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Ammonia Smell in New Construction Post New Topic | Post Reply

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Kayla Mock
Posted: Jun 12, 2013 05:29 PM
Ammonia Smell in New Construction
We are building a new house and it has come up with a strange very strong ammonia smell in the basement. We've checked the plumbing, ac/heating, gas lines, etc. with no luck. I've seen a few things about spray foam if not mixed/installed correctly causing this odor. Does anyone have any information/ideas on this possibility?

The basement was poured in June 2012 and the box sills were sprayed January 2013 the smell didn't start until maybe March or so. The smell seems to be strongest in the two unfinished rooms of the basement (only rooms where foam is not covered by drywall). One room has the sump pit and pump. The other room holds the furnace, injector pit and sewer main entrance to the house.

Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated. We should be moving in within the month, but with the smell we can't.
Posted: Jun 13, 2013 08:27 AM
How does the foam look? Is it all the same uniform color? Are there any places that look different than the rest? Have you contacted the foam contractor and/or manufacturer? Where is the house located?

Kayla Mock
Posted: Jun 13, 2013 09:11 AM
It appears fine as far as we can tell and i believe it is uniform in color. We haven't yet, but will i am sure they probably won't have any idea. We are located in central Illinois.
mark moyer
Posted: Jun 14, 2013 02:35 AM
hillbilly rocket science...
cut out as large a piece of foam as you can..
not little pieces but as large a piece as you can...
put piece in a small kitchen garbage bag and seal tight for a day or two..
then open bag and stick your schnozz (thats nose for those of you from lomalinda)..over the bag opening and take a big puff...
does it smell like ammonia??? if so seal up bag and call your freindly neighbor hood installer and the foam manufacturer...
if not...probably from some of the other nasties offgassing in your well sealed home.. there are a whole bunch,,,,

ps: "unfinished rooms"..uh the foam needs to be covered with a 15 minute thermal barrier if in a occuppied house,,drywall usually,,,you have no choice,,,you put yourself at liability,,,yes ive heard "we aint got no code out here"...dont matter if the basements finished or not..
mark moyer
Posted: Jun 16, 2013 06:24 PM
...and the bag test showed????
Kayla Mock
Posted: Jun 17, 2013 09:18 AM
No smell.
mark moyer
Posted: Jun 18, 2013 07:54 AM
just for poops-n-giggles,,,
take a 6mil piece of plastic..lets say 4x4' and tape it to the slab of the basement in those two stinkin rooms,,,lets tape it air tight,,we want to see if there is moisture comeing up through the slab...after a few days does moisture build up on the underside of that plastic??
then there is the exposed sump pit..same drill,,attempt to cover with an air tight cap and see if this effects the odor..plastic for now and tape to make diagnosis,,then you can get fancy schmancy,,this is hillbilly crap here!!!
and i aint got a clue what an injector pit is,,

with the absence of odor in the sample bag i would be suspecious of other VOC's from the other nasty building products being used in the construction of your home...
read the lables...
Alex Hoover
Posted: Jun 18, 2013 09:03 PM
I guess the unstated question is what is on the walls of the rooms where the rims were sprayed. Is there a fiberglass blanket or a vinyl faced fiberglass blanket? Those can STINK for a while after installing.
Kayla Mock
Posted: Jun 19, 2013 09:04 AM
The injector pit (pit with grinder pump) is for the basement bathroom, since it sits lower then the sewer line. Both the injector pit and sump pit have been sealed. All plumbing is hooked up. We also have a radon system running and a dehumidifier running. In the two unfinished rooms the box sills (with spray form) are not covered. the concrete walls are covered with pink foam board insulation. We've all ready pulled some of the pink foam board off to make sure there wasn't moister behind it...there wasn't and it doesn't seem to have the ammonia smell either. We've aired the house out and it helps, but once you close it up it comes back. We plan to mop the floor with a mixture of either vinegar or peroxide (both are neutralizers for ammonia and strong cleaning products). If once that is done the smell is still there we will probably have to have a local engineering company come out and do some testing.
Kayla Mock
Posted: Jul 01, 2013 04:15 PM
Just wanted to follow up with the answer the ammonia smell. It appears to be the fire retardant in the dry blown in insulation (not spray foam). Humidity or moisture are suspected as the reason for the off gassing. At the moment I think we will probably end up have to tear it all out. Hopeful we find another solution. Thanks for your suggestions and ideas.
mark moyer
Posted: Jul 01, 2013 06:37 PM
thanx for the follow up kayla,,,
good luck with your project!!!

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