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Pudah
 
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Something died in my crawl space...

My house has a full basement, and a small crawlspace under an addition to the master bedroom/half bath. When I bought the place I found a dead and dried mouse in the ceiling of the basement. It looked like the only place it would've gotten in was a busted vent in that crawl space, and then through the small hole in the brick wall where the ducts ran through into the basement. I drilled some holes and patched this up with a grate and haven't had a problem since (May 2009). I even put down a lot of sticky traps in the basement all over to be sure, and nothing.

Over the last couple of days we've noticed a wafting of a rotting smell, but couldn't quite peg where it was coming from. This morning it was stronger and my fiance assumed it was in our couch, so I tore the sectional apart and no... but I smelled it in the cold air return near the couch and it was definitely the smell of death. If you've smelled it before you know what I mean. I spent quite a while trying to track it down in the basement wondering if a mouse got in the vent and how.

I gave up and went outside to see how the hell something got in and found my answer. This summer I had some concrete in my driveway replaced. In the process it seemed that the bricks (not structural) that filled the gap from the crawlspace to the beams the floor is on were knocked out and not replaced. With the siding going as low as it does you couldn't really see it unless you look under the siding. Basically there is a 2 inch gap for about 10 feet allowing anything and everything that can fit into the crawlspace. When I got my nose within a foot of the opening I knew where the dead animal was.

The problem is that I can't find any access to the crawl space that I can fit through or even see into. It bothers me to do so, but I think I'll have to let the damn thing rot away. It must have crawled right up against the cold air return duct and died. My question is does anyone have any idea how long this stench will last? I guess it depends what it is. Perhaps a suggestion to get it to go away sooner?

Also, I think that the contractor has to come fix this to code ASAP, but he hasn't returned my messages as of yet. Im scared to seal the thing off for fear something else is alive in there that will just get trapped and die and start this all over again. I think I should shore up the gaps where the ducts come into the basement as well with some steel wool and insulation or something. Any suggestions? Perhaps the same for the gap outside while I wait for the contractor?


Cliffs:
1.No problems with mice in my house for almost 1.5 yrs.
2.Something, likely a mouse/chipmunk/squirrel died in my inaccessible crawlspace and the stench of death is coming in through the cold air return vents (though we blocked them off with cardboard).
3. Need to eliminate the odor and prevent animals from entering the crawlspace/basement.
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Old 10-14-2010, 01:31 AM Pudah is offline  
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DreamWarrior
 
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Ugh, I can tell you it may take a few weeks. But you may have a bigger problem if something is dead in there; flies. When my wife and I first moved into an apartment together many years ago, we were confronted with something similar.

When we first moved in, we put up one of those halogen floor standing lamps, you know the ones known for burning houses down by catching curtains on fire.... Anyway, the first day, every once in a while I'd notice a puff of smoke and a foul smell emanating from the lamp. I shut it off, walked over, and noticed that it burned up some flies. No big deal, clean 'em out, flip it back on, resume normal life.

But, a few nights in, we started to notice it was like "The Birds" in that place, but instead of birds it was flies. We'd walk to our bedroom and there'd be five or six flies sitting on the door frame. Ok, aggravating, but we bought a fly swatter, and killed them all.

We were not so lucky, though.... The next day it started to smell of death. Worse, when I tried to find the smell, what I found instead was there was a buzzing noise coming from the window near the fireplace. I opened the blinds to find dozens, and I'm not kidding...maybe even hundreds, of flies buzzing all over it. It was at that moment that our fly situtation became clear to me. Something must have died somewhere, likely the flue, and flies must have dispatched their nasty maggot hatchers in the carcass.

So, not only did the apartment smell nearly a week, but we had a fly swatting party for nights on end. Every time we thought we killed them all, we'd wake in the morning to find more on the window. After a few days we gave up, bought one of those fumagation things, pumped the house full of it, and left. It took two attempts with that shit to get them to all finally die off, but after a lot of frustration and a week of holding our nose, it all cleared up. Now it's just a...fond...memory, lol.

Anyway...TLDR; point is, I hope this doesn't happen to you. But, while the flies may have assisted the decomposition process, it still smelled for about a week. Invest in air fresheners, they helped a bit.

Last edited by DreamWarrior; 10-14-2010 at 09:27 AM..
Old 10-14-2010, 09:20 AM DreamWarrior is offline  
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StickyLoad
 
you could always rent a snake camera from a plumbing supply place to see if anything is in your crawl space.
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Old 10-14-2010, 10:45 AM StickyLoad is offline  
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Artesial
 
Placing baking soda out could help absorb the smell...
Old 10-14-2010, 12:12 PM Artesial is offline  
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Pudah
 
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Wonderful...

Im going to see if I cant get in to the crawl space somehow. The contractor said he's going to come patch up the hole with mortar, on Saturday. I may try to place some traps outside of it too to lure anything else in there out, but Im worried I may be luring other things to it.
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Old 10-14-2010, 04:11 PM Pudah is offline  
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asmrkt
 
Wonderful...
Old 11-01-2010, 05:50 AM asmrkt is offline  
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