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Old 11-11-2012, 10:23 AM   #46
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Odor from Crawl Space


MurphyMan, We are having the exact problem in our home after encapsulation. We are considering mitigation, so just wondering if it worked for you. Thanks!


Last edited by lisabarron; 11-11-2012 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:07 AM   #47
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Odor from Crawl Space


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MurphyMan, We are having the exact problem in our home after encapsulation. We are considering mitigation, so just wondering if it worked for you. Thanks!
Yes, it worked. Within 24 hours, after we turned the fan on, the smell in the house was gone and it was fairly easy to do.

I installed the system, pretty much as shown in the sketch in my previous post. I took a Tee off at the center of the array. From there I used solid 4" PVC and ducted it horizontally into the adjoining garage, then on up. I installed the radon fan in the garage attic, then vented it through the roof.

The other day I stuck my nose into the rain trap I built in, to see if the odor was still present in the exhaust air. I thought perhaps that a month of running the fan would have removed the smell, but yes, it still stunk. The system is an unqualified success.

I do wonder if pulling the air out from under the crawl space will affect our utility bills. I guess that verdict is out for the moment.

Murph

Last edited by MurphyMan; 11-11-2012 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:59 AM   #48
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Thanks for your quick response!
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:12 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by MurphyMan View Post
Yes, it worked. Within 24 hours, after we turned the fan on, the smell in the house was gone and it was fairly easy to do.

I installed the system, pretty much as shown in the sketch in my previous post. I took a Tee off at the center of the array. From there I used solid 4" PVC and ducted it horizontally into the adjoining garage, then on up. I installed the radon fan in the garage attic, then vented it through the roof.

The other day I stuck my nose into the rain trap I built in, to see if the odor was still present in the exhaust air. I thought perhaps that a month of running the fan would have removed the smell, but yes, it still stunk. The system is an unqualified success.

I do wonder if pulling the air out from under the crawl space will affect our utility bills. I guess that verdict is out for the moment.

Murph
pulling air from a sealed crawlspace does not seem feasible. where is the air being drawn from.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:45 PM   #50
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Odor from Crawl Space


I don't think they're trying to imply any kind of true "ventilation" of the crawl space, but more of an "evacuation" of off-gassing from the earth under the vapor barrier. Tthey are only using a small radon gas fan to help create a chimney effect through some PVC vent piping.

Sounds fairly promising so far....
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:10 AM   #51
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Odor from Crawl Space


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pulling air from a sealed crawlspace does not seem feasible. where is the air being drawn from?
That is a good question. I'm not 100% sure where the air is being drawn from. I think the fan is 175 cfm and if you put your hand over the vent, the air blast seems fairly strong.

The house is about 30 y.o. and is of fair construction. I sealed the crawl space using recommended methods; replaced the vents with cinderblocks, overlapped most seams a foot, used high quality materials, ran sealing tape along the foundation blocks then secured to the wall with pins, etc.

Still, I know there is still some leakage between the liner and the foundation. For example, there are about 8 support pilings made of cinderblock. I know there is leakage there, due to the irregular shape of the end of the blocks and other places.

A further item, I installed a register in both the conditioned and return air ducts, in the crawlspace. This is per current state of the art for encapsulating crawlspaces. I am sure the system is pulling some of that air through the liner leaks and into the soil gas mediation array.

But, the end result was the fan is doing it's job. No more stinky.

Last edited by MurphyMan; 11-12-2012 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:39 AM   #52
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Odor from Crawl Space


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That is a good question. I'm not 100% sure where the air is being drawn from. I think the fan is 175 cfm and if you put your hand over the vent, the air blast seems fairly strong.

The house is about 30 y.o. and is of fair construction. I sealed the crawl space using recommended methods; replaced the vents with cinderblocks, overlapped most seams a foot, used high quality materials, ran sealing tape along the foundation blocks then secured to the wall with pins, etc.

Still, I know there is still some leakage between the liner and the foundation. For example, there are about 8 support pilings made of cinderblock. I know there is leakage there, due to the irregular shape of the end of the blocks and other places.

A further item, I installed a register in both the conditioned and return air ducts, in the crawlspace. This is per current state of the art for encapsulating crawlspaces. I am sure the system is pulling some of that air through the liner leaks and into the soil gas mediation array.

But, the end result was the fan is doing it's job. No more stinky.
MurphyMan,

You seem to have discovered the reason for the same, but localized smell in my crawl space.

I had/have the cat pee smell in my radon mitigated crawl space. It was/is in just one corner and it didn't start until a year or two after we installed the mitigation system. I always assumed that some mice or squirrels did the deed during a particularly cold winter. [I found nuts hidden in the insulation between the floor joists in that corner - near the crawl door.]

However, no amount of investigation showed signs of pee (I used ultra violet light to search). And, no amount of cleaning or odor removal helped - except for a few bags of odor absorbing material near the junction between the main return duct and the HVAC machinery. The odor in the crawl in that corner is gradually fading over the last two years, but it still is noticeable on very warm, humid summer days.

