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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    5

    Default really bad smell

    I am not sure I am posting this in the right section-I was torn between basement, plumbing and heating. Here goes: I have had a terrible 'wet' or musty smell which comes and goes. I cannot determine a pattern. For the longest time I thought it was coming from my clay/dirt floor cellar because I had water problems down there; but I have fixed that last fall with proper guttering and even had a cement floor installed. It has remained dry. The winter was odorless and I thought the problem was solved, but it started again last spring/summer. I can smell it behind my washer, which is located in the kitchen and around the tub which is also off of the kitchen. (both rooms are above a crawl space) So maybe a plumbing issue? But the smell does NOT coincide with washing clothes or showering. Nor does it seem to matter if it's raining. In fact, the house can smell fine and then if I leave for a few days, it is rank when I return. It's been especially bad this past week-I could smell it very strongly at the cold air exchange in the livingroom (directly above the cement floor cellar) so I went in the cellar, where the furnace is located, and was surprised to feel warm tempertures when it should have been cool down there. I had the furnace running off and on for the past week. I thought maybe one of the duct things came loose and I was heating the cellar but I couldn't find it. I am having the furnace guy come next week for the annual inspect, so I'll ask him about it. And by the way, the furnace is less then a year old. So can anyone help me? Is it a plumbing, drain, or furnace problem? Why is the smell coming from the cold air exchange? Please help me, I am really sick of this stink!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: really bad smell

    I feel your pain. Wanna hear my story? A couple days after Labor Day I discovered a leak in my oil furnace where it connects to the fuel pump. I came home to the house reeking of oil. I went down stairs and noticed that the furnace was contaminated with oil. Approximately 1 gallon has leaked. I cleaned up what I could using kitty litter and shoveling any contaminated oil. I called our local hazmat guy and he inspected the place. He said there was no oil odor and his detector he had with him confirmed that. He left and said I didnít have a problem. Not convinced, I stumbled upon a Bio Remediation company that produces a product that eats oil. It contains bacteria that converts the oil to water. Things seemed better after this however I still noticed a funky odor in the weeks that followed. Slowly the odor disappeared, either that or I got used to it.

    This past week I replaced the furnace. I came home to the furnace running and a terrible smell in the house. It smelled musty, dusty and just plain weird. I could hardly stand it. I have the heat turned down to 55 (which is normal for me) so the smell will stop coming from the basement.

    Iím not sure what to do at this point. I donít have any suggestions but just wanted to let you know that youíre not the only person dealing with a problem like this. I hope you find a solution. Let us know once you come up with something. Iíll contact a few people to see if they can help me out.

    Tim.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: really bad smell

    thanks tim, I'm glad that someone out there is listening! well, the furnace guy came out and lo and behold, the duct work leading to the cold air exchange had a tear in it. He repaired it. I no longer smell the odor from the cold air exchange as much, but the odor is still present-mainly in my kitchen, where all my plumbing is located. (sink, washer, and bathroom). Then I happened to notice that my water softner, located in the cellar, was out of salt and probably had been for some time. I though maybe, just maybe, the smell was related to that plumbing. I put in salt and it really did seem to improve, but it did not solve the problem. Then, upon the advice of a friend, filled all of my sinks, the tub and the washer with hot bleach water and drained them all at the same time. The house had a very nice clean bleach smell for the rest of the evening, only to wake to the odor, intensified.

    So. I am having a plumber come this week. And another thing-I might have mentioned that my cellar is very warm. The furnace guy said that my new furnace puts out a certain amount of radiant heat. I wonder--maybe a dehumidifier will do the trick. (I'm not rushing into that option because I have had the smell longer than the new furnace) First I will see what the plumber says. And I will let you know. thank you......elizabeth

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: really bad smell

    Well, here's the latest: I checked the sump pump and found no dead animals in there, nor did I smell the odor at that spot. But thank you for that suggestion because I hadn't thought of it. The plumber came today and found a small leak in the 4" pipe coming from the toilet, way at the back of the crawl space. He seems to think that this could very well be the cause of my problem, which makes me very happy. However, he didn't crawl back there because he also saw an animal, maybe a squirrel, lurking around in the immediate vicinity of the leak. Because of the very tight squeeze in the crawl space, he didn't want to "corner" the rodent and possibly get bit, so he asked me to get rid of it before he comes back. So, I called an exterminator (oh my god, is that expensive! 150 bucks just to set a trap!) and hopefully, the varment will be caught very soon and I can proceed with the plumbing fix. I will let you know if it works out. thanks for listening! elizabeth
    Last edited by ploog; 11-14-2007 at 08:53 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: really bad smell

    I think I'm back at square one. the plumber came back two more times; he realized he would not fit in the crawl space, so he had to return with a another guy to help him dig. After much investigation, he realizes he was wrong about the leak. No leaks in the plumbing. He said it was dry as bone with no moisture coming in at all on that end of the crawlspace. He did find some duct work which was detached and fixed it for me. On the other side of the crawlspace, which lies below a part of the house where I don't smell the odor, he found a couple of damp areas which seem to be the result of downspout issues. He thought the smell could be coming from that and the detached duct was allowing the bad air directly into the house. I'm sure that contributed but this was two days ago and I'm not really smelling any improvement. Another thing thing was noticed by a relative was that my new furnace (new as of last winter) doesn't seem to be pulling air from the outside but rather recycling the air from the inside. ???? On monday I will call the furnace guy and ask about this. I don't smell anything bad coming from the registers when the heat is blowing. Maybe I just need to give it some time and once the wet spots are dried up the smell will go away. I bought some guttering to move the water farther away from the house, so that should prevent further leaking. Thanks for listening! elizabeth

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: really bad smell

    I have a bad smell coming from my air exchange for my central air cond. The smell reminds me of a strong cat litter smell. The smell is even present in the Fall when the AC is not in use. Has anyone out there experienced anything like this?

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