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  1. #1

    Question Fumes coming from basement

    What can cause fumes to come from basement even if the heat is not running. It slowly leaks upstairs and seems to be worse when we are gone and come back home. The basement has the furnace, but the heat is not running, but the air is running. We know we have a mold problem and that is evident from the musty smell. But the other smell is like fumes. It doesn't appear to be coming from the furnace...It is a rental home. But we cannot tell what that exhaust fume odor is. It is worse in basement. It has been this way since we moved in 5 months ago. I am home most of the day and I don't want to get sick from this.We have no garage and have oil heat and central air. It is an older home built in 70 and has some electrical problems I think. The lights blink a lot. It is a rental home and we are moving in 3 weeks, but I am kind of scared to even stay the 3 weeks.. I am home most of the day and my husband is at work most of the time. I have been kind of sick and not sure if it is related to the house. It could be the allergies in a new location.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Langley, BC, Canada
    Posts
    384
    Fumes could be a gas leak from the furnace or hot water tank....if your smelling it upstairs then you could have a big leak. It could be off gases from the hot water tank. Radon is colorless and odour less. Does it have a particular smell? if you feel sick and light headed I wouldnt be inside, I would be opening up all the windows as well. Call your landlord and get him to call the utility company or a heating outfit to come and look. This is something that should be addressed right away without delay.
    *Proud Member of UA LOCAL 516*

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Athens GA
    Posts
    1,234
    It could be 100 differant things,most of them not good for you.
    One thing that comes to mind is the chimney is plugged and you still have a water heater.
    Call your landlord and tell him you are afraid to sleep in this place and to get a service guy out there right away.If you have to tell him you will not pay any more rent until you know its safe.You could get a CO detector right away,Sometimes they are free from the fire dept,or the town code enforcement office.
    Even if you opened all the windows and doors ,don't sleep where there might be CO in the place.
    PS the lightsd blinking a lot means there will be a fire,and it will probably start inside a wall somewhere.
    From what you have written I believe you are in actual danger living there.Take that for whats its worth.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Wa.
    Posts
    119
    Get out, call the utillity company where you are, also have a Heating Service Technician there 10 minutes ago.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    The midwest.
    Posts
    663
    Sometimes the plumbing P-traps will dry out and you'll get an oder.

    But with the lights blinking and you're feeling sick, I would be very careful.

    Get the landlord to check everything out today.

    Good luck, let us know what they find.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,376
    I know you said you have oil heat, but do you have a natural gas burning water heater (I know, I know...why would there be oil heat and natural gas water heater in the same basement...just have to ask to cover the bases).

    What do these fumes smell like?

    Is it worse when the furnace runs? The same? Better?

    When you run the central air, does the smell get worse, stay the same, or get better?

    Is the odor strongest in the basement? I know you said "worse", but is it THE WORST in the basement vs. higher in the house?

    If you fear for your safety and health remaining in that house, I would leave ASAP.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, Oh
    Posts
    5,348
    BEFORE you call a heating and air company to inspect things: Call your landlord first. You unfortunetly don't have the right to have it repaired/inspected without his/her permission first, and you could be the one who ends up footing the bill.
    Call the Landlord right away. Suggest to your landlord you should get a HVAC professional out. Maybe the utility company. Most likely HVAC. Around here the utility company ain't worth a crap.
    "Better tell the sandman to stay away, because we're gonna be workin on this one all night."

    "Dude, you need more than 2 wires to a condenser to run a 2 stage heatpump."

    "Just get it done son."

    Dad adjusted

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,793
    Quote Originally Posted by shophound View Post
    I know you said you have oil heat, but do you have a natural gas burning water heater (I know, I know...why would there be oil heat and natural gas water heater in the same basement...just have to ask to cover the bases).
    LOL... Strange as it may sound. that isn't all that uncommon around here.

    In the city, you find a good number of places with an oil hot air furnace, and a gas fired water heater.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    butler pa
    Posts
    1,073
    a call to the local fire dept may be wise...here they have co detectors and
    will test for it if you think you have a co issue...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Fox Lake IL
    Posts
    462
    hope she has done somthing befor it is to late.... call your fire department

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Philadelphia PA
    Posts
    2,198
    Sounds like the basement is pulling a negative pressure and the flue is blocked!

    A call to the Landlord is first and if someone doesn't show up then call someone and deduct it form the rent.
    You have got to learn from other people's mistakes! Because God knows you don't live long enough to make them all yourself !!!!!!!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,376
    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    LOL... Strange as it may sound. that isn't all that uncommon around here.

    In the city, you find a good number of places with an oil hot air furnace, and a gas fired water heater.
    Thanks for that...since I live in slab foundation/no oil heat country, I felt...


    ...when I said that.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,841
    Obviously we can't actually smell what you're smelling and so it should be checked by a knowledgable technician on scene. Oil units can create a smell as the moisture from condensation in the basement mixes with residue from last winters heating. Any spilled oil or fuel oil stains can also create odors. However, you need to have someone live, in the basement, determine the source and the solution. We can't do that from here.
    If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.

    If you are waiting for the 'other guy' to change first, just remember, you're the 'other guy's' other guy. To continue to expect real change when you keep acting the same way as always, is folly. Won't happen. Real change will only happen when a majority of the people change the way they vote!

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