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Old 11-28-2011, 09:22 AM   #1
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Natural Gas Odor in House


Hello, we started noticing that our house has a natural gas odor, especially in one corner of our house. At first, we noticed it before we bought the house, when we would come to look at it. The gas co was called out twice and checked everything out thoroughly, and no leaks were detected. The smell went away but now, it comes back, curiously, only whenever we open all the windows and air flows into/out of the house. When everything is shut, no smell whatsoever. When we walk outside, we don't smell it so the odor isn't coming from outside. We're baffled because we've done everything we can do to make sure there isn't any gas leaks. Does anyone have any clue as to what this might be and why we only smell it when we open the windows?

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Old 11-28-2011, 09:50 AM   #2
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Natural Gas Odor in House


When the gas company came out did they use a "sensor"?
You could have "methane" gas coming from your plumbing!

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Old 11-28-2011, 10:25 AM   #3
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Natural Gas Odor in House


my guess is you are smelling sewer gas.
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Old 11-28-2011, 10:57 AM   #4
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Natural Gas Odor in House


Did they check outside when they came? How close is the window to the meter? Could be an issue with a leaking meter.
Call them again.
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:33 AM   #5
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Natural Gas Odor in House


The gas co checked inside and outside, including the meter and no leaks. they used a couple of different devices to check.

If it is sewer related, how would I diagnose this and what do you do to fix the issue?
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Old 11-28-2011, 12:07 PM   #6
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Natural Gas Odor in House


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my guess is you are smelling sewer gas.
If the house has not been lived in for awhile, the plumbing traps dry out and as forresth said, sewer gases get into the house.
Go around and flush all the toilets and run all the showers, tubs and sinks. If the washing machine has a trap, fill fill the drain with a few cups of water.
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:01 PM   #7
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Natural Gas Odor in House


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If the house has not been lived in for awhile, the plumbing traps dry out and as forresth said, sewer gases get into the house.
Go around and flush all the toilets and run all the showers, tubs and sinks. If the washing machine has a trap, fill fill the drain with a few cups of water.
I'll give that a try. The house hadn't been lived in for a while so that sounds like it might be the issue. We've been there for a month, but haven't used all of the toilets/showers since it's just me and my wife. About how long of a duration would you say we should run the showers/sinks and flush toilets that we don't typically use in order to affect the situation?
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:41 PM   #8
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Natural Gas Odor in House


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I'll give that a try. The house hadn't been lived in for a while so that sounds like it might be the issue. We've been there for a month, but haven't used all of the toilets/showers since it's just me and my wife. About how long of a duration would you say we should run the showers/sinks and flush toilets that we don't typically use in order to affect the situation?
The sink traps seal with a pint of water. Turn the water on and count to 5. The toilet with one flush.
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:46 PM   #9
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Natural Gas Odor in House


And a half gallon or so in floor drains, if you have any in a slab or basement.
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:08 PM   #10
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Natural Gas Odor in House


Natural gas does not have a smell. What you are smelling, is the chemical butyl mercaptan or Butanethiol, which is used to give it its smell. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butanethiol Dry drains will give off almost the same smell, and can be just as flammable.
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:29 PM   #11
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Natural Gas Odor in House


Thanks for all the input. No basement so I'll just try running water and flushing toilets etc when I get home from work today. Hopefully that will fix this issue.
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Old 11-29-2011, 10:20 AM   #12
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Natural Gas Odor in House


Well I went home and ran all of the sinks/showers for about 15 minutes. When I then opened the windows and air flowed through the place, no scent was detected. This was the first time we've opened all the windows and not had that noxious gaseous odor permeate the entire house. Again this morning we opened everything up and no scent. It's hard for me to believe that we've lived in the house for over a month and that the traps hadn't been filled, if that was the issue, by now. But who knows. Perhaps there was some residual methane left over that needed a good flushing out. All I know is that for the first time since we've been here, the air smelled good when we opened up the windows and air flowed in the house. Unless I was wrong about the creation of air flow through the house triggering the odor, which I don't think I am, and that it will return again, it seems that the problem has been resolved. Crossing my fingers.
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Old 11-29-2011, 10:38 AM   #13
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Natural Gas Odor in House


With the house closed up there was no pressure change and nothing to draw gas out of the sewer lines. Opens some windows on any given day and you'll get negative pressure somewhere in the house that will draw gas up out of the sewer lines if the trap are dry. So I would say you fairly certainly licked your problem.
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Old 11-29-2011, 10:42 AM   #14
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Natural Gas Odor in House


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With the house closed up there was no pressure change and nothing to draw gas out of the sewer lines. Opens some windows on any given day and you'll get negative pressure somewhere in the house that will draw gas up out of the sewer lines if the trap are dry. So I would say you fairly certainly licked your problem.
Alot of negative pressure - the air flow through the house when opening opposite side windows simultaneously is like a freakin vacuum, which we love because of all the (hopefully now) fresh air that circulates through the house.
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Old 11-29-2011, 10:45 AM   #15
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Natural Gas Odor in House


Did anyone paint with oil based paints? I had a similar issue and it was because i had painted and then had the heat on in the house. the gas company said the affect from the oil paint and heat create that smell and it would go away in a couple of days and it did.

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