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Sewer Gas - More on Sewer Gas Leaks

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by Jim Neidner

Jim Neidner is a national award-winning
builder/remodeler and radio home host.


Q.) I just read your article on sewer gas. We live in Lubbock in a house with crawl space. We have started having sewer smell in bathroom. But, it comes and it goes. And sometimes it is on the complete opposite side of the house where the washer and kitchen is located.

We have a second bath in the front of the house that is seldom used. We sometimes find that if we run water in sink, tub and toilet in that area the smell goes away. But then comes back. Yesterday I identified that maybe it was when the temperature was high. But, strictly a guess. Can you add any other thoughts.

     ~ Bill D. - Lubbock, Texas

A.)  I think you hit the nail on the head. If we don't run water in the shower, tub and sinks in bathrooms that seldom get used the water in the pea trap evaporates and lets the sewer gas escape inside your home. This gas is dangerous to your health so you need to find where the smell is coming from.

Most people never think about running the water in the sinks and tubs to refill the pea traps in their plumbing pipes. Many homeowners over years have called me and think a rat has died inside their walls and want to start ripping open the sheetrock. Others think something is rotting inside their home and the smell is driving them nuts.

In your case that could have happened. Once you refilled your pea traps if the smell is still hanging around in your home, try opening all your windows and air out your home. If this does not seem to work by the next day call a plumber.

Toilets have a built in pea trap which is the water inside the toilet bowl so it's not your toilet, unless your toilet is loose and rocks around when someone is using it. If that is the case you might have a wax ring that needs replacing, so check that next.

So let's make a deal, Bill… check things out really well and if you can't find the problem, please call your local plumber, OK?

Jim Neidner

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