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    Sewer Smell in Laundry Room

    Asked Dec 3, 2006, 07:19 PM 13 Answers
    We are getting a sewer gas smell when we do laundry! This started as just the odd time and then became almost every time we did laundry. We have a brand New Kenmore front load washer and front load dryer(both electric as we have no natural gas in our house) - but the smell had happened before these new appliances but only once or twice a year. It seems that after the second wash load the smell starts. It is terrible! We checked all drains and all have the P-trap. We tried pouring every type of "drain" chemical there is down every drain and nothing helped. The smell would start in the laundry room and make its way up to our bedroom bathroom! The odd time our main bathroom (upstairs as well) would have a mild sewer smell coming from the drain as well. So we called in a plumber about 2 months ago. He checked all drains and they were fine. He put a snake down the sewer vent on the roof and said he really couldn't find any problems. The smell was gone! We were so happy. Well today the smell is back! I did one load of laundry in the wash and it was fine. BUT... as soon as I put the load in the dryer the smell came! (no 2nd load of laundry washed either) Could it be from something else other than the plumbing? Our dryer exaust vent goes from the back of our dryer straight outside (only 18inches). No idea why the smell is back or what caused it. However... I did notice a very slight sewer smell in the main bathroom sink drain again the past couple days but poured "drano" down it and it went away. The smell seems to be coming from in the ceiling! We had plumbing work done in our master bathroom above it in the spring. We put in a new tub and found out the old one had leaked. The drywall had black mold on it and was shot so it was all cut out there... so we can really smell it as the ceiling is wide open. Could there still be mold in the ceiling causing this smell and how would this be related to running our washer or dryer? AAHHH... what could be causing this.. I don't even know what professional to call for help!

    Last edited by sheribo; Dec 3, 2006 at 07:53 PM.
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    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 29,303, Reputation: 1939
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    #2

    Dec 4, 2006, 07:11 AM


    Smells and noises are the most difficult to track down if you're not there.
    While we can't pinpoint the source we can point you to the most likely offenders.
    This is only a guess but We've had so many complaints like yours I just have to voice it. It would seem that the washer manufactures,( especially Maytag, check to see if that's who made your Kenmore) make their pumps stronger. If you have a 1 1/2" trap and drain it might not be large enough to handle the volume the pump puts out. If that's so the discharge will build up and produce backflow. Backflow will produce a "bubble" of sewer gas that it pushes back up the drain line coming out the washer stand pipe. That's where you get your smell. All indications point to this as the cause. The only remedy that I know of, outside of increasing the drain size, would be to install a compression fitting on the standpipe and a check valve next to the hose outlet on the washer. This would make it a closed system that no gas could escape from. Regards, tom
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    sheribo's Avatar
    sheribo Posts: 53, Reputation: 2
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    #3

    Dec 4, 2006, 12:07 PM
    The smell is not coming from the standpipe. It is coming from the open ceiling above the appliances. Do you think adding this device will stop the smell even though it is coming from a different area? Could our sewer vent on the roof be plugged - even though it was just snaked 2 months ago. I live in Canada and we have had very large amounts of snow in the past month!
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    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 29,303, Reputation: 1939
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    #4

    Dec 4, 2006, 03:33 PM


    The vent could be iced up. There's a lot of moisture in a vent pipe. Regards, Tom
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    sheribo's Avatar
    sheribo Posts: 53, Reputation: 2
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    #5

    Dec 6, 2006, 08:53 AM
    Well my husband climbed on the roof and poured water down the pipe. We did 2 loads of laundry the following day and NO SMELL! So it must be that pipe that keeps getting plugged up! Thanks for your help
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    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 29,303, Reputation: 1939
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    #6

    Dec 6, 2006, 10:01 AM


    If frozen vents are a problem then you may be interested in checking out Arctic Vents at: http://www.heatline.com/arcticprod.htm
    Cheers, Tom
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    mmay's Avatar
    mmay Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #7

    Dec 24, 2006, 03:29 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by speedball1
    Smells and noises are the most difficult to track down if you're not there.
    While we can't pinpoint the source we can point you to the most likely offenders.
    This is only a guess but We've had so many complaints like yours I just have to voice it. it would seem that the washer manufactures,( especially Maytag, check to see if that's who made your Kenmore) make their pumps stronger. If you have a 1 1/2" trap and drain it might not be large enough to handle the volume the pump puts out. If that's so the discharge will build up and produce backflow. Backflow will produce a "bubble" of sewer gas that it pushes back up the drain line coming out the washer stand pipe. That's where you get your smell. All indications point to this as the cause. The only remedy that I know of, outside of increasing the drain size, would be to install a compression fitting on the standpipe and a check valve next to the hose outlet on the washer. This would make it a closed system that no gas could escape from. Regards, tom
    Tom,
    This sounds like my problem exactly. In a previous answer you indicated you can "snake from the washer vent". What does this mean?
    Also I wouldn't know how to install a compression fitting on the standpipe, nor a check valve next the washer's hose outlet.
    What would you suggest?
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    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 29,303, Reputation: 1939
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    #8

    Dec 25, 2006, 06:20 AM
    Tom,
    "This sounds like my problem exactly. In a previous answer you indicated you can "snake from the washer vent". What does this mean?
    Also I wouldn't know how to install a compression fitting on the standpipe, nor a check valve next the the washer's hose outlet."


