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  • is there a way to trace down a sewer smell? are there special tools that pros use?

    ...just curious. when a plumber is called to trace down a sewer smell that isn't obvious, how do they zero in on the source? how is the customer charged?

  • #2
    Re: is there a way to trace down a sewer smell? are there special tools that pros use

    You can do a smoke test to locate where the smell is coming from if there is a break in the sewer/drain.
    Will Rogers Plumbing
    Moore, Oklahoma
    (
    405) 323-2852

    "Your Solution for Any Sewer and Drain Cleaning Needs"

    "We Unclog Drains That Others Can't"



    www.willrogersplumbing.com
    http://willrogersplumbing.com/?page_id=8

    "Oklahoma's Favorite Plumbers!"

    Comment


    • #3
      Dry traps anywhere? (Wife accuses me when iturns outo be a dry trap.)

      Originally posted by Will Rogers Plumbing View Post
      You can do a smoke test to locate where the smell is coming from if there is a break in the sewer/drain.
      Where does one buy smoke bombs?
      I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
      It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
      "I swear, wherever Gift goes, argument follows." -Youtube comment

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Dry traps anywhere? (Wife accuses me when iturns outo be a dry trap.)

        Look online or check a plumbing supply house smoke bombs are somethimes used in HVAC work. Look for non-toxic, no residue smoke, they really are never truely 100% non-toxic but they they won't kill you or poison you severly.

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        • #5
          Re: Dry traps anywhere? (Wife accuses me when iturns outo be a dry trap.)

          Originally posted by Robert Gift View Post
          Where does one buy smoke bombs?
          SUPERIOR - Page: 1 of 46

          Here you can learn how to make your own smoke machine.

          Smoke Testing
          Will Rogers Plumbing
          Moore, Oklahoma
          (
          405) 323-2852

          "Your Solution for Any Sewer and Drain Cleaning Needs"

          "We Unclog Drains That Others Can't"



          www.willrogersplumbing.com
          http://willrogersplumbing.com/?page_id=8

          "Oklahoma's Favorite Plumbers!"

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: is there a way to trace down a sewer smell? are there special tools that pros use

            the puzzling thing to me is the odor isn't all the time. one day i smell it and the next day i may not. i was trying to see if there was a pattern to it, such as laundry day or a windy day or whatever. can't seem to make it happen OR make it go away when the smell is evident. driving me nuts! and for me it's a short drive!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: is there a way to trace down a sewer smell? are there special tools that pros use

              Could be a wax toilet ring,Swuirril loaded nuts down roof vent. Amazon sells rodent smoke bombs , I think I paid $26.00 for 6.
              Let the fire Dept. Know ahead of time, or You May have Company smoke day!
              I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: is there a way to trace down a sewer smell? are there special tools that pros use

                80% of the time it is a floor drain with a dry trap. pour water down all floor drains and see every inch of floor anywhere near where the smell is to make sure there isn't a floor drain that you don't know about.

                10% of the time it is an abandoned fixture rough in. like a shower or sink or something that got done away with at some point and the drain line was not properly capped off. Think about something that may have changed.

                The leaking toilet wax ring is about as common.

                The rest of them are strange and difficult to find. A vent line that has come apart in a wall. A hole in a vent from someone putting a nail or screw through it, something with a roof vent near a cold air return or some other thing that is letting smell inside.

                Smoke will find it. Often it is one of the simpler things and can be found with a little attention.
                This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: is there a way to trace down a sewer smell? are there special tools that pros use

                  Years ago I was clearing a blocked laundry line for this Gal. It was located in the garage. She brought Me into her Personal bath off the bedroom. She said I smell sewer gas here. Her husband [ about 80 ] had passed the Year before. Sewer gas was coming from one of the two Lav. sinks. The one He use to use. I explained, She needed to run a little water in it every few weeks.
                  I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: is there a way to trace down a sewer smell? are there special tools that pros use

                    I never used a smoke bomb in my career, but yet I found every sewer smell problem I was called out for.

