I recently bought my first place, and the downstairs bathroom smells,
well, sh***y, you get the point?. :(
I cleaned it well with bleach, thorugh out.. but still. I get that
smell I cant get rid of. Both the upstairs and downstairs bathroom
shares the same plumming. Upstairs bathroom smells clean, no issues
there, it is just the downstairs bathroom.
Is there a floor drain? Or, is there a space between the bottom of the
toilet and the floor? If so sewer gas might be coming up from those
places. If no to both, check under the toilet rim for years worth of
uncleaned filth. Another possibility is stinky grout in front of the
The toilet bowl may not be sealed thoroughly to the drain
That can allow sewer gas to escape even when there is no
sign of water leakage.
very thorough tutorial
We have a basement bathroom with toilet, sink, and shower. The sh***y smell
happens for us because the shower is seldom used and the trap dries out
allowing sewer gas to come into the room. Run a little water in the shower
and the smell goes away.
Try running water in all of the water-using fixtures in the bathroom. If
the smell goes away, you know it's caused by drying traps. If it doesn't,
then I'd bet your toilet isn't properly sealed to the drain flange in the
floor. You didn't say if this was a basement bathroom. Basement bathrooms
are notorious for toilets not sealing properly because of the way the drain
flange in the floor that the toilet sits on is installed differently than a
drain flange on the upper floors. In a basement, the waste drains have to
be installed before the concrete floor is poured. This means the plumber
has to determine the exact height of the drain flange for the toilet before
the floor is poured. If the plumber doesn't get the height of the flange
correct, or doesn't get the flange level, or the folks who pour the floor
don't or can't get the concrete level with the flange, sealing the toilet to
the drain flange using a wax ring can be difficult. I've seen cases where
one wax ring just wasn't thick enough to seal properly because the flange
was too low and two wax rings had to be stacked to get a proper seal.
Since you're new to the DIY world (welcome to the jungle, by the way)
let me ask some questions and share some steps to check, if it's any
First, a "trap" is the 's' or 'j' shaped bend in the pipe (or in the
base of the toilet) that stays filled with water. Its purpose is to
keep sewer gases from coming out of the pipes into the house...thus it
"traps" the gas in the pipes.
Do you have a complete bathroom in the basement, or powder room (sink
and toilet) or water closet (just toilet)? If just a toilet, have a
reliable plumber or friend skilled in plumbing remove the toilet from
its seat in the floor. The toilet sits on a flange in the floor, and
there is a wax ring around the flange that creates a water- and
gas-tight seal between the toilet and the flange. The wax seal could be
cracked from age or someone abusing the john (by sitting on it wrong,
people! Wow, where are your minds?)
If you have either a powder room or full bath, try pouring about a
quart to gallon of water down the drain(s) - sink and tub if you have
one. In this case, what may have happened was the water in the trap
evaporated over time, letting sewer gas come out of the drains.
How old is the bathroom? What is the floor surface in the basement
bath? I ask this because plubming requires a vent stack - you may have
seen a pipe sticking out of your roof which allows sewer gasses to
escape, and also allows the pipes to pull air in as needed during a
rapid movement of a lot of water, such as flushing a toilet. (A
fast-moving large volume of water will create suction in the pipes and
the stack alleviates the suction. Otherwise you get a thundering sound
in your tub or sink.) Now - sometimes in remodeling projects, a plumber
will create a stack vent inside the wall of the bathroom, and cap it
with a special valve that will allow air to be suctioned in when the
toilet flushes, but won't allow sewer gas to escape. If the
spring/plunger meant to keep the stack sealed against the escape of gas
has gone bad from age, you could be getting sewer gas coming into the
room that way.
Just some thoughts from someone who recently built his first basement
bathroom and learned a lot about plumbing and code...but still has WAY
more to learn.
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