Fosse, Flaming Fosse

your help and advice dear friends… new (but v. old) house - rental. just moved in. been empty for six months… the immobilier says the fosse is fine… But, it smells so bad - in waves perhaps once or twice a day - and ONLY from the 2 shower drains. So bad it’s actually like methane. What to do?

x teresa

thanks all, and thanks linda - just back from a fact finding mission to the Brico - with ‘Starwax Traitement d’Urgence’ which wasn’t cheap but looks good and sounds just like the one you mentioned… will report back later! x teresa…

Have you tried the emergency treatment available in supermarkets (Tarax, I think). Also they make a product for unblocking drains (Tarax Chrono) - do not breathe in close to it, though as it is v. powerful. We have to unblock our ground floor shower some times as the runaway is very shallow. Worth a try,maybe.

that would be funny Catharine, I think it’s safe to say it’s a combination of long hair & calcaire though. It’s only going to get worse with 3 girls in the house isn’t it!

" nasty calcaire"

I just skim read that as “nasal hair” !!!

Can you “like” a reply?

If you haven’t got a trap, it’s going to smell of foul odours. I’m sure there’s a rhyme in there somewhere…

we had a problem after ours was blocked with nasty calcaire and the plumber who came & cleared the calcaire helpfully didn’t put the airtight seal back. The smell was awful, I called a different plumber who came out and said it wasn’t fitted properly, 2 seconds later fixed - no smell. He was really nice and didn’t charge me a cent. The second plumber is on our renovation list, the first one isn’t! Mind you the call out charges seem low compared to the UK 30euros I didn’t think was bad for the initial call out shame he didn’t do it right!

It does seem a common occurance though to have a smelly shower, some of the rental places we stayed in had serious problems, we just chucked loads of water down them to keep clearing the smells.

Good Luck! I know how nasty it can be!

Regarding the ground floor one, you’ll have to replace the tray and install a new trap I think. :frowning:

In answer to the question, is it normal, I’ve seen this plenty of times before, it’s just shoddy DIY. So yes it is quite normal!

When I say drain I meant the waste in the shower tray. Ideally you should replace the drain in the tray, which is actually called the trap, within the trap water remains so as to create an airtight seal, that’s what stops the smell. Where the pipes go outside isn’t too important as far as the smell is concerned. They probably connect to the tank at some point.

To replace the trap itself is quite a big job, but if there is an adequate fall, I would be tempted to fit a small ‘U’ somewhere along the waste pipe that comes from the shower, the bit you can see by the sounds of it.

Like this;

sorry james, i’m not making much sense i think!.. there are NO DRAINS… the pipes outside the house, the ones you can see anyway go straight into the ground. all the waste water on the ground floor, whether it’s loo or laundry or shower goes into the ground. we can see the waste shower pipe from the first floor - it comes through the laundry so we can easily fix a u bend = trap type thing (the husbands a builder / renovater type) and that will work if the lack of a u bend is the issue…
my question i suppose is… is this normal? what can we do to fix the ground floor - trap-less shower ? loadsa water?
x teresa

hm, ok, interesting… we’ll have a pop down to brico!

Without seeing I’m hesitant to make a suggestion, but if you can access the pipe then there may be a solution. Do you have a photo of the pipe from below and the drain from above?

There are shallow traps available, but we have one and we have to occasionally fill it because the water disappears. Ours is a new build and they still don’t get it right!! Ours is set in a concrete floor so I’ll have to take out the base and hopefully find the room to put in a bigger trap, no other way for it.

hm… we can install a u bend in the one from the first floor - we can see the pipe, but the one on the ground floor obviously goes down under… oh dear…
anyone else with bright ideas or a ready supply of clothes pegs?

We’ve got one like that in our house, the shower tray is a rough and ready affair and the drain is simply a pipe that goes to the septic tank, there is no ‘U’ bend. In your case it sounds like there is nothing to stop the stench drifting back up from the tank. I can’t think of a way to remedy it without installing a trap :frowning:


well, both showers are in use now yes… there don’t seem to be water traps in the showers? Also, there are NO DRAINS - all the piping disappears underground… we’ve done the yohurt . activator thing - we n=haven’t used bleach or any of the anti-bacs

Hi Teresa

You shouldn’t have any smell coming up through the shower waste as there should be a trap which fills with water to stop any odours. If the drains smell bad then I imagine there could be a problem with them. I assume they are showers that are in use? If not then the water may have evaporated. You can also help the fosse to do it’s job better by flushing some live yoghurt down the loo, you can also get a product to re-activate the bacteria in the tank from the supermarkets, same thing though. And try not to use to much bleach as this will kill the bacteria that are required for the correct functioning of the tank.

It may need emptying too.