I get sewer smelling water in my shower drain and it smells in the shower. I have checked all other hot water locations and do not get it in any other locations, only the master shower. Could it be bacteria in my hot water heater, bacteria in the line only to my shower, or something with the shower pan and drain? About a year ago the shower was redone and the plumbing lines moved over a little. Could that be somehow related? Thank you.
Welcome to Just Answer.
Sorry to hear about your problem.
If this was a smell in your water, such as bacteria, you would smell it from every faucet. Since it is from one bathroom it has to be one of the following:
Sewer gases can only escape up thru a drain if the trap below is not full of water. Using the water regularly is what keeps the trap full of water. If the fixture is not used often enough, the water in the trap can evaporate, allowing sewer gases to flow past it. Often, if there is a problem with the plumbing vent, such as a partial blockage, or the vent is installed incorrectly, the water can actually be siphoned out of the trap, allowing the sewer gas to escape. If the smell is recent and the fixture has been in place for a long time, then it would be safe to say that the vent was installed properly and that a recent blockage may be causing the water to siphon out.
Loose joints at the vent fittings are pretty rare, but can happen; unfortunately these are not easy to find without removing the portion of wall where the vent pipe lies behind the wall. Before doing this I would check all visible joints, between the trap and the vent, if accessible.
Many people often don't realize that the smell is actually coming from the wax seal of a nearby Toilet, in which you would just have to remove the toilet and replace the seal with a new gasket. I would verify that the toilet does not move when you apply a force on it, such as trying to move the bowl. Also, smell around the base to see if the smell becomes stronger.
My gut feeling is that the vent is siphoning the trap water or the toilet wax seal is actually the culprit. I would watch the short video below and clear the vent as they mention, to see if that does the job.
The first thing to do, is to really try and narrow down where the strongest smell is and where it is coming from. This will help tremendously and once this is established, the things discussed earlier can be used to fix it.
If you need further help or clarification on this answer, please do not hesitate to reply to this post.
Thanks for asking your question at Just Answer.
Best of Luck, Brian
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A plumber has checked the vent and said it is not obstructed. Also, the smell appears after the water has been running for awhile. Wouldn't that mean the trap has water in it at that time? Thanks!
Are you sure that it is a sewer smell or could it be more like a mildew/ damp basement type smell?
More of a sewer smell and even sort of a rotten egg smell.
If this smell has existed ever since this area was redone, about a year ago, then I would verify that the trap is installed correctly. If the trap is not installed correctly, the water draining may not be sealing the entire pipe and allowing sewer gases to escape by. The p-trap should have a good "U" shape to it, piping should be sized properly and the vent should not be too far from it.
If all of this looks good, then I would make sure that the toilet is not the culprit....it often fools many as being the source of the smell; it only takes something to exhaust air out of the bathroom such as a ceiling exhaust fan, to reveal the smell bypassing a bad wax ring.
Extensive knowledge of installation and plumbing codes.