Question: Septic Smell. Plumbing Pictures Included. A real challenge!!!

Greetings,
I've searched through numerous posts over the years without an answer to the problem I'm having so I thought if there were some generous plumbers out there or people that know the answer to this it would be very helpful.
I have a simple home in the country. The plumbing is only on the main level and in the basement. There is 1 toilet, 1 bathroom sink, 1 kitchen sink, and a tub drain. A water softening system is installed.
My bathroom has a septic smell in the winter time which appears to come from the toilet. No smell comes from the tub, or either sink.
The toilet is functioning well other than the winter smell. It doesn't appear to have any leaks at the drain seal, because I see no water on the bathroom floor around it, or seeping through the floor and into the basement.
I thought the water in the toilet acted as a trap? Is this correct or should there be something else. There is no smell in the summer, but from what I've read most people experience this problem in the winter.
A septic vent pipe goes from the toilet drain pipe (about 3" up from the only 90 degree bend) which you cannot see in the picture. The vent goes through the roof and a smell comes from it so it is not clogged.
The rest of the simple plumbing setup is shown and labelled in the 2 pictures.
Any ideas about what is causing this? I can only think that the seal on the toilet is not perfect and is letting gas escape from under the toilet along the bathroom floor but then I should see a water leak, which I don't.
Any help greatly appreciated.
Pictures are here:
http://www.janeboire.com/photos/pipes1.jpg
http://www.janeboire.com/photos/pipes2.jpg
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I'm wondering if perhaps there is urine around the base of the toilet and if it starts smelling when the heat comes on. Try using a strong antiseptic (Mistovan is good) swab it all around and see if the smell returns. Are you sure your septic system is in good shape? But even if it isn't, it's doubtful the problem would be evident inside the house. rps

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You have a bad wax ring, its leaking gas , I just had the same problem, no leak on floor , but it smelled, the leak was such that the liquid flows down , but gas leaks up. Your windows are oen in the summer, i bet.
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mark Ransley wrote:

Mark is right. <sigh> The wax ring can fail in such a way that there is no water leakge but sewer gas escapes. Jim
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Could someone tell me where I can buy MISTOVAN - name of the manufacturer and/or distributors ???
THanks a million
--
nycoleg


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snipped-for-privacy@ncf.ca (Marc) wrote: -snip-

-snip-
Is there a window in the bathroom that gets tightened up in the winter? My first thought would be to eliminate the possibility that it is really a rear-round problem that is only noticed in the winter.
Next I would suspect the vent getting snow, debris or sitting water that is causing a plug when it freezes in the winter.
Do you use propane gas in the house. I've seen folks confuse the smell with a septic tank. A poorly vented dryer, hot water heater or space heater could stink up the place.
Jim
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Unsupported claim from the original poster.
Leaks at the drain seal (wax ring) are not defined by whether there is water leaking in around it. It is indicated by whether you're getting sewer gas around it. The presence of sewer gas from a leak around the ring is not yet excluded.
With the design of the toilet, and the ring, it would oftentimes be necessary for the water to go uphill to manage to leak around the ring. But sewer gas can make its way past very nicely, especially when the house is tight, and the furnace is pulling it in to its air return duct. Go to the FAQ's in Toiletology at http://www.toiletology.com/frequent.shtml
(Marc) wrote:

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Thanks for all the replies. Just so others may benefit I'll address some of the possibilities. It's not a vent problem with winter freeze because the vent used to go into the attic only when I first bought the house (ie. no freezing or ice build up there) and the problem still existed. I put the vent out properly through the roof as soon as possible of course. I don't use propane in the house so the smell isn't that, and the dryer is properly vented (although the previous owners had it vented to the basement - venting wizards these folks were!!). I'm going to go with the assumption that the toilet seal is leaking. I didn't realize that gas could leak from the seal but there still be no water leakage. The toilet does rock if you lean on it heavily enough so it's probably a bad seal. I'm replacing the seal and seeing what happens.
Thanks to all....
Regards, Marc
(Marc) wrote:

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