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    JonForest's Avatar
    JonForest Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
    New Member
     
    #1

    Jun 2, 2007, 04:34 AM
    Drains smell from all drains in house - specifically kitchen
    Hello everyone,

    I'm hoping someone can help me before I call in the professionals, as I like to try and deal with things myself.

    I've just moved into a new house and it has some bad drain smells. Primarily, but not exclusively these are emanating from the kitchen. They don't smell consistently, but seem to belch out the smell every now and again. I can't work out exactly what pattern it follows for this; I thought for a while that it was after use of the showers upstairs but I'm not convinced.

    I've taken the u-bends off both drains on the kitchen sink (I took one off moments before the washing machine decided to empty - doh!! ) and made sure they are clean. I've already tried the whole bleach-down-the-plug-hole trick.

    I have a horrible suspicion this problem may be with the drains as they leave the property. I have heard gurgling before now, but I'm not sure this isn't only when the washing machine empties.

    If anyone has any ideas can they please bare in mind that I know nothing about plumbing and any use of terms will confuse me. Plus, I'm English, and no doubt you'll say something like faucet and I will have no idea what you're on about... :D

    Thanks for any help you can provide!

    Jon
    dmrlook's Avatar
    dmrlook Posts: 133, Reputation: 8
    Junior Member
     
    #2

    Jun 2, 2007, 11:31 AM
    Let me give this one a shot with my limited knowledge. Perhaps your vent stack up on the roof is clogged. If so, I suspect that when you use water, the water that is supposed to remain in the P-traps (what you called U-bends) is getting siphoned out of there, allowing the sewer gasses to come up. I suspect that if you pour about 2 cups of water slowly into each drain where you smell something, and then don't use water again (hard to do, I know) the smell would go away (until the next time you use water and the p-traps are once again sucked dry). If this is the case, then I'd say snake out your vent(s) on the roof if you can get up there, or have a professional do it. Hope this helps, and hope I'm right :-)

    Rob
    JonForest's Avatar
    JonForest Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
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    #3

    Jun 2, 2007, 01:27 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by dmrlook
    Let me give this one a shot with my limited knowledge. Perhaps your vent stack up on the roof is clogged. If so, I suspect that when you use water, the water that is supposed to remain in the P-traps (what you called U-bends) is getting siphoned out of there, allowing the sewer gasses to come up. I suspect that if you pour about 2 cups of water slowly into each drain where you smell something, and then don't use water again (hard to do, I know) the smell would go away (until the next time you use water and the p-traps are once again sucked dry). If this is the case, then I'd say snake out your vent(s) on the roof if you can get up there, or have a professional do it. Hope this helps, and hope I'm right :-)

    Rob
    Thanks for that. Where abouts would I find the vent stack you mention - is it likely to be in my loft? I can poke around up there next week to have look. What kind of thing do I need to be looking out for?

    Much appreciated!
    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 29,301, Reputation: 1939
    Eternal Plumber
     
    #4

    Jun 2, 2007, 04:11 PM
    "Thanks for that. Where abouts would I find the vent stack you mention - is it likely to be in my loft? I can poke around up there next week to have look. What kind of thing do I need to be looking out for?"

    Dmrlook was referring to the roof vents, the pipes sticking out of your roof.
    Before you go climbing around on your roof try this. Most bad smells in tubs, lavatorys and showers are caused by rotting hair matted with grease from the soap and in kitchens from rotting food. Try this for the smell. Tonight before bedtine Take a 1/2 gallon of bleach and pour it down the drain and let set over night. Next morning ,(and this is important) flush out the drain with two large pans of boiling water to loosen the grease and flush the mess out. The bleach will make the hair slippery and began to dissolve it and the hot water will melt the grease and flush the mess away.
    Also, pull the lavatory stopper and look down the drain. About 4 inches down you'll see a small rod sticking out. Fish out any hair that's caught there and do the same thing to the lavatory if you detect any odor. This should make your drains smell better. Good luck, Tom
    JonForest's Avatar
    JonForest Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
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    #5

    Jun 4, 2007, 04:27 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by JonForest
    Thanks for that. Where abouts would I find the vent stack you mention - is it likely to be in my loft? I can poke around up there next week to have look. What kind of thing do I need to be looking out for?

    Much appreciated!
    Hello,

    Okay, I've asked my dad, who knows a little more about this than I do, and apparently I don't have a vent stack for standard waste. There is likely to be one for the toilets in the house, but their waste drainage is not connected to the standard sink drain waste out-flow.
    So, it is fairly unlikely this is the case.

    Speedball1 - thanks for your reply. As I said, I have tried various specialist sink unblockers in the past six weeks. I now have a sparkling set of pipes, but still a smell. My next task this evening is to actually take out the drain bit of the sink and make sure there is nothing lurking around the edge, but I suspect this won't fix it either.

    I do really appreciate both of you taking the time to make suggestions. If nothing else, I'm learning lots more about my house plumbing!

    Cheers,

    Jon
    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 29,301, Reputation: 1939
    Eternal Plumber
     
    #6

    Jun 4, 2007, 06:54 AM
    "apparently I don't have a vent stack for standard waste."
    All codes dictate every fixture that has a trap MUST have a vent. Perhaps you're revented in the attic but , trust me, you got them. Did you do the bleach thingy? Tom
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
    Home Repair & Remodeling Expert
     
    #7

    Jun 4, 2007, 07:33 AM
    Hey Jon, dad missed the mark here. Speedball and DMR are probably both right. Speedballs bleach will likely work but it can be boring to watch bleach in action. If you want some fun try this. Mix 1/2 cup salt with 1/2 cup baking soda and dump down the drain, then add a cup of vinegar. Much more fun to watch, dump a bucket or hot water down the drain tomorrow morning.
    JonForest's Avatar
    JonForest Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
    New Member
     
    #8

    Jun 4, 2007, 09:37 AM
    Hello,

    I may have found the answer - time will tell.

    Anyway, I have not tried the bleach idea yet. I can confirm that there is certainly no build up of anything above the u-bend as I have completely taken that area apart and rebuilt it (with no small amount of pain either, the screw holding the sink plug in place sheared off when I was tightening it back up). Do you get build up beyond the u-bend that I need to be concerned about?
    Also, I have followed all the pipes about and can't find a vent for the normal waste water. I could be wrong - it could be in the roof I guess - but is it possible that we have/had different standards within the UK. The house is about 20 years old.

    Anyway, it looks like the problem may have been cowboy plumbing. After following all the pipes I noticed a pipe that is attached to the system below the u-bend. This pipe was obviously used as the waste-disposal for a surface-top dishwasher. It looks like this hasn't been stoppered properly, so I'm probably getting sewage gas straight from that open pipe. Idiots for doing that in the first place, and I'm an idiot for not spotting it sooner. I'll stopper it all up and see if that fixes the problem.

    Thanks for all your help guys; it's quite interesting really, isn't it?

    Jon

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