Anyone know anything about building smells?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by "M", Mar 21, 2017.

  1. "M"

    "M" Total Gardener

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    :dunno: A shot in the dark post really but ...


    ... my house smells. I've lived here 2 and a half years now and I first noticed a "smell" last Autumn/Winter. It's one I've never come across before and, at first, I thought it smelled a little bit like coal/soot (but then, it is a very long time ago since I've been around a coal fire). But then it got a bit stronger and clearly wasn't a soot/coal smell at all. It does seem to be strongest around the chimney breasts though.

    This Autumn/Winter, the smell is getting worse/stonger (never get it in the Summer though). It's a sort of bitter/sour/acrid sort of smell.

    I did wonder if it had anything to do with the plaster but someone told me last year that wouldn't be the case.

    The property is over 100 years old. The smell is getting strong enough now that it is actually irritating my nostrils and I can almost taste it in the back of my throat.

    Mr "M" says he can't smell anything at all - but that really isn't a gauge of anything :rolleyes:

    Don't suppose anyone on here could shed any light on it? :scratch: :dunno:
     
  2. clueless1

    clueless1 member... yep, that's what I am:)

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    Has a crow fallen down the chimney, died, and started rotting?

    When was the last time the chimney was swept? Could rain have got in and started reacting with sulphur present in coal dust/soot to produce sulphuric acid, which smells a bit like rotten eggs?

    By the same token, could wind be dislodging accumulated soot and releasing it into the air in the room via the fireplace?

    If it's an old house, often the upstairs fireplaces get boarded up and decorated over. If that's the case at yours, has time taken its toll on the seals around said boarding ups?
     
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    • "M"

      "M" Total Gardener

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      The chimney was removed at some point in the past, so, although the rooms still have open fireplaces, there is no chimney in the loft/roof. So, no crows/chimney sweeping/rain.

      But yes, I think sulphur sort of fits the bill in describing the smell, so, thank you for that bit :blue thumb:
       
    • Jiffy

      Jiffy The Match is on Fire

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      It's may be the soot which will be in any brick work that may be left from the old chimmey, if the chimmey has been removed the back part of the wall may be the party wall or outside wall may still be there just the three side were removed

      we have a fire place which is now lined but the soot from years ago is coming through the walls and the plaster which every year needs repaining some years is worst an others

      any way old house do smell, bricked up fireplaces were good hiding places for things ;);)
       
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      • clueless1

        clueless1 member... yep, that's what I am:)

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        Then is rain getting into the chimney column thing? I know you said the chimney has been removed, but presumably it's still there behind the wall, but just removed and sealed off at the top? If that's the case, is there any way moisture could be getting in there, perhaps through failed mortar between the bricks? My mam's one did that at one point. It took ages to figure out. I can't remember the exact details because it was years ago, but it ended up that the brickwork of the old chimney just became porous somehow and wind and rain and dust would just come through the wall into the attic.

        EDIT. While I was writing this, Jiffy posted up a much better explanation of the phenomenon I was trying to describe :)
         
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        • "M"

          "M" Total Gardener

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          Hmm, sounds like that might be it.

          The chimney breast is gone (from the loft) and the roof is flush where the top of the chimney would have been. But, the chimney columns are present in all rooms (as are the open fireplaces).

          It really is an unpleasant smell and it is filling the whole house now.

          So, I'm guessing I need to get a builder in?
           
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          • Jiffy

            Jiffy The Match is on Fire

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            Or may be a bit of back draught from your boiler has your fule been sweeped
             
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            • Jiffy

              Jiffy The Match is on Fire

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              that mite be because of the atmosphere pressure at the moment, not drawing smell up and out we get it some times
               
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              • "M"

                "M" Total Gardener

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                Is it supposed to be!!!???? :yikes:
                The combi-boiler is in the kitchen and not near/behind the fireplaces (if that makes any difference) .
                 
              • Sheal

                Sheal Total Gardener

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                It may be worth while speaking to a chimney sweep before calling in builders "M", he may well have come across the problem before.
                 
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                • "M"

                  "M" Total Gardener

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                  Lateral thinking: love it!!! :ThankYou:
                   
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                  • Sandy Ground

                    Sandy Ground Total Gardener

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                    Would I be correct in thinking that when the chimney was removed, a plate or something was put in place to cover it? Inside the loft, perhaps?
                     
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                    • "M"

                      "M" Total Gardener

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                      No idea, happened years before I arrived. Is that how it is done when the stack is taken out?
                      At 5ft 2 1/2 I'm not tall enough to see that far :doh:
                       
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                      • Sandy Ground

                        Sandy Ground Total Gardener

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                        Is it possible to go into the loft to see how it was done?
                         
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                        • "M"

                          "M" Total Gardener

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                          Yes, it would be, just ... not today :heehee:

                          Don't think there is much to see to be honest, the last time I was up there all I saw was the zigzag of bricks outlining where the chimney breast would have been which lead to the chimney stack (the outside bit). But, I'll take another look :thumbsup:
                           
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