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Old 2012-05-07, 05:07 AM   #1
thebone
 
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Default Septic smell - isolate to shower on main level

Howdy folks.

This issue occurs ONLY in the standup shower on the main level. No sinks or anything.

We just moved in, and the place was vacant for a while. Someone suggested possibly the trap dried up and to run water; how much water do I need to run to fill the trap ?
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Old 2012-05-07, 08:12 AM   #2
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If it has a p-trap then its about 1 liter. Just run the shower a couple minutes.
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Old 2012-05-07, 08:47 AM   #3
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I assume you are using it on a regular basic. If so the p-trap is the source of the smell not the septic lines. Especially if it is partially filled with hair and sludge. I would clean it out as good as possible then fill it with some bleach and flush it out by running the shower. I have had to do that myself.
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Old 2012-05-07, 09:13 AM   #4
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Are you on a septic system? How is the main floor flushing performance?
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Old 2012-05-07, 09:44 AM   #5
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Unhappy The YEUCH Factor

If you have just moved in then "welcome to my previous world". Above posters here are right. The P trap is likely blocked with someone else's gloppy hair mass which is the YEUCH factor. Use the top bent portion of a wire coat hanger and just breathe out, never in.

We lived with a septic system for 17 years on clay loam and I knew it was early December because the septic smell permeated the house. Long story for another time.
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Old 2012-05-08, 04:06 AM   #6
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OK, I dumped some bleach last night, heading over this am to take some more boxes, will flush the bleach away and see what's up.
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Old 2012-05-08, 11:19 AM   #7
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I bet there is no vent stack from that bathroom...
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Old 2012-05-09, 05:07 AM   #8
thebone
 
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Um, how would I check that ?

LOL

Just to clarify it is ONLY the shower causing the smell. The sink has no stench. The washer and dryer has none.

I got to thinking last night, I've heard some people talk about the trap being dry and what not but now I am wondering, the wash machine hasn't been used in a LONG time.

Basically, we closed May 2. I am gradually moving things over. Big move day is this coming Saturday. However, the house was vacant for a few weeks before closing and even then, it was just the previous owner's kids slowly coming and clearing out their stuff. Possible that the wash machine hasn't been used in well over a month.

Could there be some sort of "shared" system, whereby the wash machine needs to stay active too ?
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Old 2012-05-09, 05:09 AM   #9
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Also, what's the best way to clean a P trap on a septic system ?

I have read some views that Drano is useless. I have seen some places suggest pouring bleach, letting it sit overnight, then dumping hot water down.

Or, should I be looking at snaking it or something ?
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Old 2012-05-09, 08:49 AM   #10
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The bent coat hanger trick mentioned by Sailmaker would work but can be difficult to insert. You can also use baking soda and vinegar to break up the mass.
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Old 2012-05-09, 09:09 AM   #11
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you can get a dril powered auger for under 50 bucks. Over the life span of your ownership you will use it multiple times. i suggest getting one and watching a few videos on youtube.
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Old 2012-05-09, 11:54 AM   #12
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I can attest to the smell that a mass of decaying hair etc in a trap can create. I had one drain when I moved in to my current place, that until I removed the offending mass would stink primarily when water from the spout was hitting directly over the drain. There was always an unpleasant smell that came back as the water in the trap was disturbed. Using some sort of plumbing snake although gross will probably clear the problem. The bleach will only be a temporary fix until the biomass in the drain is cleared.
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Old 2012-05-09, 12:03 PM   #13
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Something like Drano usually works if you follow the instructions exactly and perhaps requires more than one application. If it's stubborn, try a toilet plunger first (after the Drano), rather than a snake. You can usually "hear" the difference between a properly clear P-trap with water running through it properly (gurgling), vs a plugged trap (quiet). A plunger works best when there is a water level in the problem area (put an inch or two of water in the shower if you can and do this when you plan to shower anyway so that it doesn't matter if you get a bit wet) The water works as a "seal" for the plunger. Sometimes the "pulling" of the plunger is just as effective as "pushing" so do both.
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Old 2012-05-09, 01:03 PM   #14
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57 the visual you just created for us is ... well interesting. But I agree the plunger should loosen the sludge after a treatment to loosen it.

I bet a carefully bent coat hanger (rounded end with a spiral shape ) on a cordless drill would work too. Just don't force it in.
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Old 2012-05-09, 06:44 PM   #15
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Get a proper snake. You should be able to get one at any hardware store. I have one, and it makes quick work of any clogs.

This is the exact one I have:

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