Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Elusive Smells

Over the last few weeks we have had an enigma in our home in the form of a gas smell that is there one minute and not the next.
When I first noticed it, I rang the company who service my boiler and they sent a man round to check the boiler, where it seemed to be coming from.
They used gadgets to check the meter and the whole system. I was told there was no gas leak in my house and that everything was completely safe.
I felt so relieved that it wasn't anything to worry about and gladly paid the fee for the reassurance that the man had given me. He told me he couldn't smell anything.
In case you are wondering if I was imagining it or that I have a faulty sense of smell, Harry had also smelt it. In fact I think he was the first to notice it.

A week went on without a problem and then, to my dismay, we noticed the smell again. This time, I decided to ignore it because it was there one minute and just when I was beginning to panic, it disappeared without trace.
After several days of this, I still felt very uneasy and decided to ring the Gas Board Emergency Service. Surely they would find something wrong?
They were round within half an hour and did a free extensive search both in my home and next doors. They used all sorts of gadgets to test everything and a smoke test on the chimney flue. Everything was passed as safe and I was assured that their equipment would pick up minute amounts of gas leaking and set all their alarms off full pelt. Nothing happened and they could not smell anything.
Feeling very reassured and being told that the most likely cause was a rotting bird behind the boiler that would smell similar to gas. 
Well that was over a week ago and yesterday we smelt it again.
I have been assured that a gas leak would be constant and not come and go like it is doing. However, surely a rotting bird would be constant too and quite honestly I don't think it is a rotting beast.
Has anyone else had a similar problem?


Brian Miller said...

does it happen when the air is on? something might have crawled up in a vent and died and the stirring of the air brings the smell...

SueAnn Lommler said...

We use propane here to heat and cook and I too have smelled an elusive propane smell. Too no avail. They couldn't find anything wrong.
They said when tank gets close to empty, it will give off a smell.
So who knows. Good luck in ferreting out what this is.

Akelamalu said...

Never had this problem, it's worrying though isn't it?

Mary Gilmour said...

Many years of experience with gas/propane. And yes, from time to time an elusive gust of gas is very disturbing. I have brushed liquid soap onto the line joins and crouched, watching for bubbles, far too many times.

Do your burners have pilot lights on all the time? Sometimes you will get a whiff of gas from them, especially if the air in the kitchen is in motion.

The other thing is, how strong is it when you smell it? As SueAnn said, sometimes the line 'burps'. When it does, the scent only lasts a few minutes at most.

Retired English Teacher said...

Yes, I have in a school where I once taught. It turned out to be a big problem with a vent. I hope you find the culprit and a solution soon.

mrsnesbitt said...

You can't buy peace of mind I was once told - to no avail. Hope you get it sorted Mags - I get headaches from such occurances - had this going on when we had oil and the tank was low.

Thank you so much for your contribution to our Race for Life much appreciated xxxxx

Jeni said...

Been having an odorous problem here too but of a different type of smell. The dog is being blamed for it but it comes and goes (and he doesn't always move at those times) so I've been sort of on a search and destroy mission to find wherever it may be that he has done something and that it is apparently perfectly hidden from sight but not from the nostrils. Annoying though, anytime one has new and strange odors in your surroundings, isn't it? Had that a couple weeks ago too with my car -smelling oil from time to time -and lo and behold, there was a leaky part that my former son-in-law was able to fix -thankfully!

Friko said...

I have had the smell of gas but o actual leak. It’s disturbing when it happens but probably due to something quite natural.

Secret Agent Woman said...

No, that's really weird. Hope you are able to figure it out!

Rose said...

I haven't a clue, but it's good you had everything checked out. At least you know you're safe, though the smell must be worrying.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Brian, something to check out.

Years ago, when having a new furnace installed in my house, I had a jackass (sad but true) doing the job, I didn't realize when I hired him of course. After he had completed the job and just had finishing to do, he left for the day and I noted a gas smell. I phoned the gas company and there was a leak in one of the pipes that jackass hadn't noted. They said it was a good thing I called! Jackass was mad though, I think there were consequences for him, with the gas company. I never ignore stuff like this, it's just too dangerous not to find the cause. Good luck Maggie, you'll figure this out. :<)

Mary Gilmour said...

Hoping for an update that all is well.

Hilary said...

That's disconcerting, for sure. Try Googling "intermittent natural gas smell" and see what others might have learned about it.

I do have a situation where something must have either died or lived for a long time in a vent above my powder room. There is no smell all winter but every spring, the odor returns. We're fine if we run the fan but not otherwise.

I hope you can resolve the problem. Please keep us posted.

Munir said...

I would make a not of when and what point the gas smell come. For example if the smell comes after turning on and off a particular burner, then avoid using that for a while and see what happens.