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A Plumbing Conundrum: Stinky water in toilet and we don't know why!

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Audio_Al Donating Member (536 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:58 PM
Original message
A Plumbing Conundrum: Stinky water in toilet and we don't know why!
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 11:00 PM by Audio_Al
We have a ten year old home which we built.

Three bathrooms -- three toilets -- all the same style and type and kept scrupulously clean by my wife. Wife and housecleaner scrub everything in that bathroom once a month.

Two toilets are fine -- the third one (probably the least used) has developed a moldy smell when the lid is up.

The smell is coming from the water in the tank and the toilet. Water is clear but stinks like mold.

We used chlorine tabs in the toilets for the first few years, but then abandoned them because of environmental concerns and had been told that chlorine would eat up the metal and plastic inside the tank.

Any other thoughts besides going back to chlorine sanitizing? Thanks for any comments.

Respectfully,

Audio Al
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bridgit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:14 PM
Response to Original message
1. is the stinky one on the 1st floor?
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Audio_Al Donating Member (536 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 07:35 AM
Response to Reply #1
8. No, it's the johnny in the master bathroom upstairs.
Somewhat cut off from the bathtub and shower by a little pocket door. The room itself is really quite small with just enough space for a small end table and the toilet itself.
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petronius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:21 PM
Response to Original message
2. If you're sure the smell is coming from the toilet itself, you might check
to see if there is mold in the bowl up under the rim (where the water enters) - it wouldn't be visible from above. Also, you might want to make sure the wax seal below the toilet is intact, which I believe is a job for a plumber.
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Audio_Al Donating Member (536 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 07:37 AM
Response to Reply #2
9. Yes, we thought of calling in a plumber, but we're leaving on vacation and
that will have to wait for next year. I'm going to try and check out the wax seal if I can. I've heard they can be trouble.

Respectfully,

Al
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IndianaJones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:27 PM
Response to Original message
3. flush it. nt.
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Audio_Al Donating Member (536 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 07:38 AM
Response to Reply #3
10. We do... smells when the water is clean or dirty.
Of course, it smells worse when dirty, but we won't get into that...

:sarcasm:
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Jamastiene Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 01:14 AM
Response to Original message
4. Water that sits, stagnates.
Flush it every other day at least and keep the lid up. Keeping the lid down will make the water stagnate faster, hold the odor and whatever else may be causing the smell. There are aerobic bacteria that are present in most water supplies. Also, there are anaerobic bacteria present. If you leave the lid down, it helps the anaerobic bacteria multiply faster. Those are the stinky, unhealthy kinds.

Leave the lid up and flush it every other day for a week. If that doesn't clear it up, call a plumber to check the gaskets, seals, water line to that certain toilet.

Also, you may have a sorry ass local water department that has left a "dead spot" in your local water pipe system. That creates a situation where water is allowed to sit in one area in the piping system and stagnate, like I have where I live now. That causes them to need to come flush the pipes (under the street) every once in a while. Lucky for me, it's their problem and they don't charge to do it, but it causes the cold water in one sink I have to stink to high heaven most of the time. Hopefully, you don't have this problem, as you'll have to rely on your local water department to do a better job, which some (like my local water department) are not prone to do. :eyes:
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Audio_Al Donating Member (536 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 07:41 AM
Response to Reply #4
11. A good and complete analysis, Jamastiene. Thanks so much.
We'll be flushing the toilets in Florida on Sanibel Island and in Orlando early next month.

I think I'll think about all of this when I return.

Respectfully,

Audio Al
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Omphaloskepsis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 01:22 AM
Response to Original message
5. Scoop out a bucket of the water and take it someplace else to smell it..
It could be a leaky pipe that is rotting the wood that you can't see.
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Audio_Al Donating Member (536 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 07:46 AM
Response to Reply #5
12. That's an interesting clue! I'll do that today... in between making the beds and
Edited on Thu Nov-29-07 07:47 AM by Audio_Al
doing the laundry.

And packing for a Florida trip.

We had an old tiled shower in our home in Boston. One day, I put my foot up on the side wall to shave my legs -- and it pushed in several tiles. The untreated wallboard from the 1950s had finally disintegrated and there was damage to the walls and the wood behind it. More interesting were the carpenter ants who had a whole nest behind those walls! It took us months to fix that bathroom and had to take one young hot-shot younger construction worker to Small Claims Court when he left us in the middle of the job. His father finally paid us back the $2500. The guy was OK with wood, but just couldn't tile the stall shower in the bathroom correctly.

In that case, you could smell mold in the closet next door, which was a big clue in that situation.
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eyesroll Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 07:53 AM
Response to Reply #12
16. You shave your legs, Audio_Al?
:D
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swag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 08:01 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. Not so unusual.
Many of us gentlemen like to feel silky-smooth.

I'm even considering electrolysis on my back and nethers.
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EstimatedProphet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 09:26 AM
Response to Reply #16
22. Maybe he's an Olympic swimmer.
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Audio_Al Donating Member (536 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #16
23. No, just my bald head. But I don't shave it in the toilet -- wtf???
Does head hair or leg hair have something to do with my toilet? But now that I think of it, the toilet wall is on the other side of the shower wall. The water intake pipe could be the same just be the same.

Perhaps you're on to something, but can't be sure.

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eyesroll Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #23
26. "One day, I put my foot up on the side wall to shave my leg."
That is a direct quote from your post, to which I replied. :shrug:
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Zuiderelle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #23
27. If you're putting your leg up in the shower to shave your head,
I have to wonder what head you're talking about. :shrug:
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Audio_Al Donating Member (536 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 09:33 PM
Response to Reply #16
30. Oops, you caught me, Eyesroll. It is my wife who shaves her legs.
Edited on Thu Nov-29-07 09:34 PM by Audio_Al
But I was in the shower with her that particular evening and we both punched out the hole in that tile wall.

Hope that is satisfactory.

:rofl:

Respectfully,

Audio Al, your Radio Pal
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J-Lo Biafra Donating Member (418 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 08:04 AM
Response to Reply #12
19. Neat! Are you a competetive swimmer or something?
I don't know of many men who shave their legs. :hi:
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Audio_Al Donating Member (536 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #19
24. No. I just swim a few laps (not very fast or well) and then get into the hot tub.
Wife Radio Lady is the swimmer in the family. The grandkids are good swimmers due to her efforts.

We did own a swimming pool in Boston and my job was to do repairs and help with putting on the protective cover every fall. Big job, but we love the backyard pool. It was gorgeous.
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sasquatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 01:30 AM
Response to Original message
6. Do you have a septic tank?
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Audio_Al Donating Member (536 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 07:47 AM
Response to Reply #6
13. No, the whole city is on a sewage system.
Thanks for your comment.
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ashling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 01:31 AM
Response to Original message
7. If the vent pipe gets stopped
by birds, wasps, etc. the sewer gase could make their way through the toilet.
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Audio_Al Donating Member (536 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 07:49 AM
Response to Reply #7
14. Where is the vent pipe? Would that be on the roof? What access do we have to see or diagnose it?
We haven't cleaned our roof and gutters of leaves. Maybe that's the problem.

Usually we have it done in September-October, but we've been out of town so much that job didn't get.
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ashling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 07:58 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. On the roof
and it should be capped, but not in some older homes. The only way I know of is to get up there and check. use a plumbers snake. I would think it would have to be stopped up pretty good for this to be it.

just a thought.

We rent an older (1950s) home and the plumbing is in need of some work along those lines.
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Blue Diadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 07:52 AM
Response to Original message
15. Al, I found this on wikianswers:
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_would_cause_a_mold_smell...

When you flush a toilet you are simply releasing the stored energy of the water held in the tank above it. Gravity does the work as the water from the tank fills the bowl, forcing it to drain. The water from the tank is dispensed around the inside of the upper rim of the toilet bowl. If that is the source of mold and odor, treating the bowl is not enough.

Turn off the water supply valve behind the toilet and flush. The water level in the toilet will then be low enough for you to use an anti-mold product, such as bleach, in a spray bottle to treat the underside of the upper bowl lip where the water comes out. Be careful and use recommended precautions to protect yourself from these chemicals. After giving the treatment time to work, turn the water supply valve back on to fill the tank. You may then want to put some of the chlorine product in the water tank as well and flush to distribute the chlorine treated water through the channels leading to the bowl rim. After that, avoid using the toilet for a while to give the chlorine time to work.

However, you may have another problem which was temporarily masked by putting chlorine in the bowl. You may want to investigate whether or not you have a leak where the toilet is attached to the floor. The toilet is sealed to a "closet flange" under the floor with a wax ring, or "donut" (yum yum!). If a leak is occuring at the floor as a result of the wax ring failing, you may never see the water as it is going down in search of the center of the earth. Along its way it will cause rotting floors and mold in the spaces below.

---------------------------------------------

Hope it helps.
:hi:
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Audio_Al Donating Member (536 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #15
25. Excellent information! This gives us a few "clues" to work on.
Thank you SO much. You are so kind.

Respectfully,

Audio Al
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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 08:15 AM
Response to Original message
20. I used the Google....
and found this:

http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/bath/fixt_repair/toi...


In order to keep foul odors from entering the house, toilets are sealed to the drain pipe with a ring of wax. During installation the wax gets squeezed between the porcelain and the iron (or plastic) flange, and once the toilet is moved from it's original position, the wax ring must be replaced.

A new wax ring is needed when:

Water leaks from the base of the toilet when it is flushed.
Sewer odors are constantly noticed in the bath room.
The toilet is removed so the flooring can be replaced. Removing a toilet is easy, there is no need to cut around the base of the toilet when installing new flooring.
The toilet rocks back and forth, even just a fraction of an inch. The wax seal will lose its grip if the toilet moves at all.

more....

:hurts:
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Turbineguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #20
29. A plumber who
worked in our hause always installed 2 wax rings. Insisted it was the only way to do things.
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Audio_Al Donating Member (536 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 09:41 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. Loads of good information here from you guys... thanks.
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PVnRT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 08:47 AM
Response to Original message
21. Could be an empty p-trap somewhere
P-traps are supposed to be filled with water to prevent noxious gases from coming up through pipe. If it empties. it's not doing its job.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 03:31 PM
Response to Original message
28. Some bastard is peeing in the tank.
It wasn't me!
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Audio_Al Donating Member (536 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 09:42 PM
Response to Reply #28
32. That someone would have to tower above me and have very long...
"urination equipment."

Not a chance.

:rofl:
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