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GayleDu 05-14-2006 01:01 PM

HELP!!! What's that smell???
We moved into our brand new, 3200 sq. ft., 2-story house a year ago in March. When spring came and the weather warmed up we started noticing an odd odor in the bathrooms and not the "usual" bathroom odors. I first thought it was a gas leak and had the Gas Co. people come out who checked with their wands and meters and detected nothing. Then the Water Dept. was out to check for sewage gas and detected nothing. I thought my cat could have sprayed somewhere so I bought some special odor-neutralizing cleaner and thoroughly washed all areas a couple times with that without any improvements. I had a plumber out who couldn't smell it. And that's part of the problem--the odor is only present when the temperature is warmer. It diminishes in the evenings and is not noticeable when the weather is cold. And not everyone can smell it! I am especially sensitive to it and it gives me a headache. The smell is most prevalent in the upstairs bath but is also detected in the other two bathrooms. I don't know where to start to have this problem identified and remedied. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks.

oldslowchevy 05-14-2006 02:42 PM

mildew can do that witch is why i had to rid of my boat.if i had to guess that MIGHT be the source of the problem.

woodworkingmenace 05-14-2006 03:29 PM

It may be that you have a leak in the sewer stack, and that the expansion with the hot weather is whats causing it. Cold weather contracts various things and may seal it up again.

I too am the type that I can smell things in parts per billion (reason why a lot of times, the Superintendent would ask me how the plant was doing, because I was the first to be able to detect things at the Waste Water Plant:)).

Another possiblility is that something is in your attic and its coming down through cracks in the ceiling or through the walls, in your bathroom, (dead squirrels or some critter).

Now, make sure, to check your TRAPS in the shower or bath. its possible, that you have a plugged up soil stack, (though the plumber should have found this, if he checked the roof), and that when the temperature gets warm, or something happens outside, it sucks down the water from the traps in your bathrooms, (like when you use your sink in the kitchen and it creates a vacumn and draws down the water from the traps if the pipes arent big enough...).

Ok, my two cents worth..


inspectorD 05-14-2006 07:05 PM

OOOO U that smell,
Can't yu smell that smell....sorry I couldn't help myself..:rolleyes:
Since it is a new home,there may as suggested by WWM be venting issues.But it may not be that will be easy to figure out.
Does the water itself smell? Some areas have high sulfur content in the water.Well water? Kids missing the target?
Since it is a new home I don't think it could be termites, but they do give off a gas odor when you have big infestations.
Sounds like you need a second plumber to come out, then if it is not solved get an air quality test done to find out what it is you are smelling,or what may be offgassing, go from there.
Happy hunting...:eek:

GayleDu 05-15-2006 09:27 AM

Thanks Jesse and InspectorD:
You've given me somewhere to start with approaching this problem. I have spent a lot of time crawling around and sniffing drains, faucets, pipes, seals around fixture bases--no source of odor. It seems to be in the air and I'm not able to pinpoint a predominant spot. I've not had a plumber check the roof and attic. What should they look for? Another thing. . .this builder used the new, plastic sort of pipes, not the traditional metal. (Said it's preferable to avoid water condensation, etc. etc.) Could this have some problems? Someone suggested a "smoke test" for the sewage line where they pump smoke up through the lines back to the house to look for leaks in the pipes. But how would you find leaks? Bust holes in the walls randomly around the house??
In the meantime, anyone have any suggestions to cut the odor until the source can be identified? (By the way, kids and daddy aim accurately on the threat of getting to be pemanently placed on toilet-scrubbing duty.)

woodworkingmenace 05-15-2006 03:56 PM

Ok, smoke test are done in the manhole, and it comes up through the vent of the houses... If you have ANY type of loose seal, your house will look like its ON FIRE!! (I thought it was halarious when we got complaints because people actually THOUGHT that they were, and they didnt realize that we had actually done them a favor, by exposing this...All they saw was dollar bills floating down the sewer, because they had to get something FIXED!).

I would be suprised, (well, maybe not, when I see some of the shoddy construction going on these days), that the contractor didnt GLUE up all the PCV pipes! One loose joint will send fumes wafting around your bathrooms from the soil stack.

(And, dont be hard on those who cant smell it, a lot of people cant. Unfortunately, we who can, are cursed with extra sensitive receptors in our sinuses and can smell things that people will never know, nor even care to...{also, they say crazy people can smell more things than "normal" people, so, I have to check myself every day to see if I resemble that or not}:))...

Hmmm its a shame that you dont have a "straight shot" up from where your soil stack goes through the wall, upwards, (disregarding fire breaks)... But, if it was that easy, then everyone would want to do this, right? :)

Either your local Sewage Treatment plant (may) do this for you...(I kind of doubt it, because it would cause confusion in everyones house if they see smoke coming from thier loose joints -->but, its halarious to watch, when only YOU know whats going on, and they dont!! :) ;)

Or, you can hire a plumber to test smoke the man hole, to check your house...

Or, if you can get ahold of one of those testing things...(looks like a huge roman candle with wicks out both ends, and it comes in different colors), then do it yourself. I dont think that smoke bombs will do it, because its not enough smoke to get it done...(it has to last for 15 minutes or so, to go through all the system, as it travels down the sewer, out the manhole, and up everyones vent, it takes awhile to have to keep it going for that long, thus, the thing is about a foot long).

Ok, my two cents for what its worth, and a wee bit extra for the collection plate...


HomeandGarden 02-28-2013 09:21 PM

Did u find the problem? We have a similar problem that is been going on for 2 years. It is in our home office. Only smells weird when it is over 72 degrees out. Does not smell like mild or mildew. We have had many experts out and they come when it doesn't smell : ( No leaks. We have cement on grade.
We are going to paint with Kilz and see if that does anything.

JoeD 03-01-2013 06:46 AM

Thread is 7 years old. I doubt the original poster is even still around.

nealtw 03-01-2013 10:32 AM

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