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Stinky water ?


newhomeowner
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Hi everyone,

We just bought our first home and were wondering what factor(s) would cause the water that comes out of the upstairs bathroom sink faucet to stink ?!

All other faucets are fine but this one is wretched !

Another thing we noticed is when we turn the water off upstairs the pipes in behind the wall shake - not violently or anything but I have a feeling it's not a good sign.

Any advice, opinions, suggestions on what we should do ?

Thanks everyone !

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Pipes banging is known as a water hammer. Pipes are loose inside the wall. You can be careful and turn off the faucets gently, and they won't bang, or you can open the wall up and tighten the pipes. It's also possible the air chambers for the faucet's supply lines have filled with water. No air cushion will help promote the banging. Bleeding-down the entire water supply in the home, with the water main shut-off, then re-filling the system with the main back on, usually gets air back into the chambers. This bleeding-down may not work depending on home your home is plumbed, though.

Stinky water at just one faucet? Don't know. New faucet time?

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Diz,

Answer a few questions for us if you can.

Are there any other bathrooms upstairs, or is that the only one? If there are others does their water smell too?

Is there a tub and/or shower in that bathroom, and if so does that water smell?

Is there more than one water heater, specifically is there a separate one for upstairs?

Are you sure it's actually the water and not just the immediate area of the sink?

How old is the house?

Where were you on the night of March 14, 2002? Um...okay, forget that one. Got a little carried away. [:I]

Brian G.

The Game is Afoot Watson! [:-magnify

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Getting in the wall may not be too bad if the hammer is behind the vanity. Any holes can be rough patched and then covered by the vanity. Draining the system may be the best alternative. If the smell is central I would say clean the trap under the sink. You may be disturbing something odorous when you turn the water on. You should also describe the odor to narrow down options.

Would there happen to be a wooden drain pan anywhere in the house? Perhaps at the ever elusive second water heater in the dining room with the candle stick?

Mike Garcia

Help, Help, I'm being repressed!

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Phew ... ok first off the odour just smells like sewage or something, like a rank outhouse.

Don't know anything about a wooden drain pan =o)

This is the only bathroom upstairs, and no other drains smell like this. I have never noticed the odour in the shower so it seems as if it's specific to the sink.

There is only one water heater and it's in the basement.

I honestly believe it's the water and not the sink, if you're standing over it with no water running you don't smell anything.

The house is ooooooooooold ... built in 1954.

On March 14, 2002 I was having a beer at the Shamrock ... LOL !

Thank you all for all the suggestions on bleeding, opening up the wall etc. I think we'll have to do that eventually.

Does this info give anyone further insight ?

Thanks guys.

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Originally posted by newhomeowner

Phew ... ok first off the odour just smells like sewage or something, like a rank outhouse.

If it's the actual water and not the immediate area that smells like sewage, I would be very concerned. I can't help thinking there might be cross-contamination (sewage mixing with the potable water supply) somewhere in the plumbing of the upstairs. It's rare but it happens, and it can have very serious health implications. Forgive the obvious statement, but DO NOT drink that water (or let anyone brush with it or do anything else). I would totally abandon that sink until I had some answers if I were you.

Don't know anything about a wooden drain pan.

Pay no attention to that man in the hunting get-up. Only the very finest semi-portable domiciles have wooden drain pans. [^]

This is the only bathroom upstairs, and no other drains smell like this. I have never noticed the odour in the shower so it seems as if it's specific to the sink.

Well that's good. Less to invasively inspect and repair.

There is only one water heater and it's in the basement.

That eliminates one potential prime suspect. It can't be the only water heater if it's only at the one sink.

I honestly believe it's the water and not the sink, if you're standing over it with no water running you don't smell anything.

Very odd, but strange things happen.

The house is ooooooooooold ... built in 1954.

I was sort thinking about badly corroded old steel pipes, but with the smell you're describing that seems unlikely as a source.

On March 14, 2002 I was having a beer at the Shamrock ... LOL !

Hah! I knew it! Book 'em Dan-O! [:-batman]

Thank you all for all the suggestions on bleeding, opening up the wall etc. I think we'll have to do that eventually.

Does this info give anyone further insight ?

I'm tapped out at the moment, but maybe one of the plumbing guru's will come up with more ideas. Stay away from that water my friend.

Brian G.

Le Smell Is Hell! [:-crazy]

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I honestly believe it's the water and not the sink, if you're standing over it with no water running you don't smell anything.

That statement has been gnawing at me, and Mike's post is the reason why. We still haven't truly determined if it's actually the water itself. Diz, do a simple experiment for us. Run a nice big glass of water from that faucet, take it into another room, and give it a good sniffing. Is it really the water?

Brian G.

The Smeller's the Feller [:-yuck]

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Originally posted by newhomeowner

Phew ... ok first off the odour just smells like sewage or something, like a rank outhouse.

. . .

This is the only bathroom upstairs, and no other drains smell like this. I have never noticed the odour in the shower so it seems as if it's specific to the sink.

There is only one water heater and it's in the basement.

I honestly believe it's the water and not the sink, if you're standing over it with no water running you don't smell anything.

The house is ooooooooooold ... built in 1954.

. . .

I think its coming from the overflow channel. Nasty things grow in them over time and when you run the water it causes a small current of air to waft it up where you can smell it.

Try covering the overflow channel opening with a piece of tape and see if the smell stops.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Hi,

Well, the smell from turning off the water heater isn't so much from stagnation as it is from the reaction between bacteria and the anode rod in the tank. That creates hydrogen-sulfide gas and does stink to high heaven (rotten eggs) and is highly combustible and actually explosive.

I had one in a house a couple of months ago. The home had been vacant for 3 months. I came in from outside to find the client running water in the kitchen and the whole kitchen had filled up with gas. It stunk to high heaven. I got her and her kids out and then opened up all the windows. I'm sure glad she didn't test the gas stove with all of that gas in that kitchen. If she had, it might have resulted in something pretty bad.

That said, if it were the water heater, it would show up at every single hot water tap, not just a single sink upstairs.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 years later...
Originally posted by hausdok

That said, if it were the water heater, it would show up at every single hot water tap, not just a single sink upstairs.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Possible exception: I've seen many a bathroom with a little dedicated water heater. Usually, they serve a whirly tub and/or shower. Sometimes they're buried in a wall. Plumbers being what they are these days, it's possible that a hidden water heater got hooked up to the offending sink.

If the smell comes back, somebody might want to go on a water-heater hunt.

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