LESLIE: Doris in Michigan listens to The Money Pit on WAAM – whamo! How’s it going, Doris? What’s going on at your house?
DORIS: OK, when my washer water goes into the laundry tub there’s a terrible smell. And I don’t know if it’s some water heater water or what it is.
LESLIE: And this is the only place you find the odor. Not in a kitchen sink; anywhere else?
DORIS: Just the laundry tub when the – when washing and that water goes into the laundry tub to disperse. Well, it’s …
TOM: Do you have well water or city water?
DORIS: I have city water.
TOM: I can’t think of a reason for it but what – except that perhaps this: that laundry tub. Where that laundry tub drains, do you know if under that tub there is a u-shaped pipe – it’s called a trap?
DORIS: I think there is but I’m not sure.
TOM: If the laundry tub was not installed properly and there’s no trap, what you might be smelling is a sewage gas that’s backing up from the rest of the house and the rest of the waste pipe back into the house.
LESLIE: And the reason why the trap is installed and it’s u-shaped is because it holds a little bit of water in there which, as the sewer gas comes into it, it sort of dissipates through the water and you don’t smell that odor. So if it’s not there you’re going to smell it.
DORIS: Well, you know, you guess what I did?
LESLIE: What did you do?
TOM: What’d you do?
DORIS: I gave it a good shot of Clorox and, boy, that took care of it. So I figure that must have done something to that water that sets in there.
TOM: Well, the water that sits in there is always changing every time the washer dumps. But if you don’t wash too frequently, if the trap dries out or if you have no trap that’s what’s causing that problem.
LESLIE: And it’s always a good idea, Doris, to maybe a couple times a year run an empty wash with just some bleach in it to clean out everything in there because we are finding that certain bacteria remains within the washer itself.
DORIS: Well, that’s what I’ve been doing. I have been doing that.
TOM: Well, you’re on the right track. Doris, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.