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  1. #1

    Sewage smell when heat is on

    We recently had an electric heat pump installed in our home (9/2012), prior to this we had electric baseboard heat.
    We used our heat at least 3 times after installation with no problem.
    On 10/20/12 we had a new septic tank installed.
    Several days after the septic was installed we began smelling sewage inside our home. We did everything the septic professionals asked us to do when we told them of the smell (making sure we had no dry traps).
    The smell would come and goo and we eventually associated it with smelling when the heat pump is running.
    The smell got so bad several times that we shut the heat pump off and closed the vents and covered them with plastic and by the next day the smell would be gone. We would go a dy or two before we uncovered everything and turned the heat pump back on.
    The smell is not always immediate but within a few hours of turning the het pump on the smell comes back.
    I can't take his smell but can't go without heat. Not sure why to do. Any ideas? Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Morgan Hill Ca.
    Posts
    1,219
    Check your condensate trap for the heat pump, chances are the condensate line is draining into a vent stack or something and the trap is drying out causing poo fumes to be drawn into the drain...

    The best solution is to have the installer check for proper trapping and they may need to increase the depth of the trap for more volume. Also too, it should vent to a trapped air gap and not directly into a vent stack.. (assuming this is the case). Hope this gets you pointed in the right direction...

    On the interim to see if it indeed is a trap issue, grab a cup of water and a little bit of vegetable oil and prime the trap with water and pour a little bit (1 TBSP) of vegetable oil in the trap (wont evaporate).

    Good luck

    GT
    If a day goes by and you have learned nothing, I hope you got a lot of sleep.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Tallahassee, FL
    Posts
    6,051
    Where is the air handler located? Is there any way the drain pipe ties in to septic. Plus just thinking out loud why would a brand new septic tank smell like you describe instantly.

    Unless you had a..... well .....a line of people waiting to go........

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Metro Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    475
    Where does the drain line from the air handler go? If it's tied into the sewer/septic system and the installer didn't prime the drain trap that's supposed to be in the line you could be picking up sewer gases due to the negative pressure on the drain line.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Northern Wisconsin
    Posts
    2,037
    Did the new septic system include new piping inside the house? Did any of this new piping happen in the same room or area that the heatpump air handler (indoor fan unit) is located? Are there registers in this area, especially return registers?

    Possible things that might be happening are: If new piping or any piping was done inside the home it's possible that an existing joint or fitting was moved or loosened so that it leaks sewer gas. Maybe when they did new piping they put in a fitting that was supposed to have a pipe connected to it, but somehow it didn't get connected. You might be closing doors to the room where the sewer piping and air handler are located that you hadn't closed before, this could (if a return register is located in the room) pull sewer gas even through a drain that has the proper amount of water in it.

    I spent 3 days trying to trace down this very thing once. Finally found a new pipe that had been installed that somehow had a saw cut on the top 1/3 of it. It was buried on the ceiling of the basement tight up against the floor above.

    You can call your heating person and ask them if they have a gas leak detector. Sewer gas is methane and the detector can track down the source if the person using it is skilled and thinks a little outside of the box.
    Use the biggest hammer you like, pounding a square peg into a round hole does not equal a proper fit.

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