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Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

Old 07-30-2006, 07:03 PM
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Default Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

I got a question, I am sure one of you can help with, I build houses, I have a customer who is complaining that his master sinks smell in of sewer gas in the am when they are fisrt turned on, I have asked them to let me smell the odor, and sure enough it comes out of the overflow hole in the sink. It only will do it one time w/ the initial running of water. I thought maybe the overflows were defective on the sinks, so we replaced the sinks, My customers wife who is rather difficult said this would not fix the problem. The problem came back. The odd part is my customer did not complain for about 2 months or so again, Which makes me wonder? She has never liked her granite selection, and they are the type who want something for free. Anyhow, he is on my back about it again, and I do not have a solution. The traps are holding plenty of water, they are not being sucked dry, the vent is clear as far as we know, One plumber has suggested we switch to metal traps, as the plastic holds bacteria he claims, I have not tried this yet, I was wondering about a deeper trap, if the trap is holding water in theory, can sewer gas or smell migrate through it? I am out of fixes. I need help
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Old 07-30-2006, 07:20 PM
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Default Re: Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

The trap is to prevent sewer gas from escaping into the house. Is the line not properly re-vented, causing vacuum to pull the water out of the trap? Which makes me think..is the sink on an autovent (studer) that is defective? It is a "P" trap??
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Old 07-30-2006, 07:21 PM
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Default RE: Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

I love the smell of poop in the morning.
Smells like victory.
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Old 07-30-2006, 07:38 PM
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Default Re: Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

Are they on a well or city water? Well water can have a slight smell from time to time. Is it only in the vanity or all the sinks?
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Old 07-30-2006, 07:42 PM
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Default Re: Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

Is there somthing else sharing the same vent stack as the kitchen causing a vac. on the pee trap.
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Old 07-30-2006, 07:46 PM
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Default Re: Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

and check the vent piping in the attic to make sure all are on the right grade and not blocked [ birds or a rat ]. It is a vent problem.
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Old 07-30-2006, 07:57 PM
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Default Re: Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

Something is slowly pulling the trap dry overnite, thats why it smells only in the morning. Take the trap off and see if theres something lodged in it, some times that will make a trap empty. If all else fails install a "in-line" vent before the trap. If gas is getting past the trap you have a venting problem.
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Old 07-30-2006, 08:53 PM
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Default RE: Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

The weird thing is that the trap is not dry, I had them not use the sink in the morning, and let me pull the trap loose first thing in the morning, it is brimming with water, I think it is a vent problem also, but if the trap is not dry, what gives. It is my understanding, this only happens first thing in the morning when the water is run first time, It is on both master vanity sinks, that are vented together. The house is on community water, and none of the other sinks smell, None of the other sinks in the house have the overflow. They are both on P traps, someone mentioned that the trap might not be deep enough.
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Old 07-30-2006, 09:03 PM
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Default Re: Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

sounds like there is not enough vent and one sink is pulling a vac. on the other.

now were back to is somthing stuck in the vent stack[ dead bird or rat ] , you migjt want to snake the vents.
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Old 07-30-2006, 09:08 PM
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Default Re: Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

Quote
"The weird thing is that the trap is not dry, I had them not use the sink in the morning, and let me pull the trap loose first thing in the morning, it is brimming with water,"

Do you trust them/her?
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Old 07-30-2006, 09:17 PM
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Default RE: Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

To answer your question, no I do not trust them, They have pulled some nice ones, one of those folks you really wish you never had to deal with, I do admit, I have smelled the odor. I think the odd thing is that they did not complain about the smell coming back immediately after I changed the sinks out, they are the type that wants to show you are wrong. I just really want to be done with this. I thought about studder venting the sinks to eliminate any venting issues, I just do not know.
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Old 07-30-2006, 09:23 PM
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Default Re: Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

Do they fish with Capt. Rob Hammer
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Old 07-30-2006, 09:44 PM
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Default RE: Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

Welder that was priceless...sounds like the same folks

I'm no expert for sure..it sounds like a venting problem, consider having a PROFESSIONAL plumber look at the situation and maybe ask him to run a camera down the lines (vent to) and look for improper fittings blockages etc...its worth it these people will cost you customers!