                    I would like to add, that a smoke bomb will not find 1 trap sucking another trap (2 fixtures behind a vent) unless the smoke bomb was set off when the trap currently didn't have water in it.

                    Also, "momentum" can cause trap seal loss as well. There are a few more, but I don't feel like breaking out my old National Standard Code book to look them up.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: is there a way to trace down a sewer smell? are there special tools that pros use

                      I have had pretty good success by running hot water through the sewer from the drain furthest away from the CO. After 3 or 4 minutes, dump and entire bottle of pine sol down the drain and let the hot water run for another minute. The steam built up in the pipe will cause the odor of pine sol to shoot through any dry traps or cracks in the pipe.

                      go to the area where the customer notices the smell and try to find the odor of pine sol. This has worked pretty well when smoke trick was not available.

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                      • #12
                        Re: is there a way to trace down a sewer smell? are there special tools that pros use

                        Originally posted by halfpint View Post
                        the puzzling thing to me is the odor isn't all the time. one day i smell it and the next day i may not. i was trying to see if there was a pattern to it, such as laundry day or a windy day or whatever. can't seem to make it happen OR make it go away when the smell is evident. driving me nuts! and for me it's a short drive!
                        I'd guess that about 50% of the time when I am called out to investigate a sewer odor, it ends up not being related to the sewer. I've found dead animals, food stuffed down vents, rotten food that fell behind a deepfreeze etc. If the smoke test and/or pine sol test that I mentioned above don't yield results, then I start looking at other possibilities. Sometimes, people get stuck on thinking the sewer is the cause when it's not.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: is there a way to trace down a sewer smell? are there special tools that pros use

                          Originally posted by DukeSewer View Post
                          I'd guess that about 50% of the time when I am called out to investigate a sewer odor, it ends up not being related to the sewer. I've found dead animals, food stuffed down vents, rotten food that fell behind a deepfreeze etc. If the smoke test and/or pine sol test that I mentioned above don't yield results, then I start looking at other possibilities. Sometimes, people get stuck on thinking the sewer is the cause when it's not.
                          A few months ago, I had a customer call me out for a sewer smell in a brand new house. They had other Plumbers out but they couldn't find the problem, and as soon as I walked in the door I could smell the odor. Since I use to trap when I was a kid, that odor was very familiar with me, and it was definitely a dead squirrel. I told the homeowner that a squirrel was dead behind the drywall somewhere, and I pinpointed it down to a small area, and poked a small hole in the dry wall...stuck my camera in the wall, and sure enough, there he was.

                          The funny part was..when I initially told them it was a dead animal, they didn't believe me. Their facial expressions were priceless!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: is there a way to trace down a sewer smell? are there special tools that pros use

                            Originally posted by Flux View Post
                            A few months ago, I had a customer call me out for a sewer smell in a brand new house. They had other Plumbers out but they couldn't find the problem, and as soon as I walked in the door I could smell the odor. Since I use to trap when I was a kid, that odor was very familiar with me, and it was definitely a dead squirrel. I told the homeowner that a squirrel was dead behind the drywall somewhere, and I pinpointed it down to a small area, and poked a small hole in the dry wall...stuck my camera in the wall, and sure enough, there he was.

                            The funny part was..when I initially told them it was a dead animal, they didn't believe me. Their facial expressions were priceless!!
                            thats awesome. We found a squirrel in a water heater vent once. soooo gross

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: is there a way to trace down a sewer smell? are there special tools that pros use

                              Originally posted by flux View Post
                              a few months ago, i had a customer call me out for a sewer smell in a brand new house. They had other plumbers out but they couldn't find the problem, and as soon as i walked in the door i could smell the odor. Since i use to trap when i was a kid, that odor was very familiar with me, and it was definitely a dead squirrel. I told the homeowner that a squirrel was dead behind the drywall somewhere, and i pinpointed it down to a small area, and poked a small hole in the dry wall...stuck my camera in the wall, and sure enough, there he was.

                              The funny part was..when i initially told them it was a dead animal, they didn't believe me. Their facial expressions were priceless!!
                              dam yer good davy
                              I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                              Comment

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