Anyway, the under-radon-barrier ducting doesn't have a branch in that area. It could be that lack of suction in that corner has allowed the pee smell to seep up into the crawl!
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:13 AM   #53
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Odor from Crawl Space


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MurphyMan,

You seem to have discovered the reason for the same, but localized smell in my crawl space.

Anyway, the under-radon-barrier ducting doesn't have a branch in that area. It could be that lack of suction in that corner has allowed the pee smell to seep up into the crawl!
Can you run a branch in that area? Please report back if it works - or if it doesn't.

Murph
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:02 PM   #54
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Odor from Crawl Space


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Can you run a branch in that area? Please report back if it works - or if it doesn't.

Murph
Yes, that should be possible.

It will be a while though before I can get around to it.
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Old 06-04-2013, 03:37 PM   #55
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I am sorry I have not updated anyone in quite some time. Basically, a year has passed and there is no smell in my house. However, the smell in the crawlspace remains. I have two crawlspace vent fans blowing out continuously. My installer wants to try something similiar to the diagrams mentioned before (I think it was MurphyMan). I will update as soon as possibe.
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Old 09-09-2013, 12:08 PM   #56
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"Still, I know there is still some leakage between the liner and the foundation. For example, there are about 8 support pilings made of cinderblock. I know there is leakage there, due to the irregular shape of the end of the blocks and other places."

There should not be any air leakage anywhere regardless of the "irregular shape" of anything. Special air sealing tape exists for that purpose. It will stretch/conform and truly seal almost any surface. As far as to exactly what the smell is that gets tricky but check this list it might help you:http://mycrawlspace.net/mycrawlspacestinks.aspx
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Old 10-24-2013, 07:33 PM   #57
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Odor from Crawl Space


Sad to say but we have had the same experience. We used the 10 mil diamond back liner from crawlspace repair. It took me two years to figure out it is the liner. On their site they refer to it as the mysterious stinky crawlspace odor. They also say it is a reaction of the plastic with gases in the soil. I can debunk that theory. I recently ordered some scrap as we decided to add another sump pump in our crawl. I had cut the piece I needed on the drive and left the scrap out there for a few days. I felt certain when I collected the scrap a few days later that a cat had sprayed on it. I threw it away which bummed me as it was so expensive. A water guy and I were chasing down an issue and ended up in our crawl near the newly patched spot and we both looked at each other and said cat pee. Again, thought a stray cat got in the crawl as I had left it open once overnight. Still did not dawn on me. Finally had a thought and called crawlspace repair and they told me that yes they have had this issue and directed me to articles on their site and how to treat it as radon mitigation to evacuate the odors from below the plastic. I considered this for a week as we may have a radon issue and need to retest. Finally I decided that I had absolutely no interest in trying to make their product work for me. There product had literally brought some of the most longterm hardship I had ever experienced and that says alot. I felt that their article about some homeowners removing the diamondback liner and putting 6 mil down and that the odor was worse than ever was probably misleading. They said the people went back to the diamondback with the same previous odor level again and did the radon mitigation trick. I have spent the past week removing all the diamondback I installed and boy did it stink. But after I removed it, smelled like mold, personally better than cat pee, although I would say that our older original diamondback plastic smell graduated to dead wet worms. Anyhoo, I laid regular 10 mil plastic down and it smells like plastic, so much better. Frankly i was afraid to order anyones higher grade plastic as i was fearful of the same odor event occuring. I'm sure this will gradually outgas. Last night I was covering my last room and had to remove the sump pump lid and check valve. I had cut a circle around it when removing the diamondback and I had a doughnut cut piece of diamondback I had to remove, man, that odor was horrendous. Amazing what one little scrap can do. I had not smelled that in over a week and I so did not want a reminder. Trash day was a miracle, I removed everything the night before.

In the two years of trying to figure out this odor, I had tried sooooooo many things. Sealed every single bit of hvac boots, replaced the trunk line, resealed the runs with mastic and double zip tied, cleaned the coils, cleaned every surface of the plastic multiple times, caulked any seam down there, used zinnser on any exsposed wood, pitched a year old dehumidifier, bought clo2 packs to hang in the crawl, used concrobium vapor, bought a crawlspace fan for one of the vents, ran a ton of carbon cleaners, an ozone generator, ripped up every floor board upstairs and caulked, sealed all vents upstairs as well as the fireplace and STILL that odor would make its way into our home. I am sure I have not remembered everything we have done. I have spent a fortune as well as a freakish amount of time trying to fix this and it ended up being the liner. Funny, their site says American made, no vocs and no outgassing. They said all the right things and it was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.
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Old 10-25-2013, 10:12 AM   #58
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Hello everyone, my name is Matt Leech and I am the president over at crawl space repair. I was alerted to Terrik's post by one of the chat room users, so I thought I would stop by and join in.

