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Country Discussion Topics
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Basement Smell
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Bill Thomson    Posted 08-18-2004 at 12:41:59       [Reply]  [Send Email]

Moved into a house a couple of months ago, the septic was pumped before we moved in. Yesterday there was (and still is) an awful smell in the basement. The basement is unfinished, and we're using it for storage. My leading 2 explanations are either a septic problem or else a dead mouse, any other possibilities? How would you figure out what the problem was?

This is my first time living in a house on well & septic, so I just don't know much about these things..

Bill Thomson    Posted 08-19-2004 at 08:05:42       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Spent 3 hours in the basement last night, and found 3 empty mousetraps, but nothing that would indicate the source of the smell. I was hoping that maybe the previous owners had left a mousetrap that caught something.

Put my nose into every opening I could find (including the sump pit), I figure if I do find the right place it should be REALLY obvious, but nothing so far. Seems worse today, so I'm becoming more suspicious of the septic system, although I still can't figure out why it would only be in the basement (and everything seems to be draining ok in the house).

marlowe    Posted 08-18-2004 at 18:50:50       [Reply]  [No Email]
do you have a sump pump pit? if so put a cup or two of bleach in it they will stink if they sit

Mike Ga    Posted 08-18-2004 at 16:49:04       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Been eating a lot of beans lately. If not I would look for wet sheetrock as when it gets wet and stays wet it smells really bad. Enough to make you vomit.

JB    Posted 08-18-2004 at 16:44:16       [Reply]  [No Email]
Didn't understand how long you'd been smelling the odor. If it is a mouse, within a couple weeks the smell should be gone completely, sometimes sooner. If it lasts longer than that, you got yourself a problem... well, actually, you got a problem if the stink only lasts TWO days! LOL

BOSS    Posted 08-18-2004 at 15:15:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
Were the old owners short a person or two when they moved out? how many were in the house when you bought the place? how many moved out?

Is there any new cement poured recently in the basement floor?

Ennis    Posted 08-18-2004 at 14:44:48       [Reply]  [No Email]
Make sure the floor and any sink drains have water in them to prevent gasses from coming through the p-traps.

Had this happen to us when we were on a cruise and I was sick for a week afterward. Lucky it only dried up the last day of our vacation.

Dog's Friend    Posted 08-18-2004 at 14:43:02       [Reply]  [No Email]
If you have floor drains, check the traps.
One real common problem is that floor drain traps dry out. There needs to be water in the trap to keep out sewer gas. If you have floor drains pour a bucket or two of water down the drain. This will fill the trap and seal out sewer gas. In commercial buildings we occasionally fill drains that are rarely used with mineral oil. It doesn't evaporate or dry out.

Mary Welch    Posted 08-29-2004 at 08:46:08       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I have a basement apartment in my sister's home. When we lived in Maryland, I had the basement custom designed. Everything was great! We recently moved to Louisville, KY into a house that already had a finished basement. There is the constant odor of sewer gas (that is what a plumber said it was) at all water/drain outlets but especially at a washer/dryer hookup that I don't use. The plumber said to put antifreeze in the washer well. It cut down on the strong odor for a short time but does not emiminate it. It permiates the entire living area. What can I do? Thanks much. mary

Billy    Posted 08-18-2004 at 14:06:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
Try following your nose to the source of the smell. It may be a drain, or a wet spot gone bad. In our house I'd first suspect a pair of kids tennis shoes.

Kellyb    Posted 08-18-2004 at 13:45:48       [Reply]  [Send Email]
It could be literally anything.. Do you know what
it "smells" like.. rotten eggs? decomposing
organic matter? sewage?.. My only suggestion would
be to put baking soda everywhere and down the sump
pump basin thing.. Wouldn't hurt to wash down the
walls with a bleach water solution either.
Grandma always had me wash down the basement close
to every year. Hose it down go

Bill Thomson    Posted 08-18-2004 at 14:28:33       [Reply]  [Send Email]

Smells really bad. It does remind me of our last place when I forgot to check the mousetraps for a couple of weeks, and realized there was a decomposing mouse in one (maybe it depends on the size of the mouse but the whole basement smelled). But, it also reminds me of when the dog gotdown there & decided it looked like a nice place to leave a pile (the week we moved in). Sump pit smells ok.

Unfortunately the previous owners drywalled all the walls. Also, because of how sudden it is & the fact that it is ONLY in the basement where we have no plumbing I'm suspicious of the dead animal approach. Guess I need to start looking some more, but I'm afraid it might be in a wall... How long DOES it take a mouse to decompose???

Kellyb    Posted 08-18-2004 at 18:35:25       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Is it a properly finished basement, with the water
sealant around the perimeter of the basement? I'd
be very concerned about that aspect, if that
wasn't done, I'd rip out that drywall. But it
really sounds like you've just got a wingdinger of
a dead mouse on your hands and it should go away
2-3 days easy..good luck kb

deadcarp    Posted 08-18-2004 at 13:36:02       [Reply]  [No Email]
Any sewer gases (regardless of septic/sewer system) SHOULD be vented by the plumbing right thru your roof. In other words, look closely for any drain cleanout plugs that are loose or missing. Then if the place was vacant for any legth of time, check the vents on the roof to make sure there's no birdnests or leaves blocking them. For right now, i'd prop open the basement windows and let the vapors out regardless of what they are. This will also allow things to dry up. In wintertime we block the basement vents with insulation but they still like fresh air in nicer weather. A dead mouse shouldn't smell that bad but something bigger can. :)

DD    Posted 08-18-2004 at 12:49:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
If it's just a temporary that of a dead mouse then glass dishes of Ammonia sat around will absord the odors. If it's a septic problem then somebody with knowledge of that will have to help you : )

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