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  • sewer gas leak detection/smell problems

    I've posted about this before, and discussed peppermint oil, etc.

    I've got two customers with persistent elusive smell problems, and am considering purchasing a smoke machine.

    Does anyone have experience with these? Good ones, bad ones, techniques, other options?

    Thanks.
    This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

  • #2
    Re: sewer gas leak detection/smell problems

    Ace, smoke it up baby. One ofthe greatest secrets known to us. Would love to know what machines you have over there and what one you settle on

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: sewer gas leak detection/smell problems

      Originally posted by Ace Sewer View Post
      I've posted about this before, and discussed peppermint oil, etc.

      I've got two customers with persistent elusive smell problems, and am considering purchasing a smoke machine.

      Does anyone have experience with these? Good ones, bad ones, techniques, other options?

      Thanks.
      How often are you going to need one? Might be better just smoke bombing the DWV.

      Good luck and post what you do and how it goes please.

      J.C.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: sewer gas leak detection/smell problems

        JC can you give further details on what you recommend. I havent heard of smoking the pan before. What do you use?????

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        • #5
          Re: sewer gas leak detection/smell problems

          Originally posted by Cleanmen2 View Post
          JC can you give further details on what you recommend. I havent heard of smoking the pan before. What do you use?????
          I myself have not had to test a system in this way yet. They make "smoke bombs" and even "peppermint bombs" to test for leaks though. I did know who made them but can't think of who or find a link to a mfg.

          Some areas might even rent smoke machines. Like they would use at a play or a concert. Might do the same thing.

          J.C.

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          • #6
            Re: sewer gas leak detection/smell problems

            Go to an HVAC supplier and pick up 1/2 dozen smoke grenades. I use the brand Superior. They come 30 seconds and 90 seconds. I like to use the 30 sec ones first to find the source but on a big system the 90 sec work good. Never ever use in a commercial building. For that you need peppermint sticks.

            Typical use is drop it down the 3" roof vent if possible and blow air in using a electric leaf blower or a strong shop vac using the blower side. Always at least a 2 man job with close communication between the 2. Too much smoke and you won't find the source and choke yourself to death It may not get you right to the source on the first try but will put you close enough to locate after opening the wall up.

            Be careful with pets and neighbors. I've have people call the fire dept on me 3 times when they saw smoke coming out of the attic vents. Remember it will smoke the neighbors house as well if they are close by.

            It is also good for chasing rats out of sewers

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            • #7
              Re: sewer gas leak detection/smell problems

              Do you cap the vents then pressurize with a leaf blower?

              Thanks.

              J.C.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: sewer gas leak detection/smell problems

                just ake sure that if you do use the smoke bombs, make sure it's in a metal waste line and not plastic

                i had to repair a potential disaster at a house that the fool dropped the smoke bomb into a plastic pipe. needless to say they fired him.

                rick.
                phoebe it is

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: sewer gas leak detection/smell problems

                  No need to cap any vents. You want the smoke to travel freely through the system. Believe me, it goes EVERYWHERE!

                  I use them on PVC all the time. They only burn long enough to scorch the inside of the pipe not start a fire or melt it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: sewer gas leak detection/smell problems

                    Before you go to all the trouble of smoke-testing, have you completely ruled out trap issues? I have seen several homes which have what I call "bouncing traps." The water going down one drain, for example, the shower, will siphon the sink drain trap water down just enough to break the seal, and you get sewer gasses.

                    I take a bucket of water and dump it down the shower, while another watches the trap water with a flashlight. You'll almost always see a bit of movement, but an inch of movement is enough to allow sewer gas back into the room.

                    Also, in guest baths, the shower or sink traps can dry out over time. I have customers with five, six bathrooms and only a few are used routinely. There are a whole bunch of ways you'll get smells from waste and vent systems that aren't caused by pipe leaks. I was in a sixty-story building in Manhattan during a severe wind storm and watched the toilet water "bounce" nearly the full amount in the bowl. (So much for relief vents, huh?)

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                    • #11
                      Re: sewer gas leak detection/smell problems

                      also if you have a/c condensate lines that drain to the sink tailpiece, make sure the a/c line has a trap. i've had the blower suck the smell back into the unit and dump it into the rooms via the ducting.

                      of couse it happens when the a/c or heater is running.

                      rick.
                      phoebe it is

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: sewer gas leak detection/smell problems

                        We use 30 second smoke bombs. I just had one the other week. Poor people where getting bad smells every now and then. I explained to the them about the peppermint oil and that we put it down the vent stack on the roof. So we went outside to see how steep the roof where the vent stack comes out. To my surprise there was no vent stack. I went into his attic, and sure enough there is the vent stack, stopped about about 2 feet below the roof venting away in the attic. House is a year and half old.
                        Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
                        Ron's Facebook
                        A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
                        Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
                        Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: sewer gas leak detection/smell problems

                          Originally posted by SewerRatz View Post
                          We use 30 second smoke bombs. I just had one the other week. Poor people where getting bad smells every now and then. I explained to the them about the peppermint oil and that we put it down the vent stack on the roof. So we went outside to see how steep the roof where the vent stack comes out. To my surprise there was no vent stack. I went into his attic, and sure enough there is the vent stack, stopped about about 2 feet below the roof venting away in the attic. House is a year and half old.
                          So did you put in an AAV? Just kidding.
                          Amazing what we find out in field.
                          What amazes me even more is WTF don't they call the plumber that did the job? Good find anyway.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: sewer gas leak detection/smell problems

                            Originally posted by SewerRatz View Post
                            We use 30 second smoke bombs. I just had one the other week. Poor people where getting bad smells every now and then. I explained to the them about the peppermint oil and that we put it down the vent stack on the roof. So we went outside to see how steep the roof where the vent stack comes out. To my surprise there was no vent stack. I went into his attic, and sure enough there is the vent stack, stopped about about 2 feet below the roof venting away in the attic. House is a year and half old.

                            Another fine example of what our apprentices are learning at school nowadays. Mind you with the skill shortage which all good politicians everywhere scram about when they need to distract from their incompetencies teh schools are hiring absolute C_AP teachers. I know personally many of the teachers in our system and we might as well stop now. They are intrenched in teh public service type mentality of dont overdo it because you will show up the others for being incompetent and you will run out of work for tomorrow

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                            • #15
                              Re: sewer gas leak detection/smell problems

                              I found this

                              http://upfrontprice.com/odds.html at the bottom; click the red toolbox pic.

                              and ordered some of the smokeys. Will be trying something similar next week.

                              The hurco smoker 2 unit seem to be the machine of choice... looks nice but I'm going to see what kind of success I get with the poor man's version first. Will keep you updated.
                              This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                              Comment

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