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Tuesday's Ask the Experts: Stubborn odors

July 26, 2011
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Tuesday''s Ask the Experts question from a cleaning professional on the International Custodial Advisors Network (ICAN) "Ask the Experts" page: We smell a sewer odor throughout the house. It is a small, one-bedroom ranch/slab house with one bathroom and no crawl space. The smell is VERY STRONG at the two cold air return vents and then when the heat comes on I want to vomit. We have no cracked pipes; we have checked the attic for mold and dead animals. The plumber did the camera inspection and found no water under the furnace or in the air ducts. The plumber says our main clean out was 90 percent blocked by tree roots. We have lived here for 10 years and have never had this before.
The answer:
It sounds as if you have a tough one on your hands. This really isn''t a cleaning problem until you find the source of the odor. Then it may or may not be a cleaning problem. I agree with you, the sewer smell is not good for one’s health and is an indication of a serious problem in the home.
Here are some things to consider: Basic Odor Control 101. To eliminate an odor problem you need to find and remove the source.
1. Is there a floor drain in or near the furnace? Dry floor drains are often the source of sewer gas, as they need to be used on a regular basis to keep their traps from ... — Bill Griffin, president of Cleaning Consultants.
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