OMG what is that smell? And how do we fix it??

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GeddyWrox
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OMG what is that smell? And how do we fix it??

Post by GeddyWrox »

OK, so my girlfriend has a foul smell in her house. It could be a dead animal somewhere, or might be sewage collecting in the crawl space. I don't know. I haven't been to her house in weeks so I haven't smelled it myself.

What should she do? We are at a loss as to where to start?

The house is a tiny 2 bed/1 bath. No basement but it sits on a cinderblock foundation. She recently had to have a plumber snake the main drain, so we are curious if that could have caused a new problem, or exacerbated an existing one that wasn't causing a smell yet.

Also, if you suspect a dead animal, how to you go about finding where it is? Is there a professional we could call?

She rents the house from her uncle, but he lives a fair distance away. She is going to text him too, but I'm probably going to wind up trying to help diagnose what's going on.

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Joe Shlabotnik
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Re: OMG what is that smell? And how do we fix it??

Post by Joe Shlabotnik »

I'd bet Servpro or that type of residential fire/water restoration company might checkout your place for you.

FWIW, right after buying a 50 year old house about 10 years ago we started noticing a stench coming up from some of the floor vents. It was on a crawl space foundation so I got under there and looked around. I just happened to be under the kitchen when the dishhwasher emptied itself. Water came flooding down into the crawl space from the kitchen sink drain pipe that had deteriorated and fallen apart. Underneath the kitchen was the pooled detritous of all the stuff we'd flush down the sink or through the garbage disposal. Fun stuff!

Thankfully, our insurance covered the repair and restoration.

Hopefully, Leroy hasn't picked your house to dispose of his wood chipper output.

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GeddyWrox
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Re: OMG what is that smell? And how do we fix it??

Post by GeddyWrox »

Joe Shlabotnik wrote:
May 28 20, 12:58 pm
I'd bet Servpro or that type of residential fire/water restoration company might checkout your place for you.

FWIW, right after buying a 50 year old house about 10 years ago we started noticing a stench coming up from some of the floor vents. It was on a crawl space foundation so I got under there and looked around. I just happened to be under the kitchen when the dishhwasher emptied itself. Water came flooding down into the crawl space from the kitchen sink drain pipe that had deteriorated and fallen apart. Underneath the kitchen was the pooled detritous of all the stuff we'd flush down the sink or through the garbage disposal. Fun stuff!

Thankfully, our insurance covered the repair and restoration.

Hopefully, Leroy hasn't picked your house to dispose of his wood chipper output.
Good info. Thanks.

OK, so I am not very familiar with crawl spaces. Is there some sort of access point I can go in? I am a pretty big dude with a bad back and creaky knees, keep in mind.

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Re: OMG what is that smell? And how do we fix it??

Post by mikechamp »

Zerorez is another such service provider.

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Re: OMG what is that smell? And how do we fix it??

Post by AWvsCBsteeeerike3 »

Animals tend to find ways into crawlspaces. If an animal got in there and croaked, that smell will permeate into the house and [expletive] wreak.

Once we had a possum get in ours as one of the slats in the vent broke, and then the possum died. And then it started smelling. So, I got under the house and found a bloated ass possum with a boatload of maggots feasting away. It was pretty gross. Regardless, picked it up with a couple trash bags, dumped a bottle of bleach on the area, puked on it, and got the [expletive] out of there. That was quite the miserable experience.

No idea what kind of sewage piping she has, but I don't think its very common at all for snakes to break them. As you note, sewer pipes hang under the house so if they've broken its possible the sewage dumps into the crawlspace. But, I'd think that wouldn't cause a horrendous smell but more of a tang or something unless it is left unattended for possibly a long time. Most sewage water is just water, after all. And, if the plumber snaked the line and didn't find anything, it's unlikely pipes are broken. Further, they're obviously not blocked if the pipes in the house aren't backing up..... OR, depending on where the clean outs are (typically outside the house) but if for some reason there's a clean out in the crawlspace, the service line from the house to the sewer main in the street could be blocked, and a plumber could have just pushed a block further down along the line shifting it past the clean out such that backups are going into the crawlspace instead of the pipes in the house. This is highly unlikely, but I guess not out of the realms of possibilities.

Regardless, it's not fun, but if there's an issue with sewage, a cursory glance under the house should reveal it. Just turn the water on inside then go listen for running water into the crawlspace. Similarly, crawling around a little bit and being guided with the nose would reveal a dead animal pretty quickly.

Sounds like a good project for you Geddy :) You don't have to see your GF, just go straight to the crawlspace, though I'd think you'd be entitled to a reward of some sort for doing this work. If you don't want to do it though, there are exterminators and rodent trappers and the like that'll come out and crawl around looking for dead things.

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Re: OMG what is that smell? And how do we fix it??

Post by CardsofSTL »

It's probably plumbing and unless you're experienced with that I don't think you should go creaking around in the crawlspace. Just call a plumber to check out the issue.

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Re: OMG what is that smell? And how do we fix it??

Post by GeddyWrox »

Sweet. Thanks AW!

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Re: OMG what is that smell? And how do we fix it??

Post by Leroy »

I have a pretty strong odor coming from my basement too...but I'm pretty sure I know what it is.

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Re: OMG what is that smell? And how do we fix it??

Post by AWvsCBsteeeerike3 »

Joe Shlabotnik wrote:
May 28 20, 12:58 pm
I'd bet Servpro or that type of residential fire/water restoration company might checkout your place for you.

FWIW, right after buying a 50 year old house about 10 years ago we started noticing a stench coming up from some of the floor vents. It was on a crawl space foundation so I got under there and looked around. I just happened to be under the kitchen when the dishhwasher emptied itself. Water came flooding down into the crawl space from the kitchen sink drain pipe that had deteriorated and fallen apart. Underneath the kitchen was the pooled detritous of all the stuff we'd flush down the sink or through the garbage disposal. Fun stuff!

Thankfully, our insurance covered the repair and restoration.

Hopefully, Leroy hasn't picked your house to dispose of his wood chipper output.
This is a good point too. We had a similar situation where right after we moved in I just happened to be down in the crawlspace while the dishwasher was running and lo and behold it was coming into the crawlspace. Something had rusted, not sure what, and water was leaking through the floor. But, that was like a week into owning and it had been vacant for 6 months or so and dried out, hence no smell.

Another thing that we had happen in the crawlspace was the condensate drains that take the condensate water from the cooling unit to the outside had come apart and were leaking all the condensation into the crawlspace. You wouldn't think it, but that's a [expletive] ton of water. I'd guess every bit of 20 gallons a day during the summer.

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Re: OMG what is that smell? And how do we fix it??

Post by heyzeus »

With a pier and beam house, there probably is an access point in the back, and it's gonna be a rectangle that's like three feet wide by two feet tall. And under that house it'll be a low clearance that a human must crawl through, with mud and possibly leaking pipes. I'd bring in a professional for this one.

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