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Rick Mather
Rick Mather, Building Inspector
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 3634
Experience:  Assistant Building Official, HVAC Tech
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Sewer gas smell when it rains... Begins in the basement but

Customer Question

Sewer gas smell when it rains... Begins in the basement but will consume the upper level (ranch on basement) We have had 2 plumbers look - no solution - thus far. They say everything is sealed properly and give us a bill. Any thoughts? There is no toilet in the basement - it has been "roughed in" for one but unfinished basement. If there is a leak in the one of the lines - why would the smell only take place during the rain? and could a small leak in a line (the smell) consume an entier basement within an 1 - 1 1/2 after the rain starts. It is bad - We have an air purifier (through our bus) but with out that - we wouldn't be able to live here after it rains. We are getting the septic tank pumped tomorrow and we are having the vent pipe checked out. Neither plumber has been on the roof to check the vent pipe (one checked the attic) Then today I have read that it can be dangerous - I have three children and I would really like this problem solved - yesterday! Any helpful tips? This house is 3 years old and the problem started end of July 09. Could you also answer the thoughts of this being deadly / explosive.
Thanks - mom of three
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Rick Mather replied 7 years ago.
Methane Gas is lighter then air and will most likely not be a problem unless it is allowed to trap itself and concentrate enough to support fire so little worry there. Ha sfar as why you would get theat smell in basement when it rains only. I would guess it is some type of venting issue because it only happens when raining but smell is escaping from an opening some where within your basement might be crack plumbing pipe or uncemented joint. I would ask a plumbing company to do a wet stack test and your sure to find the problem then. This will require them to remove every trap and temporary plug drain lines and fill drain and vent system untill it over flows on roof any leaks will quickly show up
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
The plumbing exhaust pipes on the roof were installed lower than the turtle vents on our roof. One plumber thinks they are to low and need to be as high as the turtle vents. He feels this will eliminate the bad smell. If not then could a cracked septic tank lid cause the smell to back up in our basement? Hopefully we will have problem resolved after tank is pumped and pipes are raised. Plumber says our pipes are sealed properly but if these two fail then we will have a wet stack test performed.
Expert:  Rick Mather replied 7 years ago.
Pumping the septic won't do any it will just begin a new cycle of making bacteria and do its thing very quickly fill back up with water. The only thin pumping does is take away any biult up solids which should be done every two to three years any way. Good luck on the other thing because this is a venting problem
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks for your input....After reading and researching... I realized we have a tub that does not get used and it could have gone dry. So I ran water through it last night several times and we had rain - No smell :) My fingers are still crossed because the rain was a light drizzle but I do know any other time there was any sign of rain -we would get the smell. So I am hopeful this is it. If so can you believe a determined mom can out think a bunch of plumbers? Maybe I should bill them :)
Expert:  Rick Mather replied 7 years ago.
Any floor drain or tub from nonuse the traps will dry up maybe you found your problem Great Job!
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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks:)
Expert:  Rick Mather replied 7 years ago.

Thank You for the Accept and please post positive feedback

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