Basement Smells Like Ammonia

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Basement Smells Like Ammonia

by Cris Carl for Networx Generally, if we are talking about a smell in your basement, it usually isn’t a pretty one. What you smell may be mold, mildew, cat urine (or feces), dead mice, or sewer gas. If you have an older home, there is a good chance you battle with water in your basement, which leads to some of these problem smells. Even if you have a sump pump installed in your basement, it may not be enough to combat mold and mildew. You may also have blockages in plumbing, drains, venting, or heating systems. Here, I will go over some of the major culprits of basement smells and offer suggestions on how to fix or lessen the problem. Mold and Mildew Mold and mildew are caused by the growth of bacteria that arises with unchecked and stagnant moisture. Mold and mildew can grow slowly over time, or rapidly if you have a major leak. Mold has an unforgettable tangy, earthy, smell of decomposition. Mold is always in the air unless you live in an extremely arid region. The more moisture, the more mold. Basements, being underground, can become moist though cracks in walls, windows, plumbing, condensation, etc. 4 Reasons Why Your Damp House is Wrecking Your Health Many people are allergic to mold and may notice an increase in symptoms after a rain. The best way to deal with mold and mildew is to have your basement as dry as possible. Invest in a dehumidifier, seal any leaks or cracks the walls or floors, or invest in gutters so that rain drains away from your house. Depending on the age of your home and how well you and previous owners have kept up maintenance, you may always have a slightly musty smell to contend with. Getting rid of mold and mildew usually entails throwing out carpeting, furniture, or any absorbent materials such as fabrics and cardboard. Then you will need to clean thoroughly with a diluted bleach solution (10 to 1 mix). Smaller items, when placed in bright sunshine for a couple of days will often lose both the smell and the mold. 3 Ways to Kill Mold Naturally Sometimes, if the problem is severe enough, you may need to look into professional remediation. If your furnace and vents haven’t been cleaned in awhile, you may have a build-up of dust, debris, dead bugs and mice, and of course, mold. You should have your vents cleaned every one to two years. Sewer Gas If it smells like poop, rotten eggs, or garbage in your basement, you have a big problem. Sewer gas is an overpowering smell that is also toxic and in the right amounts – explosive. Sometimes the odor may only be present when the house is closed up and the heat or air conditioning is on. The smell is created by a build-up of waste materials found in either a public sewer system or in a septic system. Plumbing is meant to keep the gases inside the pipes, so if you are smelling sewer gas, you may have a clog or a crack in the plumbing system. You may also have a clog or crack in your venting pipes. Most homes usually have venting pipes that are part of your plumbing that poke through your roof. Venting pipes are not for exhaust, but for intake of fresh air. When a lot of air enters a drain pipe it pushes air in front of it towards your sewage or septic system. The vents replace the lost air. You may be smelling sewer gas as a result of plumbing fixtures whose traps have gone dry. For example, if you are going to be away for awhile, you may want to have someone flush your toilets for you. Water evaporates quicker than you may think. Sewer gas problems can be very serious and will likely require the help of a professional. One of the best detection methods that professionals use is having smoke forced through your plumbing/septic system. Cat Urine Pungent and pervasive. I doubt there is anyone alive who doesn’t know the smell of cat urine. There are plenty of products out there that claim to kill the smell, but you will likely end up going through a similar process as with mold. You will often need to tear out any wood or wallboard that has been sprayed. Throw out everything that has the smell attached to it. Baking soda spread liberally and vacuumed up a few times will also help. The use of Kilz or stain on well-cleaned walls or wood will also help. Dead Animals Lastly, you may smell something with a sickly-sweet smell of decomposition. You may have dead mice or bats in a crevice or wall. Unfortunately, unless you are remodeling anyway, time is the only cure. Related: Odor-Removing Secrets 5 Basics for Non-Toxic Cleaning 11 Hidden Household Dangers Get Rid of Pests Naturally
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Basement Smells Like Ammonia

The Ammonia Method: Ammonia can also remove cigarette tar and nicotine from walls when mixed with water. Combine a tablespoon of ammonia for every cup of water, or roughly 1/2 cup of ammonia to a gallon of warm water. For painted walls, reduce the mixture to 1/4 cup to a gallon of water. For a stronger solution, increase the ammonia to a full cup. Apply the cleaning agent directly to the wall and let it sit for about five minutes before wiping it off. Follow with a clean rinse of warm water.
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Basement Smells Like Ammonia

Strong odors inside your home sometimes are an indication that you have a problem with mold. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, mold growth produces a variety of odors from earthy or musty to a foul stench. An ammonia-like odor after a period of rain could be caused by mold. Water promotes mold growth, and odors from mold are more noticeable when the area is wet. If you smell mold inside your home, you must remove it at once to avoid damage to your home and adverse health effects. Another possible cause of ammonia-like odors inside your home is cat urine. Normally, cat urine has a weak ammonia odor. Cats that have bacterial infections generally produce a stronger ammonia-like scent. If you have cats inside your home, it is possible their urine near baseboards or underneath furniture could be causing the smell inside your home.
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Basement Smells Like Ammonia

Hi all, Last week we smelled sort of an ammonia smell in my son’s bedroom in the basement. Now the smell is overpowering and burns my throat when I go in that room.. Does anyone know what that could be? It smells like really bad cat box odor, but there are no cats or catboxes down there, and my dogs don’t go down there at all. I can’t pinpoint exactly where it’s coming from in his room, but I do know that it’s not coming from the back of the basement where all the heating/AC and main sewer line are located. It’s also not coming in the window. I even checked his bed to see if he was peeing in his sleep. but it’s not his bed. any ideas? It really stinks.
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Basement Smells Like Ammonia

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Basement Smells Like Ammonia

I would be very leary…If the paneling is warped, that is a sign of extensive moisture back behind the walls. The basement may have been dry after a recent rain, but signs of water intrusion are evident inthe paneling. You did not say if the baseboard was down in the basement or up in living area? If it is UPSTAIRS, that could be a sign that mold contamination is not contained only to the basement area, and has spread throughout the living quarters also. I would ask why the home is for sale, and see if you can speak with previous tenants to see if anyone suffered any type of illness. If you are real keen on buying the house, ie, ideal location, etc…then I would definitely get QUALITY mold inspection and testing, which would reveal how hazardous the situation is and also how contaminated the home is. I personally would keep looking!
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Basement Smells Like Ammonia

If it smells like poop, rotten eggs, or garbage in your basement, you have a big problem. Sewer gas is an overpowering smell that is also toxic and in the right amounts
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Basement Smells Like Ammonia

I live in a basement apartment. 6 months ago i noticed black spots on my beige carpet. At the time I thought it was probably just dirt and didnt look into it. After a while there were more spots, and i started to get sinus headaches. I didnt think much of that either as I am allergic to dust, and being a brand new basement I assumed it had a large amount of dust from the construction. However more black spots started popping up in places that could not have been from dirt. I had a mold specialist come to check it out, and the carpet picked up to check the floor . He said that the concrete is impressively dry and that he did not see any mold on the bottom of the carpet. I had the carpet cleaned anyway. It is now 6 weeks after I had it cleaned and the spots came back with even more. My wife who is not allergic to anything started complaining of dizziness and headaches .How can i fix this ? and how can I tell if this is because of mold or their is a different problem? What may that be? Thank you for your expert advice.

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