Amonia/fishy smell in one room only.

Old 06-02-03, 03:46 PM
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Amonia/fishy smell in one room only.

I purchased this house 1 year ago. I've found old (non-current) indications of mice in the attic and the crawl space. When the weather gets hot and the sun shines on one room, I can smell a strong fishy smell (my wife describes it as amonia like). It seems that the smell collects near the ceiling, and when we turn on the fan it brings the smell down to our noses.

I climbed around in the crawlspace and in the attic and cannot smell anything in those places. I've pulled the electrcal outlets and switches and cannot smell anything there. I would think that it is a dead animal in the wall except for the fact that it has been smelling for over a year now and the smell is a little different.

My bathroom sewer lines run right under this room, through the exterior wall outside and then underground. Could it be sewer gasses collecting in this room when the sun shines on the external pipes?

Any thoughts would be most welcome!

George Kopf
Old 06-03-03, 06:51 PM
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Hello: George

What the resident professional plumbers in the forum may need to know is if the house is on a spetic tank plubing system?

If the drain line is exposed and not leaking where visable it may be leaking where it is underground. Very likely need to have a licensed plumber inspect the line and possbily repressure test the piping to insure it is leak free.

Once that can be verified, the odor may just be a natural ground odor of sulphur or methane, etc. In that case the city inspector may be needed to test the soil around the yard.

If there is natural gas or propane gas supplied to the house, contact the supplier. Gas leakage is another possiblity.
Old 06-03-03, 07:22 PM
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I have this problem also, however only when my electric dryer is on for about 30 mins. I smell it in the converted part of the house. House is on a gas lines water lines in that area. Clogged vent pipe???
Old 06-04-03, 12:46 PM
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Amonia/fishy smell in one room only.

I am on city sewer and water. I do not have a septic system. I've thoroughly inspected the plumbing under the house and it seems fine. I cannot smell anything when I am in the crawlspace. My waste pipes exit the house directly under this room and then dissapear into the ground. I also have a bathroom located in close proximity to this room. Maybe my soil pipe is cracked and the vented sewer gasses are coming into the house. I don't know what to try to discover the source.

My main clues are (1) the smell only happens when the sun heats up that part of the house (2) the smell hasn't gone away in over a year (3) there is no smell in the attic or the crawlspace.

I'm starting to think that my plumbing system is puttting the smell into the space behind the wall of that room.

One last confusing piece of information. When I purchased the house the plumbing under the toilet next to that room was leaking into the crawlspace. I fixed that problem and soaked the cement/ground with bleach to kill any bacteria. The leak has been stopped for over a year now and I cannot smell anything when I'm down there. For the longest time, I thought that was the source of the problem, now I'm thinking that I've got another source of the smell.


George Kopf
Old 08-21-03, 11:10 PM
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Eureka! I found it.

Believe it or not the smell disapeared when I replace a fan/light fixture in the room. It was a Hunter Fan that has baseball bats for blades, a ball for the light globe and a catchers mit for the main unit. It was unbelievably ugly, but it didn't stink. I replaced it and the smell is gone. How weird is that?

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