Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Sewer Gas Smell + Rough in Video from construction

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Sewer Gas Smell + Rough in Video from construction

    Hello Experts -

    Attached is a Video link to my google drive. Below I describes my issue and question.

    I have a rental property at the beach here in Southern Maine. The house is used from May-October, and is unoccupied in the winter. It was built in 2011. Ever since building, I have noticed a occasional smell when closed up and not rented and occasionally while there doing cleanings on weekends when guests have left. With windows and garage open in summer I generally don't notice it, or perhaps I have become accustomed to it. I have often pondered if it was the residual smell of propane from the boiler, but I am now convinced it is not propane, but sewer gas. Ugh. I rented it over new years this year, and when I went over to turn up the heat, the smell was HORRIBLE. I had to turn on exhaust fans in all the bathrooms in the house and open windows.

    The smell permeates the stairway down to the walk out basement & lower laundry room, and also to the mechanical room on the wall behind the lower laundry room. I mention lower, because I also have an unused laundry area in the bathroom where the toilet in question is. The drain pipe is plugged for that laundry. I don't want you be confused while watching the video.

    The toilet & respective drain is in the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs. I am speculating that the vent pipe that splices into the drain for this toilet may not be properly sealed. There are no signs of leaks or mold in the ceilings/walls.

    I routinely run water down drains and plug them to avoid any evaporation factors. It is definitely not an evaporation issue.

    I will document the significant points of reference from the video to save you time.

    8:45 - begins the view of the 1st floor (not walk out level) bathroom.
    8:50 - the toilet rough in location
    8:52 - vent pipe which is specific to this toilet and the one I think is not sealed properly down below. To the left of that vent a few second further in the video is the sink, and a unique drain/vent. It sometimes gets hidden by the 2x6's.
    10:20 - the walk down the stairs (where the smell exists). Note in the finished house, there is a door at top of stairs which keeps odor down below (mostly).
    10:30 - The splice of vent into waste/drain pipe
    10:33 - For a split second there is visibility of the not yet completed drain pipe from the sink.

    My question, how do I go about confirming my suspicion that it's where the vent and the waste pipe join? or determining if something else?
    I have read a few threads on this board about peppermint and pouring water down from the roof vent pipe, and also smoke bombs. The bomb seems to be if you don't know the general area. I supposed I could just call the plumber back who did the job.

    Any other advice?

    Thanks in advance, Ed

    Last edited by mckenna343; 01-09-2018, 04:57 PM.

  • #2
    First, you have a long vacancy, so make sure that all traps have water in them. (Just read more thoroughly. You appear to have covered this.)

    If smell is still present after filling traps, take painters tape and tape around the seam between the toilet base and the floor. One at a time if you have more than one toilet.

    Seen the wax seal become compromised several times where they will not leak when flushed, but leave enough of a gap that when the heat system is turned on the negative pressure + heat can pull sewer gas into the structure and magnify the smell.

    If taping the toilet cures the smell, then you have to pull it, replace the seal, re-set it, and caulk it to the floor.

    If either of these things don't give desired results, report back as we might have to do some more investigating.

    Comment


    • mckenna343
      mckenna343 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for you reply. I will give it a try this weekend. FWIW - the smell is noticeably worse in the lower level under where the bathroom is. Note there is also a finished ceiling in lower level. It is marginal if even noticeable in the actual bathroom.

  • #3
    If it's a forced air system the return can pull sewer gas to different areas and fool you. Not sure how this is setup though.

    I seriously doubt the vent off the toilet (what you call the "splice") not being connected in some way is the issue. This is a new building and I am assuming inspected. The plumbing test required everywhere for a DWV inspection would show immediately if this area were giving a problem. It would then fail inspection and have to be corrected before construction continued.

    Comment


    • #4
      Originally posted by BobsPlumbing View Post
      If it's a forced air system the return can pull sewer gas to different areas and fool you. Not sure how this is setup though.

      I seriously doubt the vent off the toilet (what you call the "splice") not being connected in some way is the issue. This is a new building and I am assuming inspected. The plumbing test required everywhere for a DWV inspection would show immediately if this area were giving a problem. It would then fail inspection and have to be corrected before construction continued.
      Thanks No, it's FHW, not FHA.

      I know the water lines were pressure tested, but wouldn't the drain/vent pipes require someone going to the top of house and plugging that up? I don't remember if that was done, and would have to ask the plumber if it was. Alternatively maybe it was capped where I suspect the splice (ha ha) ok... vent is before connecting all the way up to the roof.

      I'll have to ask. I have a call into him.

      Folks are busy recovering from frozen pipes up this way, and next is flooding w/ this rain! Sheesh.

      Comment


      • #5
        Wonder if some knucklehead attached a vent to the central vac? That would be one for the books!

