We first noticed that sewer gas was seeping into the house when my friend did a blower door test in December. The smell was from the master bathroom and it would come and go. I never could tell which fixture had a leak. It didn’t smell worse by the toilet or in the tub or sink drains. I couldn’t smell it more in the shower.
Most of the time if I smelled it I could just turn on the bathroom fan and it would dissipate but I knew it was a problem. Finally the smell got worse and worse and I could not clear it with just the bathroom fan. I would have to discover what was going on. At first I suspected the tub drain but the tub seemed to drain without issues and without bubbling. The toilet however began to bubble whenever it was flushed and with that little detail the internet suggested that the vent or the sewer line was clogged.
There were no problems with the other bathrooms so the problem was definitely with the master bath sewer line. When we returned from our trip to see our daughter in Germany the smell was bad. My granddaughter had to use the bathroom and she curled up her nose and complained about the stink. I told her I knew there was a problem and was taking care of it.
It was so windy I was afraid to use the ladder to get on the roof so I waited until the winds had died down. There is a vent on the roof that could have been clogged. I dropped a plumbing snake down the vent and pushed against some obstruction. I’m not sure what I was hitting but it didn’t keep the snake from getting down into the sewer drain. But then at about 12 ft. deep I hit dirty water. I know that water should not be sitting in the drain like that. It meant I had to call in the professionals.
One of the advantages of belonging to the Facebook neighborhood group is that folks ask for recommendations for home improvement and repair projects. That is how I found the handymen I have used and so I looked there for a sewer company. The first one I called was a small time business owner and out on a job so he didn’t return my call after about two hours. He did finally text me to explain and offer help in the future after I called and said I had found another resource.
The folks who came out were actually another small business. Triple S Sanitary Sewer Services. This is the truck that was parked in my driveway and two men discussed the problem with me. Fortunately they were good listeners. We looked at the access to the sewer at the problem site. It actually didn’t smell really bad by the time they came. I showed them the actual pipe layout from a blog post.
They wanted to use the sewer cleaning equipment but given that the access in the bathroom was tight and the roof vent was accessible, they decided to use the scope to see where the issue actually was. The scope did hit a clog but it was a soft clog, just a bunch of toilet paper or perhaps a paper towel that might have gotten flushed by accident maybe by a grandkid but maybe not. (Littles will sometimes try to flush away unusual items luckily it was not a toy!) The scope was actually a good enough battering ram and the clog moved along with a few extra toilet flushes to help.
They were able to get the scope all the way to the septic tank and let me watch as they pulled it out. The sewer is not the best view of this house. There was residual black stuff in there. Yuck. But they told me it was just normal. There were a couple of places that the pipe had sunk a little bit. I told them I was worried there was a bigger problem due to the expansive soil but they said it looked good. The problem is when the water flow fills the pipe over 50%. That means the slope has been compromised. I hope that never happens!
I would recommend the company to anyone else who needed sewer services. I just have to let the Facebook group know.