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Old 05-17-2008, 01:35 PM
 
Location: FL
1,943 posts, read 8,138,121 times
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We bought a house that has a septic sewer. It was last pumped in November, and no one has lived in it since then. We bought the house May 5th, and been in there previously before that just for walk throughs. Smelled normal.

On Thursday, my husband shut all of the water off in the house, and replaced the sink and toliet with new ones. He said at first he smelled sewer smell in there, but then after he flushed and so on, it was fine. He turned back on all of the water.

I went there today and the house was fine. I opened up the laundry room and almost GAGGED. FYI, we don't have a washer and dryer yet so it's just pipes in there, but it smelled disgusting.

My husband said it shoudl be fine once we install the washer and dryer and do a load. Of course I am all worried about gas in my house.....

any ideas or advice?
Thanks!
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Old 05-17-2008, 02:06 PM
 
Location: NH. NY. SC. next move, my ground condo
3,533 posts, read 11,812,161 times
Reputation: 4509
Wink hope this helps

If the house has been empty for a while it might be because the s traps are dry. the s traps are at every sink and bath tub shower ect. if they are dry they will let the smell in the house. when they have water in them it blocks the smell from coming in. so i would try running water through all the drains in the house to make sure they have water in them. if that doesn't help, then check the vent pipe coming out the roof to see if it is plugged up with a bee's nest or something that would stop it from venting. another thing you could do is to double check your septic tank by pulling the cover open, just to make sure it has indeed been emptied. hope this helps.
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Old 05-17-2008, 02:23 PM
 
Location: FL
1,943 posts, read 8,138,121 times
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Thanks for your post. WHat I didn't know how to explain is that the house never smelled like it until my husband shut off all of the water and did the toliet and sink. It also only seems to be coming from the laundry room.

I will check the vent pipe.

WHen I pull the cover open, how will I know it's been empty- as simple as just not seeing anything? I wouldn't even know where to find this cover ....
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Old 05-17-2008, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,426 posts, read 47,159,100 times
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JFRR explained it perfectly.

I might just add something he did not cover.

When you do remodeling work and disconnect a sink, toilet or tub. You must block the drain/waste line outlet. Yes it smells because you are smelling a direct wiff of raw sewer. The way we always did it was to use a zip lock bag and place it over the waste line stub out. Then use a rubber band to wrap around the pipe for a tight seal.

The smell is bad but it is the methane gas that can cause some bad health issues.
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Old 05-17-2008, 02:30 PM
 
Location: In my view finder.....
8,520 posts, read 15,038,245 times
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You took the words right out of my mouth.



Quote:
Originally Posted by JFRRACING View Post
If the house has been empty for a while it might be because the s traps are dry. the s traps are at every sink and bath tub shower ect. if they are dry they will let the smell in the house. when they have water in them it blocks the smell from coming in. so i would try running water through all the drains in the house to make sure they have water in them. if that doesn't help, then check the vent pipe coming out the roof to see if it is plugged up with a bee's nest or something that would stop it from venting. another thing you could do is to double check your septic tank by pulling the cover open, just to make sure it has indeed been emptied. hope this helps.
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Old 05-17-2008, 02:31 PM
 
Location: FL
1,943 posts, read 8,138,121 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertsun41 View Post
JFRR explained it perfectly.

I might just add something he did not cover.

When you do remodeling work and disconnect a sink, toilet or tub. You must block the drain/waste line outlet. Yes it smells because you are smelling a direct wiff of raw sewer. The way we always did it was to use a zip lock bag and place it over the waste line stub out. Then use a rubber band to wrap around the pipe for a tight seal.

The smell is bad but it is the methane gas that can cause some bad health issues.

Now that the toliet is back on, we should be fine now, right???

Do you know why it might be smelling in the laundry area?
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Old 05-17-2008, 02:32 PM
 
Location: FL
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The bathroom isn't smelling now...just the one area...
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Old 05-17-2008, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,426 posts, read 47,159,100 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrshvo View Post
Thanks for your post. WHat I didn't know how to explain is that the house never smelled like it until my husband shut off all of the water and did the toliet and sink. It also only seems to be coming from the laundry room.

I will check the vent pipe.

WHen I pull the cover open, how will I know it's been empty- as simple as just not seeing anything? I wouldn't even know where to find this cover ....
You said it was just emptied in November. There will be round spot of missing grass or other disturbed ground. The lid is generally 20" wide and can be from a couple inches under the surface to a couple feet.

If you are really stuck your local health dept has the schematic showing you exactly where it is. You can always call who ever cleaned it.

Yes it is a large cement tank. Normal operating mode is full. It is always full. It is when the surface has what looks like wax is when it needs cleaning.

Just a note since you are new to septics. You will have to change your lifestyle a bit. The most strict thing of all is NEVER EVER use bleach in the washing machine. It will bring the normal 5-7 year cleaning down to 2 years. Bleach kills the necessary bacteria that breaks down solids. If you need to wash 6 loads a week....spread them out. Do not do all 6 loads in one day. Always scrape your dinner plates. Do not throw all kinds of junk down the sink just because you have a garbage disposal.

Do not wash hair down the drain because it never decomposes and if it gets into the leach field it will clog the perferated holes and then you really have some expensive problems. Same goes for laundry washing machine lint.

You can from time to time use an additive called Rid-Ex which you dump down the toilet. That is a good way to extend time between cleanings.

If you treat a septic like this and use these simple practices it will last a lifetime.
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Old 05-17-2008, 02:37 PM
 
Location: NH. NY. SC. next move, my ground condo
3,533 posts, read 11,812,161 times
Reputation: 4509
take and pour some water down the drain and fill up the s trap in the laundry room and that should fix the problem. that trap is probably dry too.
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Old 05-17-2008, 02:39 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,426 posts, read 47,159,100 times
Reputation: 10503
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrshvo View Post
Now that the toliet is back on, we should be fine now, right???

Do you know why it might be smelling in the laundry area?
I assume you did not remove any sinks or tampered with plumbing in the laundry. That being said if the home was vacant then no one did any laundry. Which means the J trap is dry. Water will evaporate from the trap if left unused for a couple months.

Many times people are living in the home full time but never ever use the 3rd bathroom. If you do not use a bathroom you must run the tub, sink and flush the toilet once a month. If you forget you will know it. You will smell the raw sewage but you will not smell the methane gas.

If your not doing an any laundry yet then pull the hose out of the wall and pour some water down it. about a big glass full is enough. That will eliminate the odors.
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