Asked on Jan 9, 2013

spetic smell from shower stall

HelenMoxieSheila Hotchkiss Rowland


Hello, we have a 1 story ranch house in south florida. I recently retiled the bathroom floor and walls, i replaced the toilet with a new unit and re=tiled the shower floors and walls.
since then i have a spetic smell coming from the shower. i had a plumber reset the toilet bowl thinking maybe the seal was not seated correctly. We still have the spetic smeel coming through the shower stall drain. The septic tank was drained not long ago.
anyone have any advice, please,
thank you
11 answers
  • Hi Larry, I think I saw this same question on another post from you. The answer is the vent system is not working as it should. When toilet is flushed it needs air to allow that large plug of water to drain out. IF the vent that supplies the air for the toilet becomes clogged due to any number of things even dead birds or small animals, the vacuum it creates in the drain system is enough to pull the water out of any trap that is located near by the toilet. This can be a sink or a shower/tub as well. Be sure to fill the shower trap with some water, even if you think it is ok. Then while you listen closely to the shower trap, have someone flush the toilet. If you hear a gurgling noise or a glub glub. The answer lies in the vent system. That will need to be checked by a plumber to see what has happened.

  • I got to to think it is the trap / vent also but I got to ask, when you redid the shower how did you handle the drain & the slope (i.e. Schluter Pan & Drain set, does it still have the P-Trap, just went over what was existing, etc...)

  • SLS does have a point if the connection point where the shower floor connects to the drain system was done incorrectly water can be bypassing the drain causing this odor in the room.

  • Larry
    on Jan 11, 2013

    Hello and Thanks for the advice I will be checking the vent system as we have had problems with critters in the past. We live in the western part of broward county close to the everglades and the critters are frequent visitors, hope its not one of those big snakes they talk about in the glades:)))), the drain in the shower appears to be installed correctly so let me check the vent system:) Thanks again, azflcowboy

  • Keep us posted on this. I know you said the drain system appears to be done right, but floor drain system has to drain openings, One where you see the water go down the pipe, and a 2nd drain that is located below the tile just even with the water proofing membrane that the tile is set upon. What people do not understand tile floors leak, a lot, this water assuming the pan and tile system was done correctly, is allowed to drain across the membrane then seeps out of the lower drain openings you cannot see and down the pipe. If they plugged the drain holes with tile cement the water can collect just below the tile and cause odors were holes in the drain still remain. Check the vent system first, You can try snaking the vents, or run a lot of water down them to see if it backs up elsewhere or have someone with a drain camera look for defects. Once that is cleared and you still have this issue, I would suggest that someone with a infrared camera the floor can be scanned to see if any cool spots show up indicating if water is trapped below the tile area. Keep us posted on how you make out and what happens.

  • Larry
    on Jan 12, 2013

    Hello; Thanks for this added advice, I had an experienced tile setter do the tile floor in the shower, but you never know and people do make mistakes, however the septic system smell was noticed very soon after the tile floor was laid down.Thanks again,azflcowboy

  • Denise
    on Nov 3, 2014

    Hi We are having a similar issue and have tried everything. the smell is still persistent and comes and goes. Was your issue resolved? If so what was the solution? ty

  • Paul
    on Aug 14, 2015

    dumb question but is there a "P" trap in the shower drain?

  • Sheila Hotchkiss Rowland
    on Nov 15, 2015

    Don't use antiseptics in a septic system. It kills off the natural bacteria which makes the system work.

  • Moxie
    on Jan 16, 2016

    I think Paul is on the right track...

  • Helen
    on Apr 14, 2016

    P trap is a must, however, do you have your septic pumped out on a routine basis? We have ours checked every 3 years and pumped out. A sewer smell can indicate problems in sewer pipes or septic tank. I speak from experience--back up of sewer through shower is not nice.

Your comment...