Asked on Jan 19, 2012

It's baaaack - when I moved into my house there was a smell that came and went in the upstairs bathrooms mostly --

DeniseFloorNerdDonna McCrummen


and outside but rarely at the same time. It was much worse when the weather changed. After about a year and a constant march of plumbers many of which wanted to practically tear my house down for tons of dough. I decided it must be a vent problem. I ordered a charcoal vent filter and it worked fine from early spring until now. I guess I need a new charcoal. My question is - since the smell is inside do you think there is a crack in the vent pipe somewhere inside the wall? I checked the attic exposed portion and it looks intact. It is copper/solid but old the house built in the mid-60's
6 answers
  • Does this seem to come around when its only cold? Lots of vents are undersized and with freezing weather the moisture inside of the pipe oftentimes freezes making the vent opening even smaller. The result is the traps in sinks and shower/tubs draw down the water which allows for air to move back up the trap. I doubt you have a crack in the vent pipe. If you did the smell would not come and go. Also location of vent pipe has a lot to do with smells. If its to close to roof edge, or near windows the colder weather can cause all sorts of different movements in the air drawing the odors down.

  • FloorNerd
    on Jan 19, 2012

    We're is the vent pipe on your house, top of the roof? I wouldnt suggest going up there to look and smell it vent pipe needs to be 3" minimum by code. Do you hear any sounds in the sink when you flush the toilet or any air bubbles the reson I ask is if you have something stuck in the vent? Do you have a clean out in basement? How old is the house and do you have septic tank? If so when was that emptied?

  • Donna McCrummen
    on Jan 19, 2012

    Yes, it seems worse in the cold but noticeable in summer too until we added the filter. We notice it when the weather changes. Last spring my son-in-law (good for something) went up and shoved a hose down the vent. There was lots of icky gunky black tar like stuff - ew. He cleaned them (2 vents) out as best he could and added the filter. No stink all summer. Now it's back mostly in the house which tells me Bob you could be right about freeze at least for this time. It has been quite a mystery. @Mark - no sounds and as I mentioned above we used a hose to blast out the vents. There is a clean out and it is on septic (new system installed 3/2010 -

  • FloorNerd
    on Jan 19, 2012

    Sounds like you need it flushed out again and filter replacement wait till it worms up a bit 1st. How many story's is your home?

  • FloorNerd
    on Jan 19, 2012

    Take a read at this similar to what Woodbridge had posted I found it cuz on a nother forum im on aperently the vent stack doesn't even need be existing?!? lol

  • Denise
    on Nov 3, 2014

    Hi, I am having a very similar issue. I have had multiple plumbers out and they are stumped and no issues with the septic tank. Comes and goes also. Hoping you resolved your issue and can point me in the right direction. ty

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