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 Sewage smell when washer is in use
Author: Tom24 (VA)

When my washing machine is in use, a horrible sewage smell fills the room that it is in. The smell usually starts when the machine is being filled with water prior to the wash cycle (the water in the rest of the house has no oder). I have checked for leaks and have found none. The sewage smell dissipates when the washer is not in use and doesn't occur again until the machine is being filled again for another load. Could this be a trap or a vent issue? Please advise.

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 Re: Sewage smell when washer is in use
Author: redwood (CT)

Is this washer the lowest drain in the house? I have seen washers in a basement with either a tight fitting hose in the standpipe or a direct connection on the drain where the sewer backed up into the washer causing a smell on filling.

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 Re: Sewage smell when washer is in use
Author: Tom24 (VA)

Thanks for the reply. This washer is on the middle floor in our house. There is a laundry sink beside of it. There are drains both above (upstairs) and below (basement) the washing machine. I do, periodically,run water down the laundry sink to insure that there is water in the trap.

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 Re: Sewage smell when washer is in use
Author: yonson (NJ)

Try running a small load hot water with no clothing and a cup of bleach. We do this every so often and the odor goes away.

:cheers:

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 Re: Sewage smell when washer is in use
Author: redwood (CT)

Is there an Air Admittance Valve (AAV) being used in that area.

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 Re: Sewage smell when washer is in use
Author: Tom24 (VA)

There is not an AAV being used. What puzzles me the most is that the odor starts as the machine is being filled long before any water is being pushed down the drain. I had a friend tell me to remove the flexible washing machine hose from the drain line and plug the drain while the machine is filling up. Hopefully this will help narrow the possibilities down a bit.

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 Re: Sewage smell when washer is in use
Author: dlh (TX)

the hose should not have anything to do with a smell only as it is filling.

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 Re: Sewage smell when washer is in use
Author: redwood (CT)

The only smell I have ever encountered comming from inside the washer involved Funky water that was sitting in the drum getting stirred up when the new water was added or, funky water coming into the washer on the fill cycle.

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 Re: Sewage smell when washer is in use
Author: akamon (GA)

using citric acid or a commercially available dw cleaner (forget it's name, but is widely available) every couple of months keeps my dw from developing a very funky smell, which it will if i don't clean it.

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 Re: Sewage smell when washer is in use
Author: Tom24 (VA)

Thanks for your response. I totally agree with the fact that the hose should have nothing to do with the smell while the washer is filling or while it is in the wash cycle. Let me mention as I failed to do so in the earlier e-mails. The mud/laundry room in my house is approx. 7ft. x 12ft. We have a washing machine, dryer and laundry sink in service. When we start using the washer is when the oder is noticed. It does progressively get worse as the washer continues through its cycle. I did have a chance to go up on the roof of my house last night and ran water down a couple of the vents to ensure that none of them were clogged. I'm thinking at this point, I may run the drain hose from the washer over into the laundry sink, block off the normal drain from the washing machine and see if the oder is present. Can anyone tell me how much force the water has on it when it comes out of the washing machine or woulkd anyone advise against doing this test? Thanks.

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 Re: Sewage smell when washer is in use
Author: dlh (TX)

do it if you want but what size is the basin you are wanting to dump it into? if it is the size of a kitchen sink then i would not do it but if it is a tub then you should be ok. your laundry machine could be siphoning the trap of the sink

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PLUMBERS "Protecting The Health Of The Nation"

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 Re: Sewage smell when washer is in use
Author: Marthamax (CT)

Tom, I have this exact same problem, so I'm wondering if you ever found a solution. My washer also emits the smell as it is filling before the wash cycle. People tend to want to think it is a drainage or septic issue, but that doesn't make sense as it happens before anything is draining.

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 Re: Sewage smell when washer is in use
Author: Beardancer (MT)

This seems a common problem, judging from web posts here and elsewhere. We do not have it in our own house, but tenants complained of it in a house we manage. We have two thoughts:
When the septic tank was pumped, we noticed that the sewage pipe emptying into the tank from the house discharged above the effluent in the tank. That would mean all the sewer gases confined above the effluent in the top of the tank would tend to be drawn back up the sewer pipes by the chimney effect of the roof vents. When my own septic system was installed, I was advised that the discharge from the house should drain into the tank beneath the surface of the effluent. That would seem to limit the surface area emitting gas to the diameter of the sewer pipe, and it should limit the chimney effect of the vent pipes. We have installed an elbow and extender in the problem septic tank to now discharge the sewage beneath the surface of the effluent in the tank. We are waiting to see if this helps. We also are wondering if the force of the pump in the washing machine may be strong enough to cause turbulence in the trap or even blow water out of the trap long enough to allow gases to come in. We notice that the pump in the washer tends to run a short time after the water seems to have been expelled from the machine. The problem is entirely confined to the laundry. Would appreciate any new thoughts or ideas from anyone.

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 Re: Sewage smell when washer is in use
Author: stevew (OH)

I have had this happen to two different washers. The first time it was because a sock or one of my kids underwear somehow made its way over the drum lip and between the drum and the tub that it sits in. This meant that this piece of clothing sat in the tub staying wet forever (I did not know this yet). It started to stink terribly, and went away for a few days if I ran a bleach cycle, but it always came back. I ended up taking the top off my washer and went fishing with a hanger after sloshing things around and looking in with a flashlight. And.... I found it. And it was layered with stinky slimy mold that thrived on the fabric that never dried and received lots of soap to help foster the growth. It is happening with a different washer now and I have been living with it for too long. I have not been able to fish anything or nor can I see anything... but I *know* this is the problem from past experience. So I am going to breakdown and call a repair man to disassemble the drum and see what he can see. Dimes to dollars it is some small article of clothing that is just sitting around getting nasty.

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