Latest Discussions : Miscellaneous


06:30AM | 06/21/05
Member Since: 06/16/05
140 lifetime posts
Yesterday I turned on my whole house fan and went to work. When I came home I realized that the whole house fan is drawing up the septic smell from the downstairs. Now where would that smell be coming from. The handrail to the upstairs was even sticky. Now there is a bathroom off of the garage. I rarely use this bathroom as it is not vented. Any ideas where this smell may be eminating from


07:53AM | 06/21/05
Member Since: 06/16/05
140 lifetime posts
That is exactly what I was thinking. The house is tight as fort knox and I am planning on putting an electric vent on the roof , also some flat vents, The house has two ventless bathrooms so this is a concern. I will have to spend some money to do all this venting. I hope this solves the problem. It really smells bad.


09:34AM | 06/21/05
Member Since: 06/16/05
140 lifetime posts
THANKS FOR YOUR SUGGESTIONS. I will keep you posted with the outcome of my endeavours.


09:38AM | 06/21/05
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
There are many different "venting" issues in a house.

" The house is tight as fort knox and I am planning on putting an electric vent on the roof , also some flat vents"

Electric fans in the attic can make things much worse if the WHOLE HOUSE is not properly setup. And even in best cases does not add anything.

Now the purpose of ATTIC venting is to remove moisture (water vapor) that "leaks" from the house and can condense on the underside of the roof and cause moisture.

It also allows any excess heat that "leaks" from the house to escape otherwise it can cause snow on the roof to melt and refreeze causing an ice dam.

In therory it is suppose to reduce heat builtup in the summer from the sun, but in fact it is practical to get enough ventalation to reduce the heat builtup.

The best ventalation systems is one with a ridge vent which gets built in to the ridge at the top of the roof and vents built into the soffit or the lower edge of the roof. That form a chimney effect where air comes in at the bottom of the roof and out the top and takes any moisture with it.

If you just put in roof vent fans and don't have enough soffit vents then the fan can suck air out of the interior of the house and cause more problems.


The whole house fan pulls air out of the house and into the attic.

To work properly you need 2 things. First the vents in the attic have to be big enough to allow the extra air out. The vents for normal attic venting might not be enough.

The other thing is that you need a source of makeup air into the house. The only way to get that is OPEN MANY WINDOWS. The only other way for air to get into the house is by back drafting through plumbing, flues and leaks. It can cause many problems including drawinhg carbon monoxide into the house from the furance and water heater.

"The house has two ventless bathrooms so this is a concern."

Bath fans serve too purposes. One is to remove orders. A ventless bath fan uses a charcoal filter that can do that. The other purpose is to remove excess moisture caused by bathing. The fan needs to be exhausted to the OUTSIDE through the wall or through the ROOF (and not just into the attic).

Now house also need makeup air to replace that vented out via bath and kitchen fans and also that goes up the furnace and water heater flues.

In most homes older than a few years there are enough "natural" gaps and cracks in the house to supply that. Newer house that are carefully sealed with need a way of proving makeup air.

Now you said that the house was well sealed. What do you base this on? How do you know? It would be very rare that house of that age would be that well sealed, even if it has had some updating.

Likewise what you do mean by DOUBLE INSULATION and how do you know that it has double insulation?

What you really need is some on in person that understand these "systems" and how houses "work" and can exmain exactly what you have and if needed make recomendations of improvements.

I would look a Weatherization Consultatan.

Some cities have weatherization programs at reduced costs. Also some electric and gas unitlity have weatherization programs.

Call them and see if they do and/or can recommend some one.

Otherwise try you state web pages and look for a "Department of Energy". And look for Energy Star services.

If you don't find anything there then try a google on "{your state} energy star raters".

Also post your city and state here.


11:52AM | 06/21/05
Member Since: 06/16/05
140 lifetime posts
I live in Pennsylvania. There are several issues here. The smell of septic in the house. The whole house fan issue, drawing up smells from the downstairs. Unvented bathrooms and a sulphur smell outside the home. That about covers it. I just have to pin point where the smells are coming from.

I believe the culprit is the downstairs bathroom and the house being too insulated and too closed up. When I left the whole house fan on the windows and doors were open. Anytime I use the whole house fan the stairwell beneath the whole house fan and the closet near the fan become sticky. There is where I smell the septic smell. It is drawing up the oder from the downstairs and I can smell it in the closet. When the whole house fan is on and it draws up the air where does that air go to? Out the roof? There is no ventilation on the roof? Sorry if I am confusing you. I am very illiterate about plumbing and venting. But am learning quickly

doug seibert

02:29PM | 06/21/05
Member Since: 08/10/02
842 lifetime posts
....the unvented fixtures and drains are a health and safety issue ....."burning eyes and nose "........that will continue until the proper vents are installed on the illegal fixtures.......and any other faults are repaired.......

Any water use in the rest of the house will pull the water out of those traps.......allowing the septic gases to enter the structure......

A plumber could perform a "smoke" (or peppermint) test on the system for a graphic location of the problem(s)......the drain system is filled with smoke from a smokegenerator.....and the venting system looks like a smokestack safely removing the test smoke........Any faults will quickly fill the house with smoke just as they allow the septic gases to can SEE the faults.......

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