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What can the smell be?

(19 Posts)
soniaweir Sun 23-Oct-11 21:22:32

In the past few weeks we have been getting a horrible smell downstairs. It smells a bit musty, a bit like a dead mouse and a bit like an old dirty nappy. We have checked for dead mice and nappies and can't find anything. The smell is only in the hallway and living room. It comes and goes without a pattern. We think it might be the washing machine pipes. Has anyone experienced this? We can't think what else it can be. I dont think it's damp. Someone please help!

wonderfultykes Sun 23-Oct-11 23:12:56

Is it your floor mop? Ours (vileda, under stairs cupboard) gets a really nasty stink on and I used to be convinced was a dead mouse. Can't work out how to stop it smelling, buying new one didn't work

gaelicsheep Sun 23-Oct-11 23:26:47

Have you checked under your fridge, including lifting it up (as nasty memories flood back)?

soniaweir Mon 24-Oct-11 08:06:51

gaelicsheep - its not the fridge as the smell is not in the kitechen. Defo not the mop either as i bought a new one since the smell began. I am embarrased to have people round becuase of the smell.
DH is going to get a plumber round today to see if they can work it out.

Grumpla Mon 24-Oct-11 08:28:06

Does it smell worse when the heating comes on? (dead thing on pipe?)
Have you checked round outside the house close to airbricks etc? (dead thing smell wafting in?)
Have you checked inside all shoes, boots, bags etc?
Any link to weather eg heavy rain etc?

Gonzo33 Mon 24-Oct-11 09:21:50

Dishwasher or Washing Machine when you open it? If washing machine put it on a 60 degree wash with a couple of cups of soda crystals in. It will clean the washing machine and probably the pipes when the water pumps out too.

HoneyPablo Mon 24-Oct-11 09:49:26

Are you sure you don't have mice?
The smell you describe is very much like the smell of mice.

cece Mon 24-Oct-11 09:55:20

rotting potatoes

PigletJohn Mon 24-Oct-11 13:48:13

is the smell coming from under the floor? If you have floorboards, you can probably lift one under the stairs, or sniff at the airbricks on both sides of the house. If you have a solid floor, sniff and feel for damp patches, especially under radiators.

Snif the floor in the bathroom above. If it has an impervious floor covering there might be a leak that is only detectable downstairs

Look for signs of damp on the downstairs ceiling, especially under rooms with pipes or drains in them.

Have you had any plumbing or building work done recently?

cyb Mon 24-Oct-11 13:52:57

Do you have enough air bricks? We get a dreadful ponk in our house that comes and goes and I think its due to that. Am having a couple put in

soniaweir Mon 24-Oct-11 14:04:42

our floorboards in the living room have some gaps in them and the cellar is directly underneath. it is dry down there and does not appear to have damp at all. we have searched underneath to see if there is any mice but there isn't . there are some copper looking pipes which i think are the heating pipes (the smell started before we put the heating on). the air bricks could be the thing - we have some ventiliation but maybe it's not enough. we have someone coming round this afternoon so hoepfully we can find out the cause.

PigletJohn Mon 24-Oct-11 14:18:47

you have a cellar? And it seems dry, no signs of leaks, does not smell?

soniaweir Mon 24-Oct-11 15:24:17

no leaks - smells a little bit but not as bad as the smell we have been getting...the cellar has been partly sealed too.

gaelicsheep Mon 24-Oct-11 17:01:57

OK, check under anything that a mouse could crawl under, die and go a bit rotten... Lift it up in case said dead thing gets dragged around when you move said item away from the wall. As I said, nasty memories!

soniaweir Mon 24-Oct-11 18:20:57

we had a guy came round who uncovered a mini flood in our cellar- we are not sure where it's coming from but that was obviously causing the smell. can't believe we missed it. he checked everything else and it's not the washing machine or the boiler now we need to find out where the water is coming from. Damn!

CurlyhairedAssassin Mon 24-Oct-11 20:09:25

Nightmare! Let us know when you find out where it's coming from.

PigletJohn Tue 25-Oct-11 00:32:55

is it clean, fresh water (=watermain) or soapy (=drains) or muddy (=rainwater from gullies)?

If it stinks, and has red worms in it, probably from your household drains or the sewer.

If you have a house old enough to have a cellar, it probably has lead and/or iron pipes which may have started leaking by now.

If you are on clay, it is quite likely old salt-glazed clay drainpipes which have broken, usually at a gully or elbow where they go down and turn horizontal.

If you are in a terrace or semi, it may be coming from a neighbour.

If you have a water meter, turn everything off and see if it's still going round.

soniaweir Tue 25-Oct-11 08:56:16

we cleaned up the water yesterday and it rained last night and the water has come back.

next step is asking neighbour. We asked a friend who is a bit of property expert and he said the best thing to do it to get it tanked. expensive though.

i wonder if it is something to do with old lead pipes. will do further investigation.

Really could do without this at the moment!

Thanks for all your replies, they have all been really helpful.

PigletJohn Tue 25-Oct-11 10:09:25

keep a track of the pattern and see if it fills up after rain, or after you have had a bath, or at the same rate every day. That will give you the clue of the source.

Tanking the cellar will not cure the water leak, and water will tend to wash away the soil, undermining your foundations or causing cavities to appear under the ground, that your garden or car might fall into. It will be much better to find the source and repair the fault.

If you think it might be to do with rain, look at the gutter downpipes. There will probably not be any visible damage, but make sure they all discharge into gullies that are not blocked, do not overflow, and have not got visible breaks or cracks in them.

If there is a gully, pipe, or drain near your wet patch, view it with suspicion.

The concrete path or yard around a faulty gully will often sound hollow where the subsoil has been washed away.

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