Good luck
 
Old 07-30-2006, 09:48 PM
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Default Re: Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

There are just some people you can't satisfy and the richer they are the more problems they imagine in their head. Forget about the venting as I'm sure the venting is there and if the water smells it's probably the chemicals in the "community" water supply .It could be when water sets in copper tubing it absorbs copper and for that reason run water before you drink it, If you would have said cistern water, the month of july is a bad month for smelly water with different trees blooming and laying in the gutter waiting for the next rain. Don't forget ,some people will push you to the edge over nothing especially if your a nice guy. Take the morning water to the water department or a farm bureau or health department for a water test and that will end it.(save copies)
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Old 07-30-2006, 10:21 PM
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We all know the theory here. The p-trap holds water which stops the sewer gas from coming back into the building. If there is a problem on the vent side that sucks the trap dry, the gas will get into the trap/sink overflow and into the room.
So my question of trust was to decide if they/she would "manipulate" the test by putting water into the trap before you arrive?
I'm assuming you are the contractor and not the plumber? Or did you succumb to the lure and try to save a few bucks and do some of the plumbing yourself? No, I'm not pointing fingers, I've done it myself over the years. If you had a plumber do the work, I'd put some more pressure on him. I don't think the folks made/thought this up, they are just trying to take advantage of it. I'm leaning toward the problems stated above and also toward the fact that they/she is manipulating the situation for their/her benefit.
When all else is eliminated the obvious must be true, or something like that...?
rotsa ruck,
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Old 07-30-2006, 11:12 PM
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Default RE: Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

If it happens after the sink is installed for a few months it may be that there is bactiera is growing inside of the overflow. Fill the sink with water and bleach allowing alot of the bleach to run through the overflow, then check for odor the next day.
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Old 07-31-2006, 06:04 AM
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Default Re: Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

Now I’m no plumber, but let’s face it, if the P trap “is” holding water 24/7 then it is virtually next to impossible for sewer odors to escape.....that’s why code has P traps in place.

rustynutz - 7/30/2006 8:03 PM

My customers wife who is rather difficult said this would not fix the problem. The problem came back. The odd part is my customer did not complain for about 2 months or so again, Which makes me wonder?
I’ve got to ask, what makes “her” think that replacing the sink wouldn’t fix the problem????? Like what is her occupation, a Master Plumber? From what you’ve mentioned I get the impression that she knows something you don’t?????

rustynutz
She has never liked her granite selection, and they are the type who want something for free.
Let’s go back to > “she know something you don’t” and “The odd part is my customer did not complain for about 2 months or so again,”. You know it wouldn’t surprise me the least that she is doing something to create this smell. Also it wouldn’t surprise me if their last home had the same problem.

rustynutz
One plumber has suggested we switch to metal traps, as the plastic holds bacteria
Yah right.....smells in what, two months. Let’s face it, if this were to be true, then code would never allow for ABS to be used in the first place, or are you guys down your way using PVC? (I know up here code does not permit the use of PVC for this type of installation). But now if you said that this woman was using some sort of makeup cream, makeup remover or other type of war paint goop that was getting into the drain system and reacting with the PVC then I could go along with this brass trap theory. I suspect the smell has something to do with her war paint, war paint removers, night cream(s), cakes or whatever else it is that she is using.

As bernieb mentioned, “Take the morning water to the water department or a farm bureau or health department for a water test”, just I wouldn’t test the water for the reasons he’s mentioned, I’d have the water tested for foreign chemical properties.....like woman products.

