Smell coming from water pipes

3 Replies

My PM just called and said our tenants are complaining from swells from pipes. They say the plumber says it might be a crack or leak and want to do a smoke test. Is this usual? And if so is 300 for the rest normal? Thanks
Originally posted by @Tammy Wise :
My PM just called and said our tenants are complaining from swells from pipes. They say the plumber says it might be a crack or leak and want to do a smoke test. Is this usual? And if so is 300 for the rest normal? Thanks

 Coming from what pipes? If it is sewer gas, I would first check that all P-traps are filled with water - sometimes poor venting can cause a P-trap to get sucked dry little by little, especially if the fixture is hardly used. Run some water at every fixture, make sure nothing visible is leaking, and see if that fixes the problem. If it doesn't, you may have a cracked pipe or a leaking P-trap; sometimes that comes from a cleanout plug, so that's another thing to check. I wouldn't smoke test until exhausting other options first; sewer pipes rarely crack inside a house unless someone has damaged it, because they're not under pressure. Outside is a different story, as tree roots or shifts in the earth can crack a sewer line.

If the smell is coming from the water lines, first thing to do is have the water tested for chlorine level. High levels, and low levels, of chlorine will both produce strong odors. 

Based on the fact that your plumber wants to do a smoke test, it sounds like they are complaining about sewer gas. 

More than likely a sewer issue and $300 is just the start.  I would ask what are the other costs associated with fixing the issue once located i.e. isolating the cracked/broken line and repairing.  Is it just one bathroom or all?  If fixtures are not used the p-traps will not carry any water allowing sewer gas to pass through.

Are you local to the property??

If not does the plumber have a video cell phone where they can put you on it to see what the tenants are talking about??

A common complaint is from a fridge with the ice cubes smelling because the water is treated from the water authority coming in. Have to put a filter on the water line going to the fridge to get rid of that.

How much per hour is your time worth?? Mine is worth thousands so I would want to be on the video phone instead of going there.

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