I thought I smelled gas last night so I called the Scarborough, Maine FD. They said that the smell is from one of the bathrooms and it needed a new seal. My boyfriend says that they don't know what they are talking about. I always smell this in both bathrooms. It is gross. What should I do? Can you get sick from breathing this a lot?
Kathie from Scarborough
Is this a sewer or septic system?
If it is sewer - please disregard the rest.
I know I am stating the obvious but sometimes you can get the smell coming up from the toilets and through the shower drains if you have a septic system. If so you might need to put some septic treatment down and research how long your septic has been in and if it has ever been pumped.
We have this happen at work if you have a drain you can pour water down the drain it works for us.
Most likely it is sewer gas. The seal they are talking about is most likely the wax seal under the toilet. The toilet has to be lifted up.the old seal cleaned out and a new wax seal replaced. Also check the flange the toilet sits on to make sure it is secure and not broken.
You can do this your self and save money or have a plumber do it and pay for labor. The wax seal cen be purchased at Home Depot over at Clark's Pond or at a hardware store. The wax seal costs a couple of bucks.The sales associate at Home Depot can show you how to do the repair. The other area could be the trap under the sink or the trap under the shower but I think it is the toilet seal.
You can also get the same smell from a sewer system. When I lived in the city, the sewer dept would sewer jet out the manhole on my street every Tues. It would suck the water out of the traps and I had to run water in the sinks for about 3 minutes, and also into the floor drain in the laundry room to get rid of the smell. Sometimes when they ran the sewer jet it would even suck the water out of the toilet bowl. If you are on a city sewer, ask them.
Also you may have a blocked vent. Most building codes require bathrooms plumbing to be vented to the roof. It could be blocked with a nest or something. If you rent, call your landlord.
My firefighter husband says this is common. The fireman are probably right. Some people confuse the methane gas smell with the chemical added to the propane and natural gases. However, you were right to call-better safe than sorry. The firefighters meters would have sounded if it had been gas. My husbands meter clips on his belt--you wouldn't even notice it unless it went off-they are always on.
Yes it can make you sick!
Until the problem can be permanently solved, may I suggest an inexpensive, temporary fix?
Sprinkle one-fourth to one-half cup of baking soda down your bathroom sink. Flush it down with hot water. Repeat once a week or more often if necessary.
And I agree that it might be the wax seal under your toilet. My hubby was a plumbing and general contractor for years. All he needs now is a stronger, younger assistant to do the lifting. Then maybe we can eliminate the "swamp gas" smell in our own bathroom!
Another unpleasent possibility is that some "solid waste" has seeped into the linolium and subfloor. If that is the case, and you will need to completely take the toilet up for that, you can fix it in one of two ways.
KILZ is a wonderful product that seals every scent known to man...even cat urine! If the small area is present, you can seal it, change the wax ring, and it should take care of the problem. If the problem is larger, consider cutting out the bad wood and replacing it with good. Nothing can save saturated wood that is too far gone. Good luck!
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