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Old 29.11.2015, 22:23
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Establishing a bad smell

I think this is quite odd so bear with me...

Every morning or at least the majority of mornings when we leave our house we smell a gassy smell that reminds us of strong fart, we notice it in the foyer our apartment block. We live in a 1970s block opposite an allotment. We have always assumed the smell is from the allotment for some reason, and never really questioned it. Occasionally there are cows in the field next to the allotment but I never really thought it was cow smell.

I mentioned this smell to our neighbour ans she said she had never smelt it and if it was anything it would be the cows. I thought this was odd because the smell is quite strong.

Today we had 10 families in and out of our house because of a party. Every time we opened the door the smell was in our hallway.

I was embarrassed but of course put it down to just a smell from outside.

The clincher for me has been just now. Without opening any doors or windows to outside I got a huge whiff of this smell. In my house. And I though "what if all along its coming from our house and not outside at all..." now, it's not human fart smell, as much as I'd like to blame my husband it really wasn't him this time.

My question is simple... how do I determine where the smell is actually coming from? Is there a test I can do? A professional I should get in? If it's coming from outside, fine but I'm worried that all this time we've had some kind of gas leak or something that is dangerous...

Jokes etc welcome.
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Old 29.11.2015, 22:31
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Re: Establishing a bad smell

Once I had a painted easter egg in my room and the stench was unbearable.

If you lifted it up it wouldnt smell so much to know that was it. I would try removing culprit items one by one and leaving them in the balcony for 10 minutes, see if the smell winds down.

If you do with 10-15 items at the end you should narrow it down. First find the room, then do the items etc.

Not sure if there's a professionalf or that

P.S Did you check if there is a dead rat/cat/small animal somewhere inside a wall, below floor, inside window blinds?
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Old 29.11.2015, 22:31
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Re: Establishing a bad smell

It'll be originating from the drains within the building.
When the weather's about to change, the drains stink ..... no logical or scientific reasoning behind this, it's just a Swiss thing.

Failing that, the farmers have been spreading muck on the fields, recently, and if they've been using pig shit, that really stinks.

Alternatively, pig farms or chicken sheds and a change in wind direction.


Did you forget any dodgy Aussie produce secreted in your suitcases?
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Old 29.11.2015, 22:31
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Re: Establishing a bad smell

Gipsy curse?
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Old 29.11.2015, 22:37
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Re: Establishing a bad smell

Do you have an inscription like this anywhere in the building?
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Old 29.11.2015, 22:52
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Re: Establishing a bad smell

when water dries out from a siphon of a not-so-often-used sink
brain tumors also cause to smell non existent things

Last edited by Meerkat33; 29.11.2015 at 23:17.
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Old 29.11.2015, 22:54
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Re: Establishing a bad smell

Put a large bucket of water down every drain in your apartment (got a second shower or washbasin that you don't use often). There is a section that should have water in it (the 'u' or 's bend) and if it dries out, the smell from the drains can come back up...

Also, check for any forgotten waste... dead animals... maybe something in the bushes...

Aside from that, yes...probably the manure being used by the farmers...
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Old 29.11.2015, 23:02
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Re: Establishing a bad smell

If you are on the bottom flat, you have the joy of having the effluent of all flats above you float down your pipes.

Maybe ask the Hauswart to get a plumber to unclog your pipes? This (apparently) has to be done every year or so. If it get unclogged to the street, I suspect that the "house" pays. Else you pay.

Have you also checked all bags for food scraps?

Shoes for muck?

Are the shoes by the door?

On or under the doormat? Dog pooped wiped off?

Failing that, borrow a friends' dog, and see if they find anything interesting. The dog, not the friend.
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Old 29.11.2015, 23:09
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Re: Establishing a bad smell

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brain tumors also cause to smell non existent things
The OP said that "we" observed this smell. So unless you're postulating that she and the whole family have matching brain tumors...


It's almost certainly the plumbing. Our house does it occasionally too. And yes, when it does happen the smell is always noticeable in the stairwell more than in any of the bathrooms. (The pipes are sandwiched between bathroom and stairwell walls, so I guess the wall to the stairwell is just more permeable.)

