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centchemmueller
Nov 21, 2004, 02:57 PM
I don't know if this has been covered, but whenever my shower is running the smell of sewage seems to be coming up from my drain. This happens in only one bathroom, this bathroom being on the second floor. There is a 1/2 bath in the basement that hasn't been used in years, we just recently bought the house. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance

speedball1
Nov 21, 2004, 03:18 PM
The odor comes from rotting hair mixed with grease from soap. Try this. Tonight before you go to bed pour 1/2 gallon of bleach down the drain and let it set overnight. Next morning flush it down with a few large pans of boiling water. The bleach will start to dissolve and soften the hair and make it slippery and the boiling water will melt the grease and flush the mess out into the main. Now see if that smelly drain doesn't smell sweeter? If that don't fix the problem, remove the strainer and run a snake past the trap on into the drain line for about 8 feet. Check and make sure the traps are still full in the basement, also check out the floor drain. I get lots of complaints on sewer gas because the trap in a unused fixture has evaporated all the water out of it leaving it open to sewer gas. Hope this helps . Tom

bill vargas
Nov 24, 2004, 08:44 AM
I recently had the same problem. The problem was... the vent for the shower drain was plumbed before the trap and should be the other way around.. the shower trap should be plumbed before the vent. I hope that fixes your problem.

speedball1
Nov 24, 2004, 10:29 AM
As a general rule bathroom groups are vented through the lavatory vent. The rest of the fixtures are wet vented. Since the shower is tied into the lavatory drain it wet vents downstream from the lavatory vent. This is standard for all bathroom groups.
Is Mr. Vargas claiming a separate vent for his shower and another for his lavatory or is he claiming his lavatory wet vents off the shower vent?
Because if he's claiming the later then his lavatory's "S" trapped and that's outlawed in EVERY state and local code both here and in Canada.
His explanation's a little confusing to me. [Quote]The problem was... the vent for the shower drain was plumbed before the trap [/Unquote]
Since the trap is the terminal end of the branch nothing could be installed "before or ahead of the trap".
[QUOTE] the shower trap should be plumbed before the vent.[/UNQUOTE]
This would put the shower trap downstream from the vent as it is in most installations.
Unless the traps "gurgle" in your bath when you flush a toilet I don't think you'll locate the problem in the vent. Has this been a ongoing problem or did it just start up recently?

centchemmueller
Nov 24, 2004, 04:26 PM
This has been an ongoing problem since we bought the house 6 months ago... the smell has recently started to get worse. The bleach trick seemed to work for a couple of days.. but then it came back. I'm going to try this once more and then I don't know what I will do. Thanks for everyone's help.

speedball1
Nov 24, 2004, 06:41 PM
Let's put this problem to bed.
You have to snake the shower and then flush it out. First remove the strainer,(TIP: put the screws in the soap dish. They will be hard to replace if they go down the drain.) Now work your snake past the trap and 6 or 7 feet beyond. When you pull the snake back it should have the hair that was smelling up your shower on the auger tip. Now pour 1/4 gallon of bleach down in the trap and let it set over night. Next morning pour a pan of boiling down the shower to clear what's left and make your drain smell nice. Unless you have a open connection to the sewer this should solve your problem. Cheers, Tom

Mr. Yaeger
Jul 25, 2005, 05:56 PM
I tried to auger out the drain I've use bleach and boiling water and it is not any help. The smell comes up during shower use and immediately after. It is definitely not the smell of buildup in the drain. I've tried flushing the toilet to see if it pulls the water from the shower trap and it doesn't and I am out of good suggestions. Any other ideas here? Thanks.

speedball1
Jul 26, 2005, 04:46 AM
I tried to auger out the drain I've use bleach and boiling water and it is not any help. The smell comes up during shower use and immediately after. It is definitely not the smell of buildup in the drain. I've tried flushing the toilet to see if it pulls the water from the shower trap and it doesn't and I am out of good suggestions. Any other ideas here? Thanks.


