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


08:31AM | 07/14/03
Member Since: 03/13/00
1675 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.

erik peterson

01:23PM | 07/15/03
Member Since: 06/23/03
223 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.


04:46AM | 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.


09:24AM | 08/03/03
Member Since: 07/12/03
9 lifetime posts
The Stink is still here. Please Help....
Cleaned out the vents to the roof & vented the exhaust fan.
Now it is showing up approximately every 5 days......we have noticed it in the evenings (when the day is cooling off) at around 8 p.m. to 8:30 P.M.

I cannot imagine it being anything other than plumbing related based upon the foul (urine-like) odor and the intermittent nature.

What else do I look at?
Seems like it should be so obvious because the odor is Sooooo strong when it does erupt. Seems to come right up through the floor throughout the Master Bedroom.

What could be under this House?


02:44PM | 08/04/03
Member Since: 09/01/00
312 lifetime posts
Well,this is a little far fetched but it happened where I work.Same deal,no real pattern,rotting smell coming and going,etc;etc.I finally discovered a small roof leak,which would pool in an aluminum header inside one of the drywalls.I had never known that rusting aluminum when wet can smell like garbage.Right after the leak was repaired, the smell left for good.


05:33AM | 08/05/03
Member Since: 07/12/03
9 lifetime posts
Dear Member:

We have found dry rot/termites in the outside wall & in one other bedroom.
The other bedroom never stinks & it has not rained in months.
Was your foul odor intermittent? Every 4-5 days? Thanks.


12:56PM | 08/05/03
Member Since: 09/01/00
312 lifetime posts
I don't recall that we had the time of the odor pinned down specifically,but it seemed like once a week, or more, for a year or two. I would keep a detailed log of dates/times and weather (esp. humidity).Condensation can form on hidden pipes and drip onto other surfaces.Also,draw a detailed map of the house and immediate area which includes locations of venting equipment.Also,attempt to get a history of the property site to insure you're not getting bursts of gas from an old land fill.
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