Flushing all the toilets at least occasionally (every day or every few days) seems to prevent it for us. Perhaps there's a unit in your block where the plumbing isn't getting used regularly - maybe an empty unit, or one used as a holiday home? If so probably not much you can do about it.
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Old 29.11.2015, 23:19
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Re: Establishing a bad smell

It could be the drains and there is a potential solution.

The clue to whether it's a drain is how sulfurous it is.

For example, in the mountains we were staying with friends and the ski room stunk to high heaven but the sulfurous smell tipped me off to sewage not the rows of ski boots being the origin.

Pour a litre of water in every drain or plug hole in your common areas. All drains have a U bend, like the one you see under your sink. Water sits in it and creates an air lock. If it dries out, sewer smells vent... As to your own apartment, are there unused bathrooms?
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Old 29.11.2015, 23:21
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Re: Establishing a bad smell

D'oh. Skimmed right past Swiss pea who wrote same thing. ... Seconded!
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Old 29.11.2015, 23:40
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Re: Establishing a bad smell

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It could be the drains and there is a potential solution.

The clue to whether it's a drain is how sulfurous it is.

For example, in the mountains we were staying with friends and the ski room stunk to high heaven but the sulfurous smell tipped me off to sewage not the rows of ski boots being the origin.

Pour a litre of water in every drain or plug hole in your common areas. All drains have a U bend, like the one you see under your sink. Water sits in it and creates an air lock. If it dries out, sewer smells vent... As to your own apartment, are there unused bathrooms?
We found this out the unpleasant way- arriving at our flat in the UK after a hot spell! We now always put a little bleach in the sink and wcs after flushing- then make sure plugs in sinks are down/closed and we cover the WCs with cling film and close lid to stop evaporation.
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Old 29.11.2015, 23:44
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Re: Establishing a bad smell

Thank you for all the advice, it seems so obvious to me now that it would be the plumbing but we really didn't consider this before. .. just dumb dumbs I guess.

All the other suggestions of culprits are valid but less likely to be the case, we live on the top flat with small rooms on the lower ground floor that are currently unoccupied and have been so since we moved in in March. My husband just informed me that while I was away our dishwasher became blocked. Hopefully we can work out a solution!
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Old 29.11.2015, 23:47
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Re: Establishing a bad smell

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when water dries out from a siphon of a not-so-often-used sink
brain tumors also cause to smell non existent things
There's also a mental disorder where one truly believes they are dead. when I'm hungover I suffer from this.
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Old 30.11.2015, 00:06
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Re: Establishing a bad smell

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There's also a mental disorder where one truly believes they are dead. when I'm hungover I suffer from this.
I hear you.
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Old 30.11.2015, 02:11
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Re: Establishing a bad smell

The title suggested that you were looking to ESTABLISH a bad smell, not merely looking for one.
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Old 30.11.2015, 08:01
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Re: Establishing a bad smell

I smell a rat!

In an old building it could easily be a dead mouse behind the walls. You should be able to determine the difference between a dead animal and a human produced smell, although if they are similar you have another problem in your household.
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Old 30.11.2015, 09:46
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Re: Establishing a bad smell

Have you seen all your neighbours recently? I hope one hasn't died a few weeks ago & no one has noticed.
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Old 30.11.2015, 10:54
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Re: Establishing a bad smell

[QUOTE=19Monica;2495421All the other suggestions of culprits are valid but less likely to be the case, we live on the top flat with small rooms on the lower ground floor that are currently unoccupied and have been so since we moved in in March. [/QUOTE]

Do you have access to those rooms downstairs or not? If not, get the caretaker or agency to go and check those rooms- especially if there is a WC down there- or sinks, etc- if the u-bend is dry, it will allow smells from sewers to come up.
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Old 30.11.2015, 10:57
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Re: Establishing a bad smell

Close all the internal doors when you go out for the day, then when you come back see if the smell is more obvious in any one room, that may narrow down your search a bit.
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