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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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