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I have a home I've been to twice now. Once the 1/2 bath off of the kitchen was fine. The next time I was called back because the bathroom smells of sewer gasses. Per the realtor, this is an ongoing issue with this home and they have not fixed it.

Any suggestions on what it is and the best path to take?

Thank you.

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Tell them that you do not have a clue and chasing odors in a home is not an exact science. If it is a sewer smell then it is plumbing related. Have them call a qualified plumber to chase it down. They will and can pressure test and smoke test the plumbing in the home which you as a home inspector will not typically do.

It only hurts your pride for a few moments to say I Do Not Know and once you learn this it makes life as a home inspector so much easier and your clients will appreciate your honestly.

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I had a similar complaint this past summer. Realtor harrased me for 2 days. They didn't expect me to fix it, but 15 - 20 texts an hour asking me to validate a dozen different scenarios every few hours was pretty annoying.

Turns out the seller busted the main stack when they removed a very heavy wooden workbench from the basement.

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I may just try and check the clean out and drain in the furnace room since it sits directly under this bathroom. The drain may just be dry or the plug could be missing from the clean out.

Are they saying that you missed something?

I would not mind pouring a cup of water into the drain to see of that stops the problem, but I will not remove a poop plug!

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They thought I should have picked up the scent of the sewage gas. I know it wasn't there at the time of inspection but didn't want to seem unreliable so I returned to check it out just a bit ago.

The drain looked damaged since it basically looked like broken concrete under the grate. There was water present though.

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I once did an inspection and the buyer was with me the entire time. A few months after buying the home he called to complain about a sewer gas smell, After he complained a bit I asked him if he had smelled anything during the inspection? He stated no, but.... I should have somehow known, because his friend said.... blah balh blah. I understand he was upset he had a smell in his house, but I had to help him understand it was not my issue, and I cannot not miss an odor that is not present when I'm there. This is one of the reasons I always want my clients to attend the inspection, If he had not been at the inspection I'm sure he would have made my life a bit unpleseant.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I once did an inspection and the buyer was with me the entire time. A few months after buying the home he called to complain about a sewer gas smell, After he complained a bit I asked him if he had smelled anything during the inspection? He stated no, but.... I should have somehow known, because his friend said.... blah balh blah. I understand he was upset he had a smell in his house, but I had to help him understand it was not my issue, and I cannot not miss an odor that is not present when I'm there. This is one of the reasons I always want my clients to attend the inspection, If he had not been at the inspection I'm sure he would have made my life a bit unpleseant.

Wise words. If I'm at an inspection with the buyer and the heat and air check out I'll make a point of telling my customer so they realize or feel the cool/hot air. It saved me once this year as the air went out on the day after closing. Buyer still gave me a call wanting a referral to a heating and air contractor, but she remembered it worked during the inspection.

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