Smelly basement

pjmysticOctober 11, 2007

I posted this in the heating/air conditioning forum but will try my luck here as well.

We've lived in our house for 6 years and I finished the basement 2 years ago this December, 1300 square feet, about 300 of that is a storage room where we keep a litter box for 1 cat. We change the little once or twice a week and the cat is very clean. I never noticed the smell (before or after the basement was finished) until about a month ago but now when I get to the bottom of the basement stairs, I can smell the litter box (the storage room door is way across the room). I know there's no accidents on the carpet anywhere either, have looked extensively into this.

I go into the storage room and it isn't strong at all. Here's my hunch: The smell started when we turned the air conditioner off for the year. I turned it back on and the smell is gone. Turn it off, smell reappears. Does it have to do w/ circulation? One other thing, I haven't put in the return airs in the basement yet. Could that be it? Any advice is much appreciated.

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I think your cat is developing new habits, even if you haven't found the accidents yet. When you say you haven't put in returns yet, do you mean no grills? Maybe it climbed in and went exploring, etc.

Also, I would get a friend who doesn't live with animals in the house and use their nose to trace it. They'll be much more sensitive.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 11:05AM
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It's definitely not the cat going other places. I even got the black light out and got on my hands and knees and went all through the basement smelling the carpet last night and there's nothing. Carpet actually still smells new.

I haven't even installed the return airs yet. I was thinking that might be the reason since there's probably no air circulating down there?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 11:43AM
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Have you actually seen a blacklight work effectively that way? (I tried it for rodents and the light was ineffective.)

How about letting someone catsit and remove the litterbox for a few days and see if the smell remains? (I'd imagine that it will linger.)

And no offense, but I've seem too many "clean cat" situations that deteriorated at some point. The owners are the last to know. Perhaps that's not the case here, but that's been my observation. (BTW, male or female? I've heard that male cats can really get into marking territory - do you know if that's true?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 3:21PM
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The black light is very effective for cat urine, and I crawled and smelled every inch of that carpet and there's nothing. And it doesn't actually smell like cat urine, it smells like the litter box (if that makes any sense).

I think I'm going to start w/ a dehumidifier, that may help the problem.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 5:11PM
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Dehumidifer. The AC was providing dehumidification, and the dryer air suppressed the odors.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 6:37PM
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A dehumidifier did the trick, thanks for all of the advice.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 10:27AM
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