    Every fixture that has a trap has a pipe running up to the roof in the form of a vent. If the kitchen and the washer uses the same drain line you may snake from the kitchen sink vent. The compression fitting,(see image ) fits over the standpipe and makes the connection between hose and standpipe airtight and the hose check valve ,(see image) stops the sewer gas from entering the washer tub making the washer drain a closed system.
    Good luck, Tom
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    sheribo's Avatar
    sheribo Posts: 53, Reputation: 2
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    #9

    Dec 28, 2006, 08:15 AM
    I came across the sewer smell in my laundry room AGAIN last night. But this time I never used the washing machine! We had some wet clothes I threw into the dryer... and the sewer smell started! The washing machine hasn't been used for days now. Why would I get a sewer smell from the electric dryer? It can't be from the outside pipe being plugged if the water was never used? Any ideas? We have NO natural gas in our house either.
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    Irix's Avatar
    Irix Posts: 1, Reputation: 2
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    #10

    Mar 31, 2009, 11:17 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by sheribo View Post
    I came across the sewer smell in my laundry room AGAIN last night. But this time I never used the washing machine! We had some wet clothes I threw into the dryer...and the sewer smell started!! The washing machine hasnt been used for days now. Why would I get a sewer smell from the electric dryer? It can't be from the outside pipe being plugged if the water was never used? Any ideas? We have NO natural gas in our house either.

    Is your laundry room sealed up nearly air tight? (i.e. HVAC vents closed and doors closed in the room while the dryer is running)

    If so what can happen is as the dryer is pumping out hot exhaust air outside of the house the room (and house) needs to replenish the air that has been lost. If the room is sealed tightly it'll create a vacuum in the room causing air to get pulled in from wherever it can (under door, HVAC vents and such). If there isn't enough places for the air to come in as fast as it's being pumped out it could get pulled through the sewage pipes; with enough vacuum (negative pressure) in the room the "p trap" can be overcome.

    If this seems like something that may be happening at your home try leaving the door open while running the dryer. If that ends up being the culprit consider shaving 1/2 to 3/4" off the bottom of your door to your utilities room.

    Other things could be part of the problem too, if your HVAC system is not properly balanced (return air leaks) it could be causing negative pressure in parts of your house (usually the basement; easily tested by turning your HVAC fan on and slowly closing your basement door. If it gets sucked shut you have a problem). With the house already out of balance the extra negative pressure from the dryer could be the final straw to cause sewage gas to infiltrate.

    Good luck!
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    letmemakeushine's Avatar
    letmemakeushine Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #11

    Jan 14, 2010, 10:37 AM
    Your problem is with your septic holding tank your wash machine puts out about 35 gallons of water per load times that by 3 plus showers,dishes,poops and,pees and everything in between the pump if you have one or if it drains downhill it can't keep up in the winter time because the ground freezes sumer has no problems hope this helps fix is a pump to help move the water out quickly and get to the leach bed when the tank gets full the water and waste rise to the top and cause a smell in the are where your tanks are check the area in the yard where the tanks are and see if the smell is strongerand if the ground stays soft
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    tones15327's Avatar
    tones15327 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #12

    Sep 25, 2010, 12:09 PM
    Umm yeah everyone, I FOUND THE ANSWER! Symptom is as follows: You get a sewer gas/feces smell whenever your first load of laundry is running. Then it seems to go away. Your plumbing seems fine, your vents are proper, and your traps all hold water. ANSWER: Completely disconnect the 1.5 inch flex drain hose that runs from the back of the washing machine to the stand pipe or utility sink. Go to the home improvement store and get a 2 to 3 foot long pipe cleaner that is about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter. Shove it in and out of both ends as far as you can to clean out any gunk build up. We found light brown gunk that seemed to almost completely clog the upper half of this flex hose. It stunk! I guess it was about 5 years of build up, since the 4 foot hose drops to the floor and then back up the stand pipe, the draining water must not be strong enough push this gunk out and so it builds up. It even acts like a filter that catches more and more gunk as it builds up. When you do laundry, it moves it around until the water has a new path through it, causing the smell. Then when you stop doing laundry, it must settle back down in the hose again. It was bad. My guess is that the older type of thick rubber hoses that were smooth on the inside did not have this problem, but these light gray, "corrugated" hoses really let the gunk secretly build up. Hope this helps everyone with this problem.
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    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 29,303, Reputation: 1939
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    #13

    Sep 25, 2010, 12:50 PM

    Hi Tone.
    We thank you for the up date and will enter it in our data base. Thanks again, Tom
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    Larry1960's Avatar
    Larry1960 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #14

    Jun 29, 2013, 04:50 PM
    My laundry room smell didn't start till after I bought a new dryer. I have had the same washer for 23 years. Any ideas on my sewer smell? Thanks
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