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Ask Andy Lambert Your Own Question
Andy Lambert
Andy Lambert, Building Inspector
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 162
Experience:  City building inspector 14 years. Contractor 30 years. RI Dept. of Health Certified.
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Plumbing and Drainage

Customer Question

Can anyone help me figure out this unusual problem?

My sink in my new bathroom has a horrible heavy odor when i turn on the water. I realize its coming from the drain. I get an extremely huge amount of a rubber or toxic glue type odor everytime something goes down the drain.

It means that the morons that installed it, used a ton of stuff to glue the peices together (drain pipes). Anything i can put down the drain to get rid of this excess rubber/glue smell? It comes on really super strong and goes into my bedroom.

Or do I have to take the whole thing apart and have it [email protected]
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Joseph Barcus replied 11 years ago.
DID THEY INSTALL A TRAP? DUMB QUESTION I KNOW, IF YOU SMELL ANYTHING IT WOULD ONLY BE FROM THE TRAP BACKWARDS. DID THEY ALSO DO THE WATER LINES? HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN DOING THIS?
Expert:  Andy Lambert replied 11 years ago.

The glue should not be an issue. Even if they used an excessive amount of glue, unless it was done this week when they put the drain together. So, for the sake of argument, lets say it's not the glue. Maybe it's the trap installation (or lack of) like Joe Barcus stated. Then what if it's not? That leaves us to consider other reasons.


What kind of glue did they use? Model car glue? Look to see if there is purple cleaner swirled around the joints/elbows. That most likely is a sign that a pro. installed the drain. Do you know who installed it? Did you hire them? Can you call them back and have them make it right? Did they refuse? Did you call your local plumbing license agency to see if the guy was licensed? These are all the things you have to look into.


Did the guy pull a plumbing permit? He could get a substantial fine or have his license suspended if he doesn't make the problem go away. Believe me, he will come back if you tell him you wil have to contact the licensing agency in your town or city if he doesn't respond. (If he is licensed). Also, a newly installed plastic drain will have a slight glue-like smell more so when you use the hot water than the cold.


Next is ventilation. Is the bathroom well ventilated? Do you have a ceiling vent? If so, does the vent go directly outside through the wall or does it vent into the area between the ceiling and floor/roof above or drop ceiling? Does the drain have its own individual stack pipe or is it connected to the main? If so, does the individual drain end in the attic or between the ceiling/floor assembly above, or outside above the roof? Check all these items to make sure they are installed properly as I have described in my response.


Hoped this helped :)

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Installation is a week old now, they moved the drain line and replaced the long metal pipe with PVC, so the main unit in the wall is Metal (the main building drain), then they put a PCV pipe to that, then they connected metal pipes again (that you can see from my sink). Where would they install proper venting for the drain? It goes out in the main building waste? no?
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Oh, they also installed another side to the drain which is directly on the other side of it, they put a cover on it cause in 2 months I will be reloating my washer and dryer there. I need help, the smells are killing me!!!!
Expert:  Nick Sparks replied 11 years ago.
Try to answer the question about whether there is a trap by
looking under the sink and seeing if there is an S-shaped
bend in the drain pipe. The people above need that
information to help you.
Expert:  Joseph Barcus replied 11 years ago.
I'm still thinking you're getting sewer gas instead of glue. you say they left a open line so you can hook a dishwasher up later. is that below the trap or above. and if it is vented. it should not be just stuck outside the wall. anyways still wondering if you have a trap on it. did you know sewer gas will explode!!! in the right conditions
Expert:  Andy Lambert replied 11 years ago.
We can't assist you if you don't answer some basic questions. Is there a trap? 
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Andy Lambert's Post: There is an S type thingie under the sink. I guess that would be the trap you are talking about? Right now I am hysterical crying cause the smell is like burning my throat. I have covered the drain now with tape, so no smells will come out, hopefully that will help. The drain goes like that. Once it slopes back up, into the wall, thats where it is connected to a PVC pipe that is layed inside the wall.

The PVC pipe has at the end of it, it connects to the main buildings pipe. So they replaced the pipe in the wall behind the sink with PVC pipe. At the end where it connects to the "S" type trap, the other side comes out into the nnext room (Laundry Center). The peice in the laundry center is capped off until I get the washing machine moved in there.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Joseph Barcus's Post: Where should a vent go? what part of the drain pipe? Should the one in the wall be sloped?
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Joseph Barcus's Post: This has been doing this since they did this, but is getting worse day by day. Where I work, we smell, sewer back ups, etc. This really smells like rubber or contact cement, really super strong!
Expert:  Joseph Barcus replied 11 years ago.
IM GOING TO PASS THIS ONE TO ANDY, THE VENT THESE DAYS ARE ATTACHED TO THE UPPER SIDE OF THE TRAP THEY HAVE A ONE WAY LIKE VALVE THAT WHEN SOMETHING DRAINS IT PULLS IT OPEN FOR AIR. YEARS AGO THEY USED AND IM SURE THEY STILL DO VENTS THAT GO OUT THOUGH YOUR ROOF OR IN SOME CASES IVE SEEN THEM GO UP THE SIDE OF THE HOUSE.THE GLUE SMELL SHOULD HAD ALREADY BEEN GOING BEING ITS THERE FOR A WEEK, IT DRYS REALLY FAST WHEN THE AIR HITS IT. IM STILL THINKING SEWER GAS BUT I CANT PROOF IT THATS THE ONLY THING THAT MAKES SENSE. IF YOU HAVE A TRAP, AND YOU SAY THE LINE COMING OVER TO THE "FUTURE WASHING MACHINE" IS CAPPED OFF ONLY THING LEFT IS THE LOCATION OF THE VENT. AND COULD YOU BE GETTING A SMELL FROM THAT AREA.
Expert:  Andy Lambert replied 11 years ago.

Do you live in a tenement house? Is it possible someone threw Drano or other kind of toxic chemical in the main system? Is there a tenant  using  a washer in the basement? It's possible the belt is going and it is burning up without anyone knowing it? This would defiantly cause a rubber smell and a burning sensation in your eyes.


 

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Andy Lambert's Post: I live in a high rise and there is no thing like that. I went to my neighbor below and across the hall, their sinks work fine. I dont know how I get myself into these messes! I hope someone will be able to help me out, I am running out of money real quick!
Expert:  Andy Lambert replied 11 years ago.
Sorry but I cannot help you anymore than what I have tried. You will just have to call the contractor who did the installation and have him recheck it, or if he is unwilling, get another plumber. I have no idea why you would get a rubber smell. Maybe you are super-sensitive to the glue they used. I know because I am very sensitive to my environment