Sewer smells in and around house

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4bbritton

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Moved into this house 6 months ago right after the previous owner put in a new septic tank. Previous tank was filled with sand. Almost immediately we noticed a sewer smell on the back deck. Over the last 3 months the smell has moved indoors (still outside as well) and is more an eye burning mix of fumes mixed with some sewer smell and a smell of rotten or burning food (??!!). Always seems to be worst in the TV room but is really all over the house. It seems to move around. Always gets worse in the early evening or night. When I take off the septic tank riser to inspect the smells get better for a day or 2 but always return.
We have tried carbon filters on roof vents, 5 plumbers, 3 septic companies, and 2 HVAC firms. Everyone seems to be stumped! The last plumber scoped the sewer lines to the tank and the main stack vents near the TV room and couldn't find anything. The carbon filters worked great for the outside smell but the inside smells got worse.

We are about to lose our minds! (along with our lung capacity!). Any thoughts?
 

Tuttles Revenge

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You need to have someone perform a smoke test. They seal the vents and blow smoke into a drain. Then the smoke comes out wherever you have leaks in the system.
 

Reach4

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Not as good as the smoke test is the peppermint test. It is harder to localize where a peppermint smell comes from than it is with smoke.
 

WorthFlorida

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What is the type of pipe from the home to the septic tank and the DWV? Is there a vent for the septic tank? Is it a well insulated home with tight windows? Is it worse when the dryer is in use? Having all Windows open might make it easier to sniff out the leak. Is the sewer pipe under the TV room? Basement, crawl space or slab? Is there a radon gas air pump?

It gets worse in the evening and night might be is when the winds around the home subsides, therefore, the house doesn't breathe. Removing the septic tank lid and the odors subside proves there is a negative pressure in the home.

Plug up the drains for sinks, bathtubs, shower stalls and the washing machine. Use water over the drains. This will see that the traps are fill with water or not. However, as others stated, smoke test is the best way.

If you're a DIYer, smoke machines can be rented. You did good hiring contractors.
 
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4bbritton

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What is the type of pipe from the home to the septic tank and the DWV? Is there a vent for the septic tank? Is it a well insulated home with tight windows? Is it worse when the dryer is in use? Having all Windows open might make it easier to sniff out the leak. Is the sewer pipe under the TV room? Basement, crawl space or slab? Is there a radon gas air pump?

It gets worse in the evening and night might be is when the winds around the home subsides, therefore, the house doesn't breathe. Removing the septic tank lid and the odors subside proves there is a negative pressure in the home.

Plug up the drains for sinks, bathtubs, shower stalls and the washing machine. Use water over the drains. This will see that the traps are fill with water or not. However, as others stated, smoke test is the best way.

If you're a DIYer, smoke machines can be rented. You did good hiring contractors.
 

4bbritton

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All ABS pipe. No vents on the septic tank. No super air tight. Interestingly when it's bad opening the windows doesn't seem to help much. In fact, when there is a breeze or the heat pump is on, it seems to spread the smell all over and make it worse.
There is a crawl space under the TV room with some funky plumbing. Initially I found a stub out from the main stack into the crawl space that was open to the air with an old abandoned and disconnected pipe that traversed the crawl space under the TV room and was disconnected from another pipe on the opposite side of the crawlspace that disappeared into the floor. Took some drywall off in the TV room on that opposite wall and found an abandoned pipe plumbed for a sink with some old broken down duct tape covering 2 holes. The plumber put in a segment of ABS there to get rid of the holes but it didn't help. I opened the drywall above that area and the pipe continued up to the ceiling. I snaked my borescope in there and saw a 90 degree turn back towards the main stack but couldn't go very far. We have a contractor coming next week to work on a deck that is next to this pipe. Hoping he finds that it is connected back to the main stack or damaged so we can cap it, and it's connection to the main stack, and be done with this nightmare.
I propped open the lid to the septic tank with bricks to allow a 2" gap to vent the septic tank. It got rid of the sewer smells coming out of the roof vents but those eye burning fumes indoors persist.
We live in a fairly remote area and none of the plumbers around here do smoke tests. Who rents that equipment and how do you do it? Many thanks my friend!
 

4bbritton

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Abandoned pipe disconnected from stub out from main stack in crawlspace
 

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4bbritton

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Tried to upload additional pictures but got an error that parsing response failed...whatever that is :)
 

Jeff H Young

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having never performed a smoke test , so its the same as water test remove the traps on sinks and put jim caps pull toilets ? really? sounds like a job in its self i would have thought duct tape on the vent pipes at roof and poke small holes and blow smoke in leave p traps full toilets leave in place . not smoke under pressure but like to hear how you smoke test?
 

WorthFlorida

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YouTube makes it impossible to copy anything for Copy Right protection. I took a screen shot So the video name can be searched on.

1712269944018.png
 
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Reach4

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having never performed a smoke test , so its the same as water test remove the traps on sinks and put jim caps pull toilets ? really? sounds like a job in its self i would have thought duct tape on the vent pipes at roof and poke small holes and blow smoke in leave p traps full toilets leave in place . not smoke under pressure but like to hear how you smoke test?
I am thinking for a regular smoke test, the pressure would stay under 1 inch WC, so the traps could just stay in place. However if you are blowing with a shopvac with duct tape sealing things up, that would be different.

Doing some searching, I found https://codes.iccsafe.org/s/IRC2015/part-vii-plumbing/IRC2015-Pt07-Ch25-SecP2503.5.2

"Smoke test. Introduce a pungent, thick smoke into the system. When the smoke appears at vent terminals, such terminals shall be sealed and a pressure equivalent to a 1-inch water column (249 Pa) shall be applied and maintained for a test period of not less than 15 minutes."

Also see https://terrylove.com/forums/index.php?threads/dwv-piping-wont-pass-pressure-test.36501/ #10
 

Jeff H Young

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I looked at a few videos I dont think they plugged off shower drains or sinks just let the smoke flow out vents . and Evedently IPC has an official test that includes some positive pressure with vents capped off
 
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