        Plumbing test on DWV is to fill with water. That definitely would show a leak so it should rule out the connection you are referring too if I'm understanding you correctly.

        Comment


        • #6
          Originally posted by BobsPlumbing View Post
          Wonder if some knucklehead attached a vent to the central vac? That would be one for the books!

          Plumbing test on DWV is to fill with water. That definitely would show a leak so it should rule out the connection you are referring too if I'm understanding you correctly.
          Ha ha. No, i did the CVAC my self. And the pipes are in fact different in size from what I recall. I had wanted to use PVC when doing it, but the cvac pipes required a specific dimension.

          I definitely need to find out if that test was done. In your assessment, would the test need to have had water poured down from roof vent? There was only 1 plumber working on the house, and it was being framed and rough in during winter months. I'm speculating he did not get on the roof to do that test.

          Presumably nothing prevents the water test from being done now right? Although with all the rain in last 5 years, I would expect to see water stains in the ceiling if this vent pipe wasn't sealed properly. Maybe my original guess is flawed...

          Crap.


          Ed

          Comment


          • #7
            A DWV water test is a completely filled test. It's not pouring water down the drains or vents and looking for leaks. The DWV system is blocked at the rough-in openings and then the DWV is COMPLETELY filled with water from the bottom up. In many areas it is only required to be filled to 6' above the highest floor with a plumbing fixture. Typically done with a standpipe for the inspector to check.

            Years ago it was 10' on a slab or all the way out the roof on a structure.

            See what I mean? This test would be highly likely to show any missed or inferior connections. Which, of course, is the reason for the degree of testing.

            I just passed mine on one today.

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by BobsPlumbing View Post
              A DWV water test is a completely filled test. It's not pouring water down the drains or vents and looking for leaks. The DWV system is blocked at the rough-in openings and then the DWV is COMPLETELY filled with water from the bottom up. In many areas it is only required to be filled to 6' above the highest floor with a plumbing fixture. Typically done with a standpipe for the inspector to check.

              Years ago it was 10' on a slab or all the way out the roof on a structure.

              See what I mean? This test would be highly likely to show any missed or inferior connections. Which, of course, is the reason for the degree of testing.

              I just passed mine on one today.
              Yes sir. I get it. Thanks. I left message for the Code Enforcement Office to find out if that would have been a required test.

              Ed

              Comment


              • #9
                She called me back, and confirmed the system certainly would have been tested. She did not have the file in front of her to know if it was water or air pressure tested. She was going to look up the house records and call me back at some point.

                Comment


                • #10
                  An air pressure test is mostly illegal now. (I'm aware of freezing temperature reasons.) It's specifically prohibited by most, if not all, pipe manufacturers to my knowledge.

                   

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Hah! Great video. Yes, my house is in Maine, and rough in was in the deep of winter, so water test would have been impractical.

                    Also - I believe the issue is in the rear view mirror now!!!!

                    The previous weekend, I had gone over and placed stoppers in the wash sink in the mechanical room. This room is routinely warm in the winter due to the boiler running, and pipes feeding the house. I had also poured a 1/2 bottle of vegetable oil down the drain for the washing machine drain pipe. When i went over this past weekend, I was expecting to find the smell again, and tape around the toilet. But I was pleasantly surprised to find NO SMELL. I know I had previously kept water in the wash sink traps, and but there could have been long-enough periods where the washing machine is not used and trap drying out I confess that I guess I had not been properly addressing one or the other. Since they are both in the warms space. I will have to get a cap for the washing machine drain for off season, and keep the sinks plugged also.

                    Thanks for the replies. Much appreciated. I will change the topic of this thread to solved!

                    Ed

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      In my own defense, I did routinely run the washing machine, and run the tap in the wash sink, but i suspect w/ the warm air of the mechanical room affecting both of these, that even a week is enough time to dry out the drains traps.

                      Lesson learned!!

                      Also - i was unable to figure out how to change the subject to include the word solved. If anyone know how please do.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        You what?! You mean you didn't have the traps full from the beginning like I mentioned?! You....you....Engineer!

                        (Glad you got it resolved.)

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          The only way to confirm your guess is to invite a plumber to take a look and confirm or deny your guess. If your assumption is confirmed, call the plumber who did it, let him correct his mistake. Where have you seen this? Obviously, if you connect the vent and the drain pipe, it will stink. I'd do that if I were you. I've faced a similar situation, only I've caused this company a lot of trouble. The only company that didn't disappoint me was the construction company Pete Suen. I worked with them several times, they didn't give me any problems, they are great guys. It is clear that the owner of this company values its reputation and respects its customers.
                          Last edited by PaulFelder; 02-01-2021, 08:51 AM.

                          Comment

                          Working...
                          X