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Sewer Gas Odor Coming from Drains

October 20, 2009

A sink drain being deodorized with baking soda.I own a small restaurant. I have a terrible sewer smell coming from my sinks, when I pour large amounts of water down the drain or use the dishwasher. If I turn on the air conditioner its worse.

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I have replaced all the kitchen pipes, put in new pee traps, and had all the toilet seals cleaned, and the vent stack. I put in a grease trap, had the sewer lines cleaned out twice, had the lines with a camera to check for cracks, had a smoke test done to check for leaks, and raised the roof vent.

It still smells mainly on hot days. Can anyone offer any help? I also had a plumber check and he found nothing.

By Carol Frejek

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October 20, 20091 found this helpful
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My parents had the same exact problem. We went and got a couple gallons of vinegar and used it on EVERY pipe in the house, even the toilet, at the same time. We did that for two days and the smell went away.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 107 Feedbacks
October 21, 20090 found this helpful
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If you have already done all those things, I'd try the vinegar thing, and at the same time as she suggests. It might be a vapor lock of sorts and if you don't do it all at once, whatever 'bad air' there is might just move through to another pipe.

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I worked for a family restaurant with similar problems but they did the stuff you did and it would cure it until the next time. The grease down the pipes thing [lazy young cooks] was a contributing factor.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 170 Posts
October 23, 20090 found this helpful
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When we moved into our house, I thought I had a problem with the drain pipes. I tried everything to get out the smell. It wasn't a sewer smell but it wasn't pleasant. Turns out it was the water. This area puts a lot of chlorine plus other additives to their water system.

We weren't used to having that kind of water, we have always had well water. Needless to say, we don't drink the water because it also tastes bad. I was told that depending on weather conditions, additives have to be increased/decreased due to how the city final water tests read. Contact your water company if you use one, maybe something was added to the water. Good luck.

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October 23, 20090 found this helpful
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We used to pour bleach in the drains at the end of the night then cover them with saran wrap and tape around the edges. Smell was harsh but it worked!

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 102 Feedbacks
October 23, 20090 found this helpful
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We get that odour in our house. It's from our water. The city says it's caused by the chemicals they put in the water to get rid of "algae bloom" in the lake our water comes from. They were no help in telling me how to get rid of the odour.

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Good luck. I'd try the vinegar. It's an edible product, unlike bleach, and since you have a restaurant, I'd stick with the edible solution.

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October 23, 20090 found this helpful
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It's also possible that you have a break in one of the air vent lines. I moved into an old house and had the same problem, I finally traced the air vent pipe and found a hole in it that was letting the gases escape into the house and not outside above the roof line.

We replaced that part of the pipe and the smell slowly went away---the drywall was saturated with the odor since it was allowed to continue for so long. Don't know how you'd check for this in a large commercial building but it's worth a try since you have already done so much work.

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I would also add a scented dryer sheet in the a/c filter to help drown out the smell til you get it figured out. Have you talked to any of the other business owners near you to see if they have the same problem? That would let you know that it's a water problem rather than a prob with just your building.

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5 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

October 2, 2008

How do I get rid of the sewer smell in my shower drain?

Colleen from Saco, Maine

Answers

By F. Phillips (Guest Post)
November 1, 20080 found this helpful
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Check the vent pipes on your roof. They could be plugged. If they are plugged, odor will come out the drain or toilet.

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March 29, 20090 found this helpful
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"F. Phillips hit the nail on the head! If you're in Maine, it's November, it's cold, the vent pipes for the plumbing sometimes get clogged with ice from condensation. If it's been cold & dry, the water in the sinks, tub & washer vapor traps evaporates a little quicker than normal.

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You may also notice the pipes & drains making an unusual noise when one of the vapor traps dries out. Pouring water into all drains will reestablish the "vapor trap" & the smell will stop entering the living spaces.

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August 8, 2019

I smell a heavy odor of sewer gas in my house that's coming up through the bathroom sink drain, the tub drain, and the kitchen drain when I turn on the water it's not even more. My question is should I be boiling my water at this point until this problem is fixed?


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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
August 8, 20190 found this helpful
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Is the smell coming from the water itself or the drain or both.

First call your local water company and make sure they aren't having a neighborhood wide issue. Ours leaves voicemails when this occurs, but not all company's do that.

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If it is the water and just you, ask the water company what their protocols are for checking lines or if you need a private plumber.

Some people have insurance through their water companies so that is why it is important to ask before you do anything.

If it is just the drain, you will probably be best served to call your own plumber and have it checked out. We had a issue with the smell coming up from the drains and it was caused when a tree root broke our line. It was not a cheap fix. UGH. I hope this is not your problem.

Post back with an update!

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
August 8, 20190 found this helpful
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Call the local water company and ask if there is an issue.
If not, sometimes odors come up from seldom used drains. Let the water run for awhile and see if that helps.

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June 28, 2017

If you have rotten food in your garbage disposal that won't clear out, it may start to smell very badly. This is a page about sewer smell coming from a garbage disposal.

Garbage Disposal

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

October 20, 2009

If you smell sewer coming from the sink who do you alert? I am on city water and sewer.

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October 2, 2008

What would cause a sewer odor coming up from my drains? I live in the city and do not have a septic tank. I occasionally get the same odor from my washer.

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