LESLIE: Cathy in Alabama’s got a situation in the shower. What can we do for you?
CATHY: I have a bathroom that has a foul smell coming from the shower and our home is only two-and-a-half years old – we had it built – and there’s no mold in the actual drain.
TOM: How often do you use that shower, Cathy?
CATHY: Every other day.
TOM: Every other day. OK.
LESLIE: So it’s not like it’s an unused guest bath.
CATHY: But it seems like when I clean it with bleach or Clorox, the foul smell gets better but it doesn’t quite take it all the way away. It is like a mildewy – but we do have a septic tank.
TOM: Typically, when you have a bad smell in a bathroom shower area, in the drain, it’s because it doesn’t have a proper trap, which is a U-shaped pipe that goes where the water goes. And the reason it’s U-shaped is it’s supposed to have some water sit in it all the time. Now, if there’s any chance that that trap was not properly installed, that would be the reason for the foul smell.
What I want you to do is to take the cover off of the drain and shine a flashlight down there and see if you see standing water. If you see standing water, this is a good thing; that means you actually have a trap. If you don’t see standing water and you just see like a pipe that goes to nowhere, that means that the plumber never installed the trap and, if that’s the case, you’re always going to have smell coming up out of that.
CATHY: OK, great. I appreciate it. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Cathy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.