unglued vent in the wall cause a terrible smell once that was really hard to find. Is there a clean out somewhere that was recently opened on not sealed good?
     
  9. workingtoohard

    workingtoohard New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2019
    Location:
    Chicago
    We found the problem! I ripped the toilet bowl out, and detached the sink pipes and tape sealed them all up, yet the smell still lingered. Felt I was getting close to going crazy and inspected every other nook and cranny around the bathroom and found the smell the strongest coming out of one of my wall lights. Upon disassembly, found a draft through a hole in the wall for the electrical wires. Now that I know for sure it is from inside the wall, the engineer came by to rip the wall off and found a cracked ventilation pipe. Fixed it and now my bathroom smells great! Like a normal bathroom!
     

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