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lager9

05:13AM | 05/14/03
Member Since: 07/24/02
7 lifetime posts
Bvbasement
We have a very odd situation. When the weather is warm (March to November) we encounter a strange odor in the house. It occurs mostly near our front door in our living room. The smell is what my wife describes as old fish and what I also term as similar to that of the air from a tire. It lasts about 15-30 minutes and dissipates. As the wiind blows from the windows, the odor moves about and dissipates. We have recently replaced the front steps leading to our front door. And we have remodeled our basement, so we have seen some of the infrastructure and there are no clues as to the source. The odor seemed to start after our front steps were demolished. Does anybody have a clue as to what this may be? The odor does not seem to eminate from the outside. When it happens, I poke my head outside and cannot detect the smell. We are almost to the point of thinking it maybe (this sounds crazy) supernaturally linked. I am hoping for a more logical reason.

Jon Bayley

plumber Tom

07:10PM | 05/15/03
Member Since: 05/10/03
801 lifetime posts
Jon 1st check what's below the steps. Is there a gas line running anywhere near you are talking about? Is there a sewer or gutter nearby? Check these things. Do you have a basement, or is your home on a slab? The easiest way to check for a gas leak is to fill a spray bottle with soapy water. Liberally spray all joints,(90's, unions, tee's, couplings,etc.) If you see any bubbles, then a joint is leaking. A common gutter smell, could be fine mulch deposits. Let me know how you make out, Tom

plumber Tom

07:19PM | 05/15/03
Member Since: 05/10/03
801 lifetime posts
OK in your basement, check all the piping that is exposed. If it's cast iron, check for cracks. Use a mirror and a flashlight to check from behind. If your basement is finished, and you have a drop ceiling , pop open a few tiles and look down.If it's drywalled, cut a small section out and use this same method. Check for any vent pipes that run up or near the area in question.

lager9

05:25AM | 05/16/03
Member Since: 07/24/02
7 lifetime posts
Tom, The steps are not near the gas line.
We did have an oil tank removed from the ground near the gas line, but this was done over 4 years ago.

Last year, our county nspected our sewer line and they found a leak. They repaired it and hopefully the leak is no more.

Would a sewer smell like a fishy smell? And would it come and go within a short time?

We will make a note of whether the smell coincides with any plumbing use as in toilets, laundry or showers and running water in general.

We have a gas line which is away from the steps and have had a furnace installed around 4 years ago after the oil tank removal.

Again, would a gas leak smell like old fish and only last a short time?

Jon

plumber Tom

10:23AM | 05/16/03
Member Since: 05/10/03
801 lifetime posts
Both natural gas and propane are heavier than air. When mixed with outside air, these gases will go lower towards the ground. Natural gas is odorless, however an odor for detecting leaks is added from the gas supplier. I spose you could compare that to a smelly fish. The spray bottle method will not hurt your piping, so don't be afraid to check all gas connections and fittings. After you spray the soapy solution, and if you don't see bubbles, just wipe the pipes off with a clean rag. Once you eliminate that you don't have a leak, check the main house drain, and vents. Methane gas is produced in plumbing systems, and that could be your fishy smell as well. Carefully inspect all exposed piping and fittings. Use the mirror and flashlight to check from behind. Most important check the vents that you can get to. If a vent is cracked going up through the roof, the smell may be coming from there. This is more common on cast iron pipe. Another good way to check the vents, is to buy the inflatable test plugs and install them in the cleanout tee's. Go up on the roof and fill the vent stack with water. If u see water leaking down into the basement, then there is a crack somewhere.Good Luck!

lager9

04:32AM | 05/19/03
Member Since: 07/24/02
7 lifetime posts
It turned out to be an electrical problem.
There seems to be a circuit that was overloaded and there was an outlet arcing and the smell was the outlet overheating.
We are getting the circuit rewired to have less of a load and adding circuits to the room affected.

Jon

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