03:24PM | 07/13/03
Member Since: 07/12/03
9 lifetime posts
I moved in to a rental house near the SF Bay 3 months ago. Every 3-4 days, a hideous odor "erupts" into the Master Bedroom.
It is intermittent and smells like an old filthty latrine. Dead Fish? Hard to describe. There is no pattern to it....and I cannot make it "erupt". The room fills with this foul odor for about an hour or so.....then goes away for about 3 or 4 days.

We have had inspectors, plumbers & contractors through here checking every pipe, vent, and looking under the house (has about a 2 foot crawl space.)

We are totally stumped & so are the plumbers including the City Sewer dept. I cannot live in that room.

I am at wits end......Anyone have a clue as to what to look at next? Please send your ideas.
Stinky in Fremont, CA


04:51PM | 07/13/03
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts

Sounds like you've had some good expertise look at it already. But still, was wondering....has the house not been lived in for a while? Sometimes the water in a P-trap will dry out over time, allowing the foul gases you describe to get into a room. Perhaps a fixture or floor-drain needs to have water poured into the drain. Wouldn't it be great if the experts somehow missed this simple fix and it takes care of your problem?!....good luck!


08:31AM | 07/14/03
Member Since: 03/13/00
1678 lifetime posts
K2 might be on to something. I suggest as a test you let that faucet drip very slowly for the next several days. If the problem never occurs, that could be it.


05:24AM | 07/15/03
Member Since: 07/12/03
9 lifetime posts
Howdy - & thank-you for your reply.
I use the drains in that room everyday since I moved in to make sure the P-traps stay wet.
I have to make myself shower in there every morning & the toilet also gets attention. I could let water drip into the sink.
When the Stink arrives.....we go into the bathroom & cannot detect it coming out from a drain. Unless it releases a big cloud & then it is over. I will try the drip test in the sink. Stinky.


06:47AM | 07/15/03
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Hmmmm, ok, so it's head-scratching time. So I the stink noticeable in the crawl space...and if so, is it localized to the area under that bathroom? I'm beginning to wonder if it may not be a plumbing problem at all--perhaps a dead rat or something. It's certainly possible, e.g. if someone had used rat poison. If this is the case, it would just mean following the "aroma" until you find it (could be in the walls).

*** Or better yet, since it's a RENTAL house, have the LANDLORD do it

erik peterson

01:23PM | 07/15/03
Member Since: 06/23/03
224 lifetime posts
I had a similar situation a few years one was able to ascertain the origin of a horrible smell...turned out that the window being left "open" to air the bathroom out was actually letting the odor in from the outside. It was coming from the neighbors dog-run when the conditions (breeze,moisture,sun) were just right. erik


10:47AM | 07/16/03
Member Since: 07/12/03
9 lifetime posts
Hi & thanks for your ideas.
The owner & about 10 others (plumbers & the like) have been under in the crawl space and not found any dead animals nor smelled the stink. They have not been down there when the foul odor erupts. When it does erupt, I have gone out doors & sniffed all around the crawl area vents (also up in the attic) and can't even smell "the Stink" out there.

I am not convinced it is plumbing.....but the smell is so foul that it seemed like the logical place to start. I have smelled dead rodents in walls (unfortunately) and this is different and intermittent - every 3 or 4 days. Dead rats really smell when it hits 100 degrees ......This seems to "erupt" in the cooler evening time. (or 4 AM)

The Neighbor doesn't have animals.
There is a LARGE plant - Bird of Paradise - right outside the Bedroom. It does not seem to give off odors.

The owner has never experienced the Stink so it is getting difficult to get their assistance in finding this elusive ghost.....

Next steps??? Open up the floor? or walls?
It has a nice hardwood floor in there - built around 1960.


04:34PM | 07/16/03
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Well I must admit, I am stumped. As localized as it seems to be, it doesn't sound like anything obvious like sewage backing up from the community sewage system. It doesn't seem to be other obvious things like dead animals or plumbing vents. I highly doubt it's the bird of paradise.

The evening/4AM thing is a bit curious to me....this sounds "animal" I thought maybe skunks have nested there or something--but I doubt it's that--because as bad as skunks smell, I don't think they're as bad as what you describe, arrrrgh--plus you'd probably recognize THAT smell as such.

So I'm afraid I'm "fresh" out of ideas (so to speak). But I am most interested if you do figure it out, please post it to this board; I would really like to know what on earth this can be!

Best of luck, and hope you get to the bottom of it soon. One starts to wonder, is it possible to get your deposit back and move on...



04:39PM | 07/16/03
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
By the way, I'd hate to cut a nice hardwood floor for this problem. Especially since the crawl space is accessible.


04:46AM | 07/17/03
Member Since: 05/31/03
14 lifetime posts
You may check the vent pipe, a bird may have built a nest or something may be blocking it where it comes out of the house. We had this problem once and the vent was the last thing we checked of course. Ours had a small dead bird in it. Of course you had the inspectors there so they more then likely checked it.
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