Source of ammonