Odor problem

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by JeffG, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. JeffG

    JeffG New Member

    Jan 11, 2005
    Hi, I'm new to this forum, as well as a new homeowner. Although I didn't have much experience with plumbing, construction, electrical work, I've managed to pick a lot up from my friends and the folks at home depot, and have been able to gut and redo my upstairs bathroom.

    However, now I am at the point where I am trying to figure out what to do about an odor that has been coming from the bathroom area in my basement. The smell was there when I bought the house (although I thought it was due to the previous owner's pets... they were messy people) and has gotten steadilly stronger over time.

    The house is a ranch, and there is an entrance way in the finished basement that is right next to a small 1/2 bathroom. I tried replacing the wax seal on the toilet, to no avail. There was a hole in the panelling on the outisde of the bathroom that seemed to be the source of the odor, so I decided to gut the bathroom (since it wasn't in good shape either) to see if I could find the source of the problem. I put a plug in the flange, and when I tore down the walls, I found nothing... that is, there weren't any holes in the pcv line from the sink drain to the wall where it heads over to the vent, which is ~10 feet away behind the laundry room wall next the bathroom. The smell is stronger now, and is actually causing my wife and I some distress.

    I don't have a ton of money to throw around, so I am reluctant to call a plumber unless I have exhausted what I can do myself. I'm thinking my next step is to cut up the bathroom floor (which is over the concrete basement floor) and see if there is a crack in the PVC/ABS line that is running from the 4" flange (which appears to be in good condition) to the vent.

    My concen is that I don't really know where the smell is coming from... is there a method to locate the exact source? If I cut up the floor, and there is a crack in the 4" line leading to the flange, I'm assuming I can repair this with new 4" tubing in the same way that I used to repair drains in my upstairs bathroom... with the universal primer and glue.

    If I cut up the floor and there is nothing obvious, my thinking is that my next step is to tear down the wall in the laundry room to look at the vent and see if there is a hole over there leaking the smell. I figure if there is a hole in the main vent itself, I need to call a plumber, but if it is any of the other lines leading off the vent, I can just cut out the offending section, and patch it with new plastic pipe, and a pair of couplers.

    Any advice that anyone can offer is appreciated... I need to resolve this issue fast, and, as I indicated above, in the most econmic way possible. I'm thinking that I am saving money by getting the walls out of the way even if I do need to call a plumber, as I assume he/she would need to do that anyway.

  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    Tearing out walls and floors is not exactly inexpensive troubleshooting especially if you don't find the problem. I realize some of what you did was need repair, but before you tear the whole place apart, it would be my advice to seek professional help. Sometimes it's more economical to pay the man.
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