Drain Odor / Tips for Carpeting a Basement / Wet Yard Problem

In Q&A on April 3, 2012 at 11:11 am

To all my followers: Please pass along my blog address to all your friends and family. I’d appreciate it!

Q: Can you help me with a problem with my bathroom sink? I notice an awful odor coming from the drain.

A: Many times I’ve gone out to people’s houses to inspect for an odor or specific problem and found pieces of roofing shingles obstructing the vent stack opening. I’ve also found birds, wasps, leaves and other nests in or on the vent. But first, pour bleach into the overflow pipe and scrub with a baby bottlebrush. If the odor persists and you can safely go up on the roof, look down the vent stack. You should see nothing but a clean, unobstructed pipe. Oftentimes, the pipe will go down a few feet and narrow to a smaller pipe, but it should be clear. If there is an obstruction, you may be able to snag it with a wire from a coat hanger. Don’t push what you find down farther. It should be removed. If everything looks good, you may be able to blow out a minor obstruction using your garden hose. If all else fails, call a plumber. That’s why they get the big bucks. By the way you can install hardware cloth screening on top of the vent to keep out debris and nests.

Q: I plan on carpeting my basement. Is there is a way to retard humidity through the concrete and also insulate the floor?

A: One product is a sub-floor system from DRIcore™. It consists of engineered wood panels. The underside is bonded to polyethylene with raised “cleats”. The cleats provide an air space between the cold concrete and the wood sub-floor. It also is a moisture barrier. Contact them at1-888-767-6374. Another product is called Enviro-Cushion. It is a carpet pad for concrete floors. According to the manufacturer it has an R-factor of 4.5 yet it is only 3/8-inch thick. The padding is available locally at Fair-Way Tile & Carpet. You can call them at 248-588-4431.

Q: I have discovered mold on some couch cushions that I stored in a second floor hall closet in my house. How do I go about correcting this problem on a very medium income?

A: There are literally thousands of different types of mold. Not all are hazardous and some certainly are beneficial. Just because you have mold on a few cushions, is not a reason to panic. To have mold you need three things: Air, a food source for the mold (in your case it’s those cushions) and moisture. You cannot eliminate air from the equation, but you can get rid of the moisture. Begin by asking yourself these questions: Why were the cushions wet? Did the moisture come from a pet, plant, roof or plumbing leak from above? Once you have answered those questions and corrected the problem, its time to clean and restore those cushions. They might be able to be cleaned using Concrobium Mold Control®, which is effective against mole and mildew organisms on both hard and fabric surfaces. It comes in a one-quart, ready-to-use spray bottle. Always test a product first in an inconspicuous corner or edge before ruing the entire cushion. Concrobium can be purchased at Home Depot for about nine dollars for a one quart spray bottle. You can also call a local dry cleaning establishment and ask if they can clean and restore those items. They probably can. Put them in plastic garbage bags and take them to the cleaners. When you get them back, lay back and enjoy your fresh, comfortable couch.

Q: We have lived in our house for nine years and recently noticed one side of our yard and the front lawn are constantly wet. I suspect either tree roots or poor drainage due to our lot position. Who would be the best person to determine what might be causing the problem?

A: If you have a sprinkler system, there could be an underground leak. If your lot is the lowest in the area, it could be the immediate neighbors yards are draining to yours. If the water is not sitting next to the house you can wait. You’ll need to call a landscaping company to install a french drain or a dry well to help with that problem.

  1. As usual, great info!

  2. Lon, you are a never-ending source of knowledge!

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