You said,'I tried to auger out the drain " Did you suceed? How far in did the snake get? What came out on the auger tip? You said the bleach and boiling water worked for a while. That locates the smell in drainpipe buildup.
Now you say," It is definitely not the smell of buildup in the drain."
What changed your mind? If you've augured the length of the branch and it still smells, then I would start checking the venting, this sounds like a ongoing problem from the time the house was built. Regards, Tom

Mr. Yaeger
Jul 26, 2005, 09:06 AM
I augered down somewhere between 12 and 15 feet and the tip came out clean as a whistle. The bleach treatments only seem to hide the smell for a couple of days before it comes back. The reason I don't believe it is the smell of build up is because I recently cleaned out the drain in my sink and pulled a bunch of hair and build up out and took a good whiff of it and it definitely has a different odor. I am a builder and oversaw the construction of the building (it is a three unit). I don't use the same plumber anymore due to other problems. I have suspected a venting problem for a while but want to eliminate all other possibilties before opening ceilings and walls. My plumber thought that we can add a vent off the shower to relieve the problem. I am on the first floor and directly above the ejector pit which also may have something to do with my problem. Any thoughts? Thanks for your help.

speedball1
Jul 26, 2005, 11:28 AM
I augered down somewhere between 12 and 15 feet and the tip came out clean as a whistle. The bleach treatments only seem to hide the smell for a couple of days before it comes back. The reason I don't believe it is the smell of build up is because I recently cleaned out the drain in my sink and pulled a bunch of hair and build up out and took a good whiff of it and it definitely has a different odor. I am a builder and oversaw the construction of the building (it is a three unit). I don't use the same plumber anymore due to other problems. I have suspected a venting problem for a while but want to eliminate all other possibilties before opening ceilings and walls. My plumber thought that we can add a vent off the shower to relieve the problem. I am on the first floor and directly above the ejector pit which also may have something to do with my problem. Any thoughts? Thanks for your help.


I have this nagging feeling in the back of my head that might notbe your problem either. There's only two ways you would get sewer odor from the shower drain. One is if the trap seal were lowered or reduced, allowing sewer gas to escape. But you say the seal is undisturbed.
The other is if there were back pressure down the vent causing a "blowback" of sewer gas through the trap. But again, I don't hear you complaining of "gurgling" or "bubbling" in the drain. The reason for a trap seal is to contain sewer gas. I think you have pretty much eliminated the odor coming from the drain. However, your last post brought up a interesting theory. Perhaps your sewer smell isn't coming from the drain at all but from inside the walls themselves. ( I used to love these kind of complaints when I was the shop trouble shooter.) The methane content in sewer gas allows it to raise. Warm weather could make it worse.
Could it be that sewer gas escaping from the ejector pit is raising up into your walls and that's what you smell? Just a thought. Tom

Mr. Yaeger
Jul 26, 2005, 02:19 PM
Tom,

I have checked down in the utilty room (where the EP is located) and I don't notice the smell at the same time in both rooms. I never did say anything about the trap seal being OK. Somebody did mention to me that with mud set shower bases, sometimes the drain doesn't sit right and he thought that may be a problem. How can I tell if the trap seal is OK? Also, as I think about whether there is any gurgling coming from the drain, I would ask how long would it last for? The reason I ask is because I have a 12" rain head in my shower which puts out a good amount of water and after I shut off the water, the water drains for about 10-15 more seconds. I wonder if I am either mistaking gurgling noises from water dripping into trap or if I am hearing a combination of both. Is this possible or would the gargling last longer or be more obvious? I am definitely curious about the trap seal being an issue. Thanks again for your help.

speedball1
Jul 27, 2005, 07:35 AM
Tom,

I have checked down in the utilty room (where the EP is located) and I don't notice the smell at the same time in both rooms. I never did say anything about the trap seal being OK. Somebody did mention to me that with mud set shower bases, sometimes the drain doesn't sit right and he thought that may be a problem. How can I tell if the trap seal is OK? Also, as I think about whether there is any gurgling coming from the drain, I would ask how long would it last for? The reason I ask is because I have a 12" rain head in my shower which puts out a good amount of water and after I shut off the water, the water drains for about 10-15 more seconds. I wonder if I am either mistaking gurgling noises from water dripping into trap or if I am hearing a combination of both. Is this possible or would the gargling last longer or be more obvious? I am definitely curious about the trap seal being an issue. Thanks again for your help.


