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Hi. I’m Bob Schmidt with Home Remodel Workshop. Several months ago, I posted a video about a smell that was coming from my shower that I was thinking was sewer gas. I posted a video on how to clean the drain pipe and the drain and I stand by that video that something is easily done. But the problem is that smell, slowly overtime started coming back even though we were keeping the drain clean and everything else. So, that took me back to investigational mode. I’ll let you know what I found out and I was able to take care of the problem. Let’s get to work.
As I should during my first video, this is the drain type that we’re working with. It’s a tile shower with the mud pan. Now, we took this off and I showed you the whole process on how to clean that out. I invite that you check out that other video to see how to do that. But with that smell coming back out, that sewer smell coming back out of this drain, I had to do some additional investigating. It was obvious that there was more to it than just the cleaning of this pipe.
It’s important that you understand what this drain apparatus looks like and how it works. Basically, all you see is this little plastic thing in this silver tray. But the whole thing all put together actually looks like this. It’s three pieces. You have the top piece here that holds the drain, then you have the centerpiece here that actually seals the rubber against this which is cut into the sub floor. It’s really important that you understand how these pieces work together and how I decided where the smell is coming from in this drain.
The first piece that’s installed through the floor is this one right here. It goes right down and gets beveled right into the plywood. Now, your drain pipe is hooked to it down here. Usually, it’s a 2-inch for a shower drain. Now since concrete base and tile are porous which basically means that water can soak in and through it, how do they protect that plywood. Well, what they do is, this would represent a piece of rubber. They cut a piece of rubber and put a rubber base inside the shower. And then what they do is they take the second piece of the drain apparatus, slip it over the rubber locking it into these grooves here, and what they do is they tighten these four bolts up which creates a water tight seal from plastic to plastic down to this rubber.
Now, a real important thing to see in this second apparatus here are these eight holes that are actually built into it. Now what those holes do is if the water gets saturated into the concrete base enough that it builds up on this rubber, when the tile man puts his tiles around this little drain apparatus here, what he does is he puts a little bit of gravel here so that they don’t block these weed holes. And then, the water can soak through the mud pan into these weep holes and then down back into the drain pipe through this little gap right here, if you could see that on the inside. Now, that all being said, what this have to do with sewer gas coming out of your shower. This is what would represent our mud base, it’s a pan laid in there with a slope to it so that it goes to the drain. Let’s put in something like this. Then the tile is laid right up to this edge that you have a nice flushed tile, and then of course they grout the tile. Now, what I believe is happening is moisture is soaking through that tile grout and actually saturating down into the mud base. Now eventually, it gets down to the rubber that’s on the bottom and it drips back into the drain pipe.
Now, what causes the sewer gas smell? Organic material. And what is organic material? Anything that’s living or was previously living that’s dead such as blood, sweat, skin cells—all of these things. Now it’s my belief that the sewer gas smell that I’m getting from my drain although my drain is working properly, the trap is holding water and everything else, is actually the smell for the organic matter that’s dying inside my mud base. And then as the water runs into my drain, it’s drawing that smell through the weep holes and accumulating the smell inside my drain which makes this smell exactly sewer gas although I know for a fact that sewer gas is not backing up in this pipe. I’ll show you the solution that we did to take care of that.
The first thing that I did is I went to my local superstore and I wanted to find a cleaning product that would kill everything. I wanted it to kill bacteria, fungus, virus—just about anything. Well, going to their cleaning department, basically I talked to a fellow who said that one of the local hospital cleaning people come by every week and they buy this product right here. Now, this thing kills just about every fungus, bacteria or virus under the sun. I figured that if this is what my local hospital uses to kill diseases that could possibly spread in the shower, this is what I wanted because I wanted something to get into that mud pan that’s going to kill what’s making that funky smell.
Although just cleaning with this product once a week, I’m sure eventually it would have taken care of my problem, but I realized that I already have a build up of nastiness that’s already in this mud pan. So what I wanted to do is come up with something to really soak it and make sure that it gets there and kills all the stuff in the mud pan. So what I did was I took the screwdriver and my cover, I wrapped the back side of my cover with this duct tape and I’m going to use this as a seal to put back down in the drain temporarily. Now I punched a couple of holes through the duct tape and put these screws back down.
The next thing that I did was mixing up as per what the instruction said with this duct tape in place. I went ahead and filled the majority of my shower pan area and put my mixture on top of it. Now it’s not draining down because it’s obviously holding water. Now, what I did next was really hard to do. I went to bed. I went to sleep and then take this out until the next morning allowing this fungicide and everything else to soak well into the mud pan to kill everything in there that could be growing and smelling.
It’s been about four months since our initial treatment where we actually let the solution soak on overnight. But with regular weekly cleanings with the same product, we just rinse it down like we normally do. We have yet to have one day where we had a sewer gas smell coming from the shower. I love taking a nice hot shower, something about taking that nice hot shower in a place where it smells like sewer isn’t quite as attractive to me as it is now. So I hope this would be the solution to your problem. If you have any other questions or any other tips that you want to look at, please check out our home channel. If you like this video, please subscribe.