02:56AM | 02/23/05
Member Since: 02/22/05
1 lifetime posts
To anybody that can possibly help me!


I just purchased an old farmhouse that has been partially remodeled. Before purchasing the house we noticed a faint septic smell when we ran the water. We consulted a plumber who said to fill all of the traps.

We did.

The house still smelled when the water ran.

I called another plumber.

He came over and had me on the roof pouring water down the vent (it took a 5-gal bucket easily). After sitting and staring at the pipes in the basement (all brand-new PVC) he told me to re-glue all the joints.

I did.

It still smells.

It only smells when the water upstairs is on. All the upstairs drains (1 toilet, 1 sink, 1 bath and 1 washer) dump into the vent pipe. Is that normal?

My wife will not stay in the house until I get rid of the septic smell, it is only when the upstairs water is run.

If anybody… has any suggestions… you will make a very good friend here.

Thank you in advance, Kyle


02:17PM | 03/12/05
Member Since: 03/11/05
3 lifetime posts
It may be possible that there are minerals in the water (such as sulfur) that are causing the smell. You might want to have your water checked. Usually the water is safe, it is just that it has an odor.

We have a similiar problem on a home that we infrequently use. We notice after we run the water normally over several days the smell fades.

The only other thought is that your Vent Pipes are not pitched properly and that you are really getting septic gasses.




02:33PM | 03/19/05
Member Since: 06/03/01
327 lifetime posts
Hi Kyle,

Here are some thoughts:

Since you mention a septic system, I will assume that you are probably on well water also? Well water is untreated and will promote mold growth pretty quickly. While your plumber friend was on track with his advice, I would go a bit further. The "P" traps under sinks, tubs, etc do need to have water in them to block the sewer gas from the septic system. You need to run water through them at least every 2-3 weeks as it will dry out. Also, the vent stacks need to be clear and I would recommend that you run a "snake" down then (in addition to the water). Then I would make some covers out of 1/4 inch mesh screen wire to prevent birds and other animals from entering and possibly blocking them.

Now you need to clean out your water system in the house. Anywhere the water can stand for a period of time can promote mold growth. This includes the hot water heater, pressure tank. Washing machine, dish washer, etc. Recommend draining the entire system as best you can by turning off the well pump and then draining the hot water heater, pressure tank, any filter systems, etc. Open a couple faucets so the lines will also drain. As for the washing machine and dish washer, recommend placing a cup of bleach in each and allow to stand while you drain the system. Then, add a cup of baking soda (to cancel the bleach) and run both the washing machine and dish washer through a rinse cycle. The baking soda will prevent any harm to your septic system from the bleach (chlorine).

Now, start the well pump and continue to drain the pressure tank and hot water heater for a brief period. After all this, your system should be in good shape. If you leave the home unattended for over a couple of weeks, you should turn off the well pump and drain the system to prevent mold growth. Also consider adding some bleach to the washer and dish washer while you are away. Then remember to add baking soda and run through rinse cycles before use. Also use a septic product like Rid X every other month to help renew the septic system. Hope this works for you.



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