" I never did say anything about the trap seal being OK." So you didn't. I'm working three askers on the same thread with the same problem and confused your post with another.
" Somebody did mention to me that with mud set shower bases, sometimes the drain doesn't sit right and he thought that may be a problem."
Not even in the ball game. If the drain were positioned wrong you'd have water leaking out of the base and besides, the trap is downstream of the drain protecting it.
How can I tell if the trap seal is OK? Also, as I think about whether there is any gurgling coming from the drain, I would ask how long would it last for? The reason I ask is because I have a 12" rain head in my shower which puts out a good amount of water and after I shut off the water, the water drains for about 10-15 more seconds. I wonder if I am either mistaking gurgling noises from water dripping into trap or if I am hearing a combination of both. Is this possible or would the gargling last longer or be more obvious?"
Flush a toilet and listen at the shower drain. Any "gurgle"? Noise of any kind?
Chances are if you don't then the trap seal's intact. One last test for the seal. Remove the strainer,( TIP: Put the screws in the soap dish, if you lose them down the drain they will be hard to replace) and look down at the water in the trap. Now take a large pail of water and pour it down the drain. Check the water level in the trap. Is it any lower? Waiting on your reply, Tom

partowa
Dec 4, 2005, 08:57 PM
Has anyone has had any lock solving this problem? I have the same problem. The bleach treatment worked for a couple of days first. The 2nd time it was much less effective. And I do not want to use any more bleach in my Septic system.
I do not see how the sweetfilter will solve the problem! It will filter out the bad smell before it vents to the outside. The problem is that the septic system odor is coming in through the drain and not through the vent. It happens every day and not just on windy days.

Test13
Sep 26, 2007, 05:33 AM
I also have this same problem and looking at the date stamps of this thread I am concerned I have not seen an answer to this issue.

Keeping in mind plumbers created these problems so if it was just a matter of paying a few bucks to solve this unwanted problem then it would be a done deal if one knew where to turn.

We have been in the house for 6 months and the smell is initiated during the shower and then dissipates.

I think it has to do with the trap itself not functioning properly due to inadequate distance between the turns of the trap.

The shower is draining into the trap via a large hole and splashes around crating air gaps allowing the gas to escape upward into the shower.

I have the builders looking into the issue and will wait to see what they say. If they canít resolve the issue I will attempt to install another trap and will Ill let you know what happens.

partowa
Sep 27, 2007, 08:47 PM
Thanks. We have been pouring white vinegar down the drain and it appears to be working emporarily.

Joe Smnith
Jan 29, 2008, 08:15 AM
I dont know if this has been covered, but whenever my shower is running the smell of sewage seems to be coming up from my drain. This happens in only one bathroom, this bathroom being on the second floor. There is a 1/2 bath in the basement that hasnt been used in years, we just recently bought the house. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance
Did anyone ever resolve this problem? I have the same problem. During the winter months it usually is not a problem but when it warms up the smell comes back. During the hot summer months the odor is really bad.

kkelln
Aug 10, 2009, 08:48 PM
I solved the problem! We have had this exact problem with one of our showers for over a year. Paid two plumblers to snake the drain and even replace the P trap. The sewer smell only happens when we shower, and then disipates after. Some days worse than others. Well, hold on to you hat because you are not going to believe the culpret. It was a biological agent, but not inside the drain. It was from the shower walls - the chrome clad metal doors and glass. One of the rubber seals was letting in water and over time and with daily use, the water accumulated and mold or some other biological entity started to grow. I just happened to chance on it. I was smelling the drain, trying yet again to solve the problem, could smell sewage though have never really gotten a wiff directly from the drain. So I started to smell all arouind the shower, putting my nose very close to all the chrome and glass joints. I detected nothing until... BAM... I got to one spot and WOW there was the smell! No mistake about it. We took it apart and YIKES the entire lining had some gross slimmy yellow stuff growing inside like a film but pretty thick and running thr9ough about 15 inches of material. ANd there was no denying the smell. YUCK. Put in new shower enclosure and now smell like a daisy!
Hope this helps!