I find it incredibly hard to believe that a venting/ drain system can draw a back pressure ALL ON IT’S OWN to empty the P trap in just ensuite bathroom......like that’s a mathematical stretch here. Question: is there “any” gurgling sounds going on when any of the sinks are drained or the toilet is flushed?
For any P trap to be drawn empty two things have to happen. ONE is the venting system is blocked somewhere and TWO the water has to be running to create enough back pressure to empty a P trap, and this is happening in the middle of night???.....like man that’s a lot of pressure!
IMO she’s behind this somehow. She knows something you don’t......like as I said earlier, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprise if she’s had this problem with her last home.

Would I go with a deeper trap, I’ve never heard of these, do they actually have such things? So for the sake of there is such a product, let’s look at this. If the venting system is blocked and there is enough back pressure to suck a conventional P trap dry then I’d have to figure there would be enough pressure to suck a deep sump P trap dry......if there is this much back pressure in the system then there has to be a ton of noises going on when something is flushed or drained in that house.

You changed out the sink, man that’s a new one on me? IMO don’t do that again.....the problem has to do with the P trap and or P trap’s water. Would I change the PVC P trap out with a brass/ metal type, yah I would, this is cheap and it shows good service on your part and it does eliminate the possibility of bacteria issues.

"in-line" vent, we call them cheater valves up here. Well one thing is for certain, if there is enough exposed drain pipe showing to install a T or Y fitting and there is enough height in the vanity to get one up high enough this will absolutely eliminate all possibilities of venting issues. Again this would be a cheap endeavor......but I wouldn’t be forth coming to the home owners with why you installed it, I’d just say that you were trying something...........sometimes you just have to weigh a pound of bacon to know it’s a pound of bacon.

Now for my personal note:

rustynutz - 7/30/2006 8:03 PM

She has never liked her granite selection, and they are the type who want something for free.
If someone isn’t willing to work with me, I’m certainly not going to work for them......I’d do everything in my powers not to screw with that counter top....I just hate to loose battles against greed and selfishness.
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Old 07-31-2006, 07:19 AM
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Default Re: Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

YOU stand at the sink and have someone go through the house flushing all of the toilets, one at a time. ONE of them will cause a gurgling sound at the sink causing the empty trap. Correct the faulty venting and the problem should go away........
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Old 07-31-2006, 07:43 AM
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Default RE: Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

Funny thing is we have flushed and ran everything in proximity to this vent, no gurgling, I told them to leave the sinks alone so I could smell it first hand, I went over at 7:00 no water had been ran to my knowledge, and I smeeled the odor, I also did the same on the traps, pulled them, they are full of water, This is why I replaced the sink, I read that in some cases the bacteria builds up in the overflow, Now for this to happen they have to run these sinks fairly high. I have also wondered about products being used causing this problem, I think the water test might be a good idea, but how come none of the other sinks smell. I think I will switch the traps, and snake the vents, who knows. But this still does not accout for the wet traps and no gurgle, I spoke with another plumber who says the metal p trap will make it go away, he does a lot of work in a neighborhood that uses the same community water service. I am like everyone else, I do not want to replace the granite on both vanities, I know she has never liked it. It is also odd they only call every 2 to 3 months about it. This is the same lady who had a few posps in her sheetrock, She went through the house with my drywall guys pointup man and put mud on every wall of an eggshell paint job right at 1 year. Total repaint needed. Sounds like what she wanted. Also water heater goes bad right at 1 year, and owner wants to worka deal to switch it to a renei, Starts going crazy when I tell him I am not switching it to renei, even if he pays the upgrade. I just want these folks out of my life. By the way house is in great shape after 1 year very few problems. Just this one.
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Old 07-31-2006, 08:15 AM
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Default Re: Plumbing Question Sinks smell in AM.

Sounds to me like something growing in the overflow...I like the bleach idea. Maybe she's putting something in her vanity during her daily primp session (God knows what) that is causing a bacteria problem. Like hair in the trap?? From what you say it appears you DON'T have a vent/trap problem. BTW, your year is up apparently..start charging them for checking the problem and I bet the problem goes away......
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