Skunk Smell in Basement – What Is It?

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    If you have notice a skunk smell coming from your basement there might be something wrong and you need to investigate the source of the skunk odor.

    In this guide we will teach you the causes of a skunk smell in your basement or crawl space and how to fix the smell.

    Skunk or Rotten Eggs Smell

    The first thing to do is identify if the smell is a skunk smell or a rotten egg or sewer gas smell. Both gasses smell similar so it can be difficult to identify if you only catch a quick smell. This step is important because the different smells represent different types of basement gas leaks.

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    If it is a skunk smell you might have a natural gas leak in the basement. If you have a rotten egg smell the problem is coming from the piping.

    Natural gas is normally odorless making it impossible to detect. Since a build up of natural gas can suffocate humans or even cause a large explosion it is important that you be aware of this smell if your home uses natural gas.

    It is not actually the natural gas that is causing the smell – it is actually a chemical that is added called Mercaptan that is added so leaks can easily be identified.

    Our top rated Natural Gas Detector

    We recommend installing a natural gas detector in every basement along side your sump pump and sump pump alarm. Natural gas leaks can be deadly and even with Mercaptan you may not smell the gas leak until it is too late.

    Our favorite handheld Natural Gas alarm is the Techamor Y201. This alarm is easy to use and can detect leaks as low as 50 PPM. It is powered by AAA batteries and also detects propane, methane and sewer gas.

    What is Mercaptan?

    Mercaptan, AKA methanethiol, is a naturally occurring compound that contains sulfur which is why it smells like a skunk and is added to natural gas.

    Dangers of Natural Gas Leaks

    Basement natural gas leaks are dangerous because the gas will build up quickly and can cause a large explosion. It is important to have proper ventilation in your basement to prevent the buildup of gas and keep mold from growing.

    Small leaks can cause lightheadedness and headaches and large, prolonged leaks can cause your basement to explode.

    How to Fix

    If you smell a skunk smell coming from your basement the first thing to do is shut off the natural gas. Next, take a natural gas detector into the basement and check the lines to try and find an obvious source of the leak – if you can’t find one and are not familiar with home repairs we recommend calling a handyman.

    Skunks in the Basement

    Sometimes there might be an actual skunk in your basement. Skunk spray is smelly and can be hard to miss if sprayed in your basement.

    First, make sure the skunk has left the basement. The best way to do this without getting sprayed again is to leave a door or window open and it should leave on its own in a few hours. If you can’t get it out on your own you may need to call a professional skunk removal company.

    If a sunk has sprayed in your basement the smell can be removed with tomato juice, vinegar and baking soda sprayed on furniture, drywall or carpet. If it gets sprayed on hardwood floor try to dry it as soon as possible.

    Frequently Asked Question

    How do you get skunk smell out of your basement?

    Skunk smells can be removed from the basement by stopping the natural gas leak and venting the basement with a fan for a few days.

    Why does my house smell like skunk at night?

    A skunk smell in the basement at night is likely caused by the heater working more on a cold night which is causing a small natural gas leak in the basement to become larger.

    Does a gas leak smell like skunk?

    Yes, gas leaks smell like a skunk due to a chemical that is added called Mercaptan in order to make the odorless gas easy to smell.

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