Sewage smell in guest bathroom...

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Driving36, Jul 11, 2006.

  1. Driving36

    Driving36 New Member

    Jul 11, 2006
    I'm sorry for adding to the list of "sewage smell" issues, but I've been lurking and I wanted to see what you all had to say about this. I know nothing about plumbing, so I hope I don't sound too ignorant.

    In April, we bought a house that was built in 1989 and the day we moved in, I smelled a sewage odor in the guest bath. I asked my husband about it and he said he didn't smell anything, but apparently I have a very good nose. After about a month (when the problem didn't magically correct itself as I had hoped it would :) :) ), I started researching why it might smell like a sewer in my g.b. I poured water down the drains to fill the traps, etc., but it still smelled like sewage. My husband even admits he smells it now. I also sometimes smell a very faint sewage odor in the master bathroom toilet area. The MB backs up to the GB, although the toilets themselves are not back-to-back. I also sometimes smell sewage very faintly as I walk up the stairs (the gb is located directly under the stairs and the door has one of those contraptions on it to keep it automatically closed--so the smell doesn't usually drift into the rest of the house).

    I called our home warranty company, who helpfully told me they wouldn't send anyone out based on "smells." They said they would not send anyone unless my toilet flushed slowly. That seemed like a bit of a judgement call, so I decided the toilet DID flush a little slowly (and at times, it does seem to flush slowly, although it's been this way since we moved in, so it's hard to tell). They are now sending someone, but I wanted to pick your brains before they send their contractor. Any ideas? I do know that some of the plumbing vents are cracked in the attic and leak when it rains (I am having this fixed as well). Would that cause this problem or am I way off base?

    One other bit of info that may have something to do with this. The jets off the MB jetted tub sometimes trickle a little bit of water out of the jets when the shower runs. Why would this happen? Is it connected to the first problem?

    Thanks in advance,
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    A cracked vent line can and probably will let sewage smells into the house.

    Does the toilet in the GB rock at all? If it does, it is likely that the wax ring is compromised. The wax doesn't spring back, so as it rocks, it will get mashed down and leave a gap.

    Is the toilet caulked around the bottom to the floor? If it isn't, a little dribble here and there can build up under the edge and smell pretty bad.

    Is the ceiling under the GB open, or finished? If unfinished, can you see any moisture? That won't tell you if you are leaking gases, though.
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  4. Driving36

    Driving36 New Member

    Jul 11, 2006

    No, the toilet does not rock (we made a point of noticing that because in our old house, all the toilets rocked--although with no sewage smell, which we found amazing). I have cleaned the whole toilet pretty carefully (I was hoping that was the problem, too), but I will inspect again. It is not caulked around the base.

    The GB is on the first floor and I live in Texas near the Gulf Coast where we don't have basements. The bathroom floor is hardwood, though, and if there were any moisture, I would think there would be some warping of the wood?

    Thanks for your reply and help,
  5. geniescience

    geniescience Homeowner

    Nov 27, 2005
    humid summers hot, humid winters cold

    just to be sure: are you aware that sewer smells are dangerous to health?

    Does the "warranty" company have some provision for venting problems? Sewer smells are usually venting problems. That is a subset of "drain problems."

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