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Old 02-19-2013, 06:06 PM   #1
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Strong Odor coming from basement


We moved into a new home at the end of September. The house is a 1962 split level that has some significant updating. We live in the north east.

Our basement over the past three months has a very strong odor. Most people say it smells chemical and is very strong. The basement is divided into four rooms. The furnace room is unfinished and does not have a smell ( we have a gas furnace the previous owners put in maybe two years ago) the laundry room is finished with drywall but no drop ceiling.

These two rooms face the front of the house and do not have an odor. The back two rooms are finished with drop ceilings and one of the rooms has a the very strong odor.

We have pretty much emptied the room with the odor so we know it is not coming from anything in the room. We changed out the drop ceiling so we know its not coming from old ceiling tiles with mouse urine etx.

The room with the strong odor has a sump pump with parquet floors and dry wall. One of the closets had a wet spot which we cut open to find an old but very extreme mouse infestation. We removed all the mouse evidence and cleaned and sealed the area( two or three weeks ago).

We have had an exterminator in twice and the mouse situation is under control ( we think it was old infestation). My original thought was the smell was coming from dead mice but our exterminator has sworn that a dead mouse smell would be gone in 7 to 10 days and even if it was six mice it would be gone in a month.

So our next step is to have a plumber to have them look for any water issues but most people that we have looked at it said the smell is not water/ mildew but more chemical. So does anyone have any suggestions on what would give off such a strong chemical smell.

We are new home owners and are so sick of this order. We have a small child and one more on the way. We want to make sure this is not something serious but have no idea where else to turn.

Thanks for any suggestions!

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Last edited by oh'mike; 02-20-2013 at 06:18 AM. Reason: added spaces
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:39 PM   #2
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Strong Odor coming from basement


A 1962 house has odor from finished basement ---- my first guess would be water is getting in, and what you are smelling is mold. Any signs such as local swelling of the floor (if its real wood), or perhaps discolaration of the molding along the wall?

Is the foundation concrete block, or poured?

(There have been cases of the binder in Rockwool or Fiberglass insulation not being cured properly and then it can smell, but that would be a real stretch, particularly if the remodel is not new. But I mention it just because I was just reading about it the other day here )

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Old 02-19-2013, 08:26 PM   #3
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Strong Odor coming from basement


Thanks for responding. I keep thinkings it's water but everyone who has looked at it swears they do not smell mold. I believe the basement is poured concrete and we see no signs of water damage in the room that smells. I know the furnace room has a French drain but I am not sure if it goes around the basement and under the parquet wood floors in the room that smells. Who would be our best bet for calling next a plumber? We were going to take out some small sections of drywall to see if we could find anything.
I keep thinking there has to be a connection to the sump pump and the smell. When I smell the closet with the sump pump I don't believe it's coming from there.
Also to note I would assume the finished basement was done in the past five years.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:42 PM   #4
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Strong Odor coming from basement


Do you have floor drains? It could be a trap that has dried out.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:19 PM   #5
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Strong Odor coming from basement


seeing how it was built in 1962 is the sump pump dumping into main drain line. If so this could be the problem. Drain line needs to be inspected. I have a neighbor who has split level built in 61 code allowed sump pump to be piped into main drain. A small section of drain pipe was the problem. Actually it was a big deal. He has poured concrete ruining length of his house. Section had to be jackhammer so they could gain access to pipe. Once fixed no more smell.

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Old 02-19-2013, 09:31 PM   #6
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Strong Odor coming from basement


That or the previous owner installed "Chinese" Drywall" recently in the past.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:31 PM   #7
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Strong Odor coming from basement


Quote:
Originally Posted by 747 View Post
seeing how it was built in 1962 is the septic pump dumping into main drain line. If so this could be the problem. Drain line needs to be inspected. I have a neighbor who has split level built in 61 code allowed septic to be piped into main drain. A small section of drain pipe was the problem. Actually it was a big deal. He has poured concrete ruining length of his house. Section had to be jackhammer so they could gain access to pipe. Once fixed no more smell.
We do not have a septic tank. Do you mean sump pump?
As for floor drains I have not seem one but it could be possible they put the parque floors over them. .
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:08 PM   #8
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Strong Odor coming from basement


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Originally Posted by mas06870 View Post
We do not have a septic tank. Do you mean sump pump?
As for floor drains I have not seem one but it could be possible they put the parque floors over them. .
Yes sump pump dumping into main drain line. Sorry about this.
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:19 AM   #9
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Strong Odor coming from basement


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As for floor drains I have not seem one .
Is your water heater there....where does it drain?
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:10 AM   #10
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Strong Odor coming from basement


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Is your water heater there....where does it drain?
Water heater is in the furnace room so no smell in that room.
Okay last question.... Sorry we are such newbie homeowners. Do I call a plumber to check the sump pump and drain ?
Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:09 PM   #11
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Strong Odor coming from basement


Quote:
Originally Posted by mas06870 View Post
Water heater is in the furnace room so no smell in that room.
Okay last question.... Do I call a plumber to check the sump pump and drain ?
If you have not checked with the previous owner, I'd say that should be your next call -- maybe have your Realtor get the information, so it is a little more 'official'.

Did you have the house inspected? If so, I suggest your second call be to them; have them give you an opinion on the source, and an explanation of why it was missed.

Lastly I would call in "the trades", starting with plumbers, then prolly drywall installers. Your Realtor should have some good ideas, and a list of good resources.

Best wishes for a speedy and satisfactory resolution.

Cheers!
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:50 PM   #12
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Strong Odor coming from basement


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leprechaun View Post
If you have not checked with the previous owner, I'd say that should be your next call -- maybe have your Realtor get the information, so it is a little more 'official'.

Did you have the house inspected? If so, I suggest your second call be to them; have them give you an opinion on the source, and an explanation of why it was missed.

Lastly I would call in "the trades", starting with plumbers, then prolly drywall installers. Your Realtor should have some good ideas, and a list of good resources.

Best wishes for a speedy and satisfactory resolution.

Cheers!
-Lep-
The previous owners moved to Hong Kong an I doubt they will help us out. Great idea on the inspection company. I called them an they are coming out tomorrow. I will try a plumber if the fail to diagnose the issue.

Thanks
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:11 PM   #13
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Strong Odor coming from basement


We are back to the drawing board. We have two inspectors and no one can solve it. While everyone can smell it no one can place the odor. The basement does not have an interior drain but does have a sump pump that is dry. The inspectors used their moisture meter and did not see anything.
Everyone agrees that the smell has a chemical smell or even an adhesive smell. The room with the smell is the only room that has the laminate floors that were installed by the previous owners. Anyone know anything about laminate floors over a subfloor that smells? I am ready to rip them up as I am so sick of this smell.

THANKS

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