New House - Bad Smell. --- Help!

September 24th 2002

Question from Ben in Calgary, Alberta -----

Dear Shell,

The house I am living in is 18 months old. For the last 2 1/2 months, one of the upstairs room (where my 6 years old son sleeps) started smelling really terrible (he does not sleep in there anymore). The thing is, I had some visitors at that time and the bathroom was being used on a regular basis (the bathroom is a joined to the bedroom). I took everything out of my sonís room and the smell still persists. All other rooms and the bathroom do not have that foul smell. If I air it out, its ok, but the odour takes its time and creeps back in after the window is closed. One thing I noticed is that, if I fill the bathtub and release the water or someone takes a shower the odour gets stronger in the room. A service technician came over to look at the problem and said he can't smell anything. The question is what can we do to get rid of this stench? We have put our noses to the vent, air return duct, carpet, ceiling and the light fixtures and can't smell anything out of the ordinary, but if we stand back, the smell overwhelms us. As the service technician said, he does not want to get someone over there and they don't know what to look for.

Help. Please.



Dear Ben,

It could be that your sanitary sewer vent stack to the roofline has come apart in the wall cavity. This is not an uncommon problem.

Have someone go up on the roof and pull up on the vent stack that is servicing this bathroom. If it moves fully upwards, you have found the problem. Unfortunately, youíll have to open the wall to repair. With any luck, these repairs will be made under your new home warranty.

Also, always keep shower, bathtub and basin traps full of water during the winter because the water evaporates and will let smells back into the room.

Good luck!

Itís Just That Easy!