Is it a septic, plumbing, or rodent problem?

Old 02-20-24, 11:31 AM
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Is it a septic, plumbing, or rodent problem?

We have had a terrible smell in our master bath. It started out smelling like sour milk but then turned stronger and more like rotting cabbage or eggs. My husband heard a mouse in the walls in the room below so we both thought that we had a dead mouse. It's been 5 days and the smell was almost gone until I did laundry today which is on the same level as the master but other side of the house. Now the smell is back and stronger. In addition, I was in the master bath when the washer was draining and I could hear gurgling in the pipes of the jacuzzi! It hasn't been used in over a year. I waited to see if it did it again during the rinse cycle and sure enough, it did. We have a septic which was cleaned out last fall and there are only 2 of us living here. The septic exits the house on the same side of the house as the master bath on the lower level. We have no snow on the roof and the weather has been unseasonably warm. Any suggestions?
Laura Harrison voted this post useful.
Old 02-20-24, 12:16 PM
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The water in the Jacuzzi trap may have evaporated allowing sewer gas to enter the space. Pour a quart or more of water down that drain to fill the trap and see if that eliminates the smell.
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Old 02-20-24, 12:28 PM
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It sounds to me like you have a biofilm issue within wastewater pipes which can create an unhealthy situation if not corrected soon. If you can identify the area, a enzyme drain cleaner like Bio-Clean may help. (Make certain it's safe for septic.) If not, I suggest finding a professional.

Another cause may be in the septic fields. If that is the case, you should be able to smell the problem outside your home.

Last edited by Tony P.; 02-20-24 at 01:09 PM.
Old 02-20-24, 02:11 PM
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It sounds like you have a dry trap as others have suggested. The low use jacuzzi may well be the culprit. We seldom (never) use our tub and every few months I have to refill the trap. If that's the problem the easy fix is to simply fill the trap.

Gunk in traps/drains (bio film) can often be fixed with vinegar. Bio Clean is safe for septics but it is pricey.

If the smell doesn't disappear then start looking for vent issues.
Old 02-20-24, 04:03 PM
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If this turns out to be a empty trap situation you can fill the trap with water. and close the drain stopper to reduce evaporation. Or, get into the habit of running some water in the tub every few weeks or month. You can also pour a small amount of mineral oil into the drain. The oil will float on the surface of the water to help prevent evaporation. The other side of the trap is still open to the drain piping so evaporation will still continue but it will be greatly reduced with either method.
Old 02-20-24, 05:28 PM
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The smell didn't seem to be coming from the jacuzzi and I do clean it from time to time as it collects dust so it has had water in it since last using it. Your suggestions prompted me to do a google search on biofilm and I tried baking soda and vinegar followed with boiling water in a couple drains that I thought could be the issue and it is gone. Haven't tried a load of wash yet to see if still gurgles. Thanks to all of you for helping.

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