Sewer gas, or is it just me?

Today’s inspection featured a permitless finished basement with all kinds of problems. The basement bathroom had a sewage ejector pump, so I flushed the toilet enough times to start the pump. I was pretty sure that I got a sharp whiff of sewer gas the first few times I flushed. I don’t think the toilet is directly vented, but the ejector has a vent pipe that runs up to the ceiling before disappearing in drywall. I don’t see a defect. I feel like some guy who saw bigfoot in the woods; I know what I smelt, but can’t prove it. The smell had cleared by the time I called the agent into the room. Should I call for a plumber based on a smell? Bonus question: what’s the bell shaped fitting in the vent pipe (pictured)? It looks similar to the fan housing on radon systems, but there was no power supply.



Sewer gas can be a strange thing. I would definely note it in the report, and the fact that it disappeared. Did you try to re-create the smell for the agent. In the early 90’s I owned a restarurant, and every day around 2 in the afternoon there would be a sewer gas smell. Maintenance would always come out in the morning and everything would be fine. We finally went up on the roof an poured mint extract down the vent pipe and could smell it inside. It turned out that the vent pipe had a small crack in it. It could not be seen because it was behind the wall. Maybe one of the joints is not sealed, or the pipe is cracked.

As for the bell shaped fitting, I have no idea.

The bell shaped fitting is a check valve.

Thanks guys.

Yes, I did try to recreate for the agent… no luck. That might have been because I had flushed the toilet several times by that point.

It’s good to know about the check valve.

Was the smell of rotten eggs, and has the home been sitting vacant or the basement unused and the home is on well water?

Sometimes you can get that smell from a bad wax seal on a toilet. It may not leak water but may leak gas. You can also get back flow if the vent does not terminate properly on the roof. I once fixed a problem a Walmart that they had for years with sewer gas smell. I figured out that the venting was not high enough and that it was getting a down draft into the vent stack. By extending the vent it fixed the problem.

The presence of a ‘mondo’ check valve, and so much electrical cording, I’m guessing this is a below sewer line installation (tank, piping, masticating pump, etc). You might be smelling gases escaping from the temp holding tank. Since the inside of the tank (where pump is) must be accessible for maintenance. So check for the access cover is properly installed, look at it, tap it, smell it. Get home owner involved, he/she might have done some diy stuff on it(retrieved glasses flushed down, etc).

P.S. Don’t put your face down there, put your hand down there, cup a little ‘air’, and bring that to your face.



I noticed reading Larry’s Link under guidelines, that if pumping solids, the valve has to be installed horizontal or at most 45 degrees.
Would this possibly indicated that it was installed wrong to begin with.?

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile: