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Old 09-28-2010, 01:08 PM   #1
wirm
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Question Bad Smell in Garage

Hi folks, I didn't know where to ask this, so I thought of ATOT

I've got a garage with a little kitchen, bathroom and laundry room right next to each other and kind of open (not the bathroom, of course).

When I went downstairs yesterday, there was a strong smell that I couldn't identify. It was sort of reminiscent of ammonia/urine and just plain bad. I could not identify the source, so I'm worried about 2 things

1) animal crawled somewhere and died
2) leaking pipe, possibly sewage (ugh)

Anybody have tips on what to do? I don't just want to cover it up with Fabreeze or baking soda. If there's a problem, I want to know what it is and fix it.

I don't really use anything in the kitchen except for the refrigerator. The laundry room has a washer and dryer. The bathroom is frequently used.
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:17 PM   #2
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Could be a lot of things. It would help to pinpoint the source, even if it's just to a general area. Dead mice can create a lot of stink for a little body. Sewage smells like sewage. If you're unsure, take the cap off a cleanout and see if it smells like that. My money is on a dead mouse though.
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:25 PM   #3
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The best I could pinpoint was a spot with a 5 foot radius. The fridge, laundry machines and bathroom door are actually right next to each other and the smell is coming from there.
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:27 PM   #4
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I had a mouse die in my garage. Smelled AWFUL for such a tiny critter.
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:30 PM   #5
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A little kitchen you say?
Is there a stove?
Have you cleaned the grease trap recently?
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:33 PM   #6
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It's the dead hooker you buried under the slab.
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:34 PM   #7
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Anytime you have a sink that you don't use often, the trap can dry out and allow the sewer smell into the area. Usually just running the tap and refilling the trap with water will cure it.
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mb View Post
I had a mouse die in my garage. Smelled AWFUL for such a tiny critter.
Found a dead opossum in my parents yard by the backdoor, stupid thing had crawled in a wood pile and died (probably poisoned by a neighbor)... never seen so many bugs/maggots in my life.

Now that was a stink!
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:59 PM   #9
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Check the drain pan under the fridge, or even the fridge itself if it isn't used much.
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:12 PM   #10
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Last time this happened to me we found a large dead bird completely hidden inside the fairings of my buddies vstrom 1k.. It had been there about a week, and happened during a cross country trip.
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:14 PM   #11
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Is your mustache clean?
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Anytime you have a sink that you don't use often, the trap can dry out and allow the sewer smell into the area. Usually just running the tap and refilling the trap with water will cure it.
This is interesting, I'll give it a shot.

I don't use the kitchen much. The only thing in there I use is the fridge.
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wirm View Post
This is interesting, I'll give it a shot.

I don't use the kitchen much. The only thing in there I use is the fridge.

The p trap being empty is a great tip but I'm guessing you know what sewage smells like, right? It's a fairly distinctive smell... what you're describing sounds almost like a cat coming in and spotting or something.
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:38 PM   #14
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This reminds me I need to run some water through the floor drain in our mudroom.
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:12 PM   #15
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You didn't use enough lye on the body before you poured the concrete...
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sluggo View Post
Anytime you have a sink that you don't use often, the trap can dry out and allow the sewer smell into the area. Usually just running the tap and refilling the trap with water will cure it.
I second this thought, and offer an extension. Besides the drains on the plumbing facilities, do you also have a floor drain in the garage? Those also should have traps in the piping (unseen below the floor) that can dry out if no water flows down them over a period of time. So if there's a floor drain, dump a small pail of water down it, too, every couple of weeks.

Similarly, check the drain piping for the laundry equipment - there will be a drain hose from the washer going into a standpipe or something that also has a trap in it. If you are not using that laundry equipment often, that trap also can dry out.
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