I would like to start with a short reply. Because we have chat names I don't know who Terrik is or if he/she even bought anything from us. First, we have not received any complaints of a stinky crawl space from a customer that purchased our DiamondBack product and second we have never made a 10 mil in any of our product lines. In Terrik's post it states "They also say it is a reaction of the plastic with gases in the soil". This statement is not true. Our article states the odor comes from the off gassing of organic material breaking down in the soil. That off gassing does not react with our plastic to make an order, that is the odor. To support my claim I will point you to an article written by Christopher M. Gray, Russell K. Monson, and Noah Fierer entitled "Emissions of volatile organic compounds during
the decomposition of plant litter" and it can be found here-http://www.colorado.edu/eeb/EEBprojects/FiererLab/Gray_2010_VOCs.pdf.

It is true that encapsulating a crawl space gets blamed for this odor, mostly because it is not as pronounce prior to sealing the crawl space. We know that soil gas mitigation, done properly, eliminates this problem 100% of the time. Please note that it must be done properly or there will be little improvement.

I find it curious that Terrik tried all those things that are listed in the post but did not try the mitigation system that is recommended in our article.

Even though I believe this is a competitor trying to bash our products, I would like to offer Terrik a refund. I certainly do not want unhappy customers. Terrik, if you would please supply your order number or a copy of your receipt I will be sure to issue you a refund of the DiamondBack that you were not happy with.

If anyone would like to ask us a question on the crawl space odor and how to get rid of it please contact us through our site crawl space repair.
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:35 PM   #59
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Hi Matt,

#CSC-53380 for $693.93, I was wrong, 8 mil and 12 mil remnants, tapes, caulk, fasteners, and brush etc.....

#CSC-56768 for $344.58, sump set, 12mil diamond back scrap and tape

I hope you would refund the install components like tapes, fasteners and caulk as well. They were ordered to install your product per recommendation.

Matt, I have a suggestion, cut a 3x3 piece of the 12 mil plastic and take it home. Toss it in the backyard for 3 days and bring it in to warm up and see if you detect the odor. I think the odor itself is in the silver or black backing and is moisture activated. I read your voc article, no where did it say the soil gas smelled like cat pee. Regardless, our crawlspace is probably two to three feet below the plow zone and as I have dug down there to install two sump pumps I only saw gray clay, no vegetative decay, no roots, nothing, no cat urine smell, but definitely moldy. I feel confident as I'm an archaeologist. For that matter, we have been in our home 12 years. We did pull up the old 6 mil plastic ( 20 years old) and laid new 10 mil regular plastic down on the floor only probably five years ago, it did not produce this odor.

The recent 12 mil scrap smelled like urine just from sitting on the drive. I feel we both FIRMLY believe what we are sharing. I truly believe we are both nice people. For that matter every single person I have ever spoken to there has been lovely. I did call three weeks ago and asked about the odor,in fact, i think you were busy at the time and you told someone how to install the pvc and he passed it on to me. I had intended to send you a letter once my refurbish was complete. I actually ordered fasteners from you two weeks ago and it HURT, I just could not find them anywhere else. I just felt so bad for those people as I have lived it as well and I posted a response.

I dont find it curious. In regards to to installing your radon mitigation technique, I read the review by Sam Hoskins on your site for the sump pump kit. He said it cost him $350 for the radon fan and pvc plus another $200 to pay someone to cut holes thru the roof and vent it. Frankly, as I stated above, I considered it for a week, and it is the principle of the matter. I do not want to spend another $550 to make your product work. I'm sure I have spent over $700 already plus my labor trying to fix it. I feel so foolish that I did not recognize the source sooner.

Of note Matt, these people having this issue have resorted to opening their crawlspace and installing fans to exhume the constant odor. I'm not so sure the odor is created by sealing the crawl rather it is still there while opened and with fans running just helps to keep it from coming into the living area. I also believe the stack effect bites. I've had two job offers, it looked so damn good. I can't believe I am doing this again.

By my order number you should be able to track me down. Call if you wish. I will be nice.
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:03 AM   #60
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So I looked up your order and I see you purchased one roll of 12 Mil DiamondBack, which I will refund as I stated.

Although you continue to state that the plastic was the cause of the odor, that does not make it fact, is based on one case judged and juried by you and will not convince me because you installed a sump basin and did not see any organic material that you would blame for the odor. Believe it or not, we would have been out of business years ago if we were making and selling stinky plastic, besides my 12,000 sq foot warehouse would smell like cat pee and customers would smell it before they installed it. We make 1000 rolls at a time, if it is the plastic then that means there are more than 500 customers with the same 12 Mil DiamondBack liner that was installed in your crawl space that has an odor problem as well, yet this is the only complaint. There would be write up after write up about how stinky our products are, but there is not. The most you will find is uneducated consumers that blame the last thing they bought as the problem rather than the installation quality and method and that goes for any liner brand. In fact, in the industry, EVERY crawl space liner has been involved in a stinky crawl space and be sure that not all liners are purchased from us. Of the tens of thousands of rolls of liner that we have made and sold there has been less than a dozen cases of a stinky crawl space and the customer was able to eliminate the odor 100%, 100% of the time, just look at the customer reviews. That's about .02%, not 2% but .02%, of our customers homes that have a soil gas problem. All that being said, you have found who to blame.

I know what I say is just my word, but if I were a liar and cheat I would not care what you think or say and I certainly would not give you a REFUND based on your word.

Matt

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