PS. To test if this is the problem with your shower, run the hot water all aroiund and get the shower cabinet good and wet and hot to encite the smell!

plasmicplummer
Nov 23, 2009, 12:15 PM
Sani-Drain makes a product that helps destroy organic waste that causes odors and clogs drains. It is environmentally friendly and free of harmful chemicals. I use this product in my kitchen sink 1 on my garbage disposal and the other on the drain. It works fantastic. The website is Sani-Drain, Visually effective Microbial drain deodorizer (http://sani-drain.com) .

mckinnwi
Nov 15, 2010, 08:33 PM
PROBLEM SOLVED. For me anyway, and hopefully this will help someone else. I tried following the advice found here and in other forums and other sites. Nothing worked. Finally I noticed that there were small cracks in the caulking around the drain itself. I removed all the caulking and unscrewed the drain from the drain base in the floor. What I found was rather disgusting and is best described as biosludge. Most showers should have some sort of a shower pan liner. It is there to protect against leaks if your drain should fail, or the shower floor should leak in some other way. In my case the water was leaking into the liner (which feeds into the drain under the shower floor) and the "biofilm" built up over time. I cleaned out the sludge, screwed the drain back in, resealed it with silicon and no more odor. Hope that helps.

speedball1
Nov 16, 2010, 04:13 AM
We thank youn forn the update. Glad you found and repaired your problem, Regards, Tom

jfrwhipple
Jun 24, 2012, 11:51 AM
I don't know if this has been covered, but whenever my shower is running the smell of sewage seems to be coming up from my drain. This happens in only one bathroom, this bathroom being on the second floor. There is a 1/2 bath in the basement that hasn't been used in years, we just recently bought the house. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance

I'm finding that these nasty odors can be in fact the tile selection itself and not the drain or plumbing line. On my own home we had to remove the sheets holding the mosaic tile together.

The tile was made in India and the glue used to hold it to the sheets smells aweful when wet. I suspect that this smell is coming from the glue used to hold the tiles together and the smell leaking through the tile and grout.

If you have a spare tile or sheet of tiles try soaking them and then smelling the back side of the tile. If the odor is bad you might have found your source of the problem.

JW

Vitolo
Jun 8, 2013, 10:04 AM
I went through this exact thing...
I even thought it was under my sliding shower door track, and removed it completely and put it back with fresh grout.
It took months to find my culprit.
It was a small spot, where the glass is held in place in the doors metal frame.
After each shower, some water would seep in there, and then when I slid the door, it would slosh around in there and create that smell.
The fault was in a small 1 inch gap in the rubber strip that holds the glass in place.
I squirted Lysol in the hole, then stuck a flattened drinking straw in and sucked it out with a shop vac. I let it dry for 48 hours and filled the space with silicone caulk.
Smell is gone.
Sometimes the source of a smell is elusive and might be something tiny!

Mike45plus
Jun 9, 2013, 05:37 AM
I would perform a peppermint test on the DWV piping first; that would confirm if it is a sewer / septic odor. Custom shower bases ( i.e. mudset & tile) are often installed with a vinyl or rubber liner. This liner must be installed on a pitched subfloor, to direct any water that gets through a grout joint or crack in the tile floor to " weep holes " that are a part of the shower drain located below the finished tile floor. Without a pre - pitched subfloor, any water that gets into the liner pan will sit there and fester, causing odors.
If the odor is caused by a failed dwv pipe connection somewhere in a wall, floor, or ceiling, a " house trap " can be installed on the main drain pipe in the basement or yard to prevent sewer / septic odors from inflitrating the living space. A successful peppermint test can often help locate the source of the sewer gas leak...

speedball1
Jun 9, 2013, 06:15 AM
Vitoio and Mike,m Welcome to The Plumbing Page. You're both fresponding to a 9 year old dead thread thread. Your input is great and we thank you for it. Let's hear more from you both. Tom

Vitolo
Jun 9, 2013, 07:17 AM
Thanks Tom!
9 years... and I did not see an answer I found that pinpointed what I felt to be the problem.
I found the thread while searching for a foul odor, and when I finally found the source... I thought I would share.
9 years or not... the answer before both both Mike's and mine was from only one year ago. When I had problems with odor, I found this thread by googling my issue!
The thread did not help...
Then I found a correct answer, and decide to share!

speedball1
Jun 9, 2013, 07:28 AM
And we thank you for telling us where you located the source of the smell. Most bad shower smells come from the drain and you gave us a new place to check. We try to keep our complaints current and cluttering up the page with old threads. I wasn't coming down on you for your input which gives us a new source to check. Thanks again, Tom

Sporto
Aug 17, 2013, 05:34 PM
BAM is right! We spent time using bleach, baking soda with vinegar, flushing the vents from the roof. We tried everything except calling a plumber. Thank God we didn't! We removed the strainer, dug out the old caulking, scrubbed away any slime that we found (down into the drain as well) with some Comet, and now the smell is gone! These posts and replies saved us $$$. Thank You!