Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

What do you make of this?

SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,407
edited January 2021 in Indoor-Air Quality
Loaned my coworker a gas sniffer because he smells -gasoline- in his house.

I forgot we can't post clips. But, sniffer goes off near foundation/floor in basement in several areas.


    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,422
    Any underground tanks outside the house. What kind of fuel do they heat with gas or oil?
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,407
    edited January 2021
    no underground tanks.   i gave trying to post you tube link.   not saavy enough.  They heat with geothermal
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,824
    Some time ago in Takoma Park some one pumped gas into the sewer into what he thought was a tank, I don't know where he moved to.
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,561
    Any gas stations or convivence stores close to this house?
    Even a long abandoned UST that finally rusted thru could be lurking somewhere.

    I worked with the state NDEQ (EPA) for nearly 20 years on clean up of UST spillage from small gas stations.
    A plume of oil/gas sitting on top of the shallow water table, we have here, can travel hundreds of feet.
    We had a house that had to be permanently abandoned as the water table came up each spring there would be gas fumes in the basement.

    When collecting samples from one of the more than 30 monitoring wells, the gas might look like new. But the smell was terrible, serious hand washing was needed. A little of that gas went a long ways for odors.
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,407
    edited January 2021
    That must be it.

    He did say he spilled a couple gallons of gasoline a few weeks ago about 50 feet away from the house. And, his geo thermal system does use the lake his house is next to somehow ( pointing to shallow water table). We have had more rain than usual. That is something!
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,442
    It's probably the gas spill as mentioned above.
    I had a gas detector go off in a similar situation. It wasn't gas. It turned out to be natural methane.
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,407
    That is pretty incredible. He sniffed the spot where he spilled but the detector didn't detect anything. The gasoline must have found a channel leading to his foundation. Sadly, it looks like the geothermal has an air handler right next to a spot where the detector lights up and it pulls the odor into the house. He has moved his family into a hotel for now.
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,561
    I would think that 2 gallons of gas spilled onto the ground would have evaporated away before it would soak down to the water table.
    Unless of course it was more than "a couple of gallons".
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,407
    That is why I think it is incredulous. You are probaly right. It was likely more than two gallons.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,090
    You'd be surprised -- but I expect it was more like 5 gallons! But it is surprising how slowly gas will evaporate, once it gets down to the saturated zone in soils.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,407
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,561
    So this calls for a story; a few years ago when I was Fire Chief we got a call for a tractor trailer in the ditch.
    He had a load of "canners & cutters" cows on the way to the slaughter house.
    The ditch was wet and muddy, he was stuck and out of fuel.
    He said he took the ditch to avoid a head on collision....we later think he might have fallen asleep...but who are we to judge.
    He was a struggling owner operator burning the candle at both ends. And he did very well to stay upright as he went into the ditch.
    As he went into the ditch/mud his 1" cross over pipe between the two 50 gallon tanks was broken. I asked how much fuel was spilled, he said less than 10 gallons as he was going to fuel up 30 miles down the road. That was the statement I wanted to hear, not wanting to consider an oil clean up in a muddy ditch...but who am I to question. Bear in mind that these trucks might get 5 MPG.
    So I called a rancher and he brought out 3 cowboys with actual horses, then unloaded the cows and put them in someone's holding pen....never asked the owner, just did it....he would understand.
    Heavy duty tow truck from the 1960's came out and winched him out of the ditch to dry ground.
    I re-tapped his tank spuds and put in 1" plugs, went to the fire hall and got him 10 gallons of diesel fuel.
    The cowboys loaded up the cows, back on their way to the hamburger factory.
    Trucker said he didn't have any money or check book with him, I said OK but he could send something to the fire dept. later.
    So the cowboys, myself, some fire dept personal spent most of the day with this project. No one got paid for anything.
    Maybe the tow truck driver did.
    Just another volunteer public service done by everyone.

    But 3 months later we got a check from him for the fuel.
    So it was not a money loser day.
    We were happy that he lost less than 10 gallons, the grass still grows green in that ditch. ;)
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 5,594
    Thanks for the story, Thank you for your service. I have a good friend who was a one-man Fuel Oil Dealer and the Fire Chief for the volunteer company in the adjoining town. He was also the county Has-Mat fire company for mutual aid. He was called to an overturned tank truck that was not empty. There was a small tear in the tank that was leaking product on the ground.

    Quick thinking... he had the pumper put a steady stream of water thru the fuel outlet connection of the tank compartment that was leaking fuel (that outlet was pointing straight up). Since the water was heavier than the fuel in the tank, it only took a few seconds to have fuel stop leaking and for water to start leaking out the tear in the tank.

    When the State EPA official(s) arrived on the scene a few hours later (we are at the southern tip of the State) they asked who did this? My friend the Fire Chief was in command of the event, He said that he ordered the procedure. The State officials said that was quick thinking and they would not have thought of it.

    My friend turned command over to the State and fire officials and was glad that his firefighters did not have to deal with the cleanup. The Intersection was closed for 2 weeks (only a 1/4 mile from my house) and the EPA was on site for several months after that, Estimated only 50 gallons were lost but it was near wetlands and you know that once the state gets involved, everything needs to be checked and rechecked and rechecked again.

    Combination of a fuel truck driver, Fire School Has-Mat training, and Fire Chief on the scene saved a lot of fish that day.

    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,561
    I was coming home from the country in the dark one night, when I got to the main highway I could see a lot of emergency vehicles with lights flashing to the west. I was headed east so did not go by.
    Later found out a fertilizer truck had over turned into the ditch.
    It was carrying some form of concentrated solid fertilizer.
    The fire dept and county equipment was on site. They scooped up the fertilizer and someone got free application onto their field. If spread out thin enough then it is not considered a spill, rather actually an application.....after hours. No need to call in the state EPA. Good decision by fire chief and locals used to dealing in the fertilizer business.

    The cause was a phone/cable truck that lost a ladder into the oncoming truck's lane. Truck driver swerved to miss it and took the ditch. It would have been cheaper choice to run over the ladder, but this is what you do driving, instinct to miss something. No one injured thankfully.

    After this I went out doubled up my bungee tie downs on my truck ladders.