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What’s That Smell?
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Plumbing 11/28/13

What’s That Smell?

From small plumbing drips and clogs to large floods and major work, all types of issues can arise in your home or business. However, not knowing the problem and how to solve it is probably the most frustrating experience when it comes to your home’s plumbing.

At Bill Howe, our San Diego plumbers are equipped to handle every job, small and large. But one common mystery we are called to solve is that of unidentifiable smells. Often described as “sewer gas-like,” these can in fact be caused by gases coming up through drains. Yet, it is not always so simple for your local San Diego plumber to locate the culprit.

Many unpleasant smells arise from punctures or breaks in a vent line allowing the gases to leak out of and escape into the home. However, unless you expose this vent line, it is not immediately noticeable. One way for your local plumber to detect this is to perform a smoke test. In San Diego, plumbers will seal off all vent lines and run a special smoke through your plumbing system. If you have smoke seeping through, you can determine the location of a compromised vent/drain line.

If the smell comes solely from one bathroom, and it is not the toilet, the lavatory sink might be the problem. If you have an overflow in the sink bowl and it has collected water and soap buildup, it may simply need to be flushed out. This can be done easily by running water through the overflow and cleaning out between the double walls in the lavatory sink.

If the smell seems to be coming from behind walls, it might be possible for your local plumbers in San Diego to run a small camera between the walls or through the small 2” drain lines such as the shower or sink to rule out any drain line breaks or loose traps allowing gases to escape into the atmosphere.

If vent lines and drain lines are intact, there are no cracked lines in the wall or buildup in your sink, the smell could be coming from a rodent in an attic, basement or walls. Bill Howe’s plumbers in San Diego have found these unfortunate creatures after opening walls or crawling in the crawl space or attic.

When all else fails, start with small tests and call an expert for help in finding the best option.

If you are experiencing unpleasant odors, call Bill Howe today at 1-800-Bill Howe (800-245-5469). You’ll be glad you did!


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What Joel C says about us

Very Satisfied. Michael is always on time, Michael has been doing all of the plumbing related to our remodel. He always does exactly what he commits to do within the estimated cost. He keeps me informed if any wrinkles pop up, and his plumbing skills are excellent as we have had no problems or issues arise after he has left. Very professional! Highly recommend.

August 2019


What Rick M says about us

We had other companies come out for estimates on what was considered a major job with jackhammers and replacing cast iron pipes under the house… having been stung before, we wanted another estimate just to make sure we were making an informed decision. The prior estimates went up to $21,000!
Bill Howe sent us an amazing veteran plumber, Dashawn and his co- worker Anthony. Dashawn did a thorough check of the problem, explained what he thought was needed … he did a final check and we were able to see for ourselves what was the problem. He recommended a complete cleaning to de-scale the pipes, and not the major work we dreaded. Thanks to his solid analysis and patience in making sure we saw what he saw, the issue was resolved completely, and saved us thousands of unnecessary work. None of the other estimates included the cleaning; only the major repairs. Thanks to Dashawn’s knowledge, professionalism and honesty, we’re Bill Howe customers.

August 2019


What Carolyn Housman says about us

This was our second excellent experience with Bill Howe. We had a blocked kitchen sink drain 8/5. I was able to get a same day appointment which is AMAZING. Person on phone was very courteous and set me up right away. Tony arrived at the house (called me 30 minutes out so I was able to be ready). He diagnosed the issue (blocked drain, not the garbage compactor) and was able to snake it and ran the water for 10 minutes to be sure the drains were clear. He cleaned up everything and you would not have known he was even there. Thank-you Tony and Bill Howe, you always know how.

August 2019


What Ed Gohlich says about us

Cory was our technician on this job. We had a time sensitive repair issue and Bill Howe understood and assisted with getting the job done quickly.
Cory was on time to start the job and finished it quickly. Upon his leaving our home he’s was courteous, very knowledgeable, explaining what the problem was and how he fixed it. Very good communication and this is the way it’s has always been when we use Bill Howe plumbing.
Great company to work with.
Thanks Cory.

August 2019

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What Eric says about us

I had a shower that would not drain. The employee arrived on time and fixed the problem quickly and effectively at a very fair price. I was very happy with everything. Thank you and I highly recommend your plumbing service.

January 2019


What Bridgett says about us

I am extremely happy with the service we received from Bill Howe Plumbing. We were given an incorrect diagnosis of our main sewer line from another vendor, but Bill Howe’s servicemen came out for a second opinion, correctly diagnosed our problem and resolved our back up issues. We will continue to use Bill Howe for all our future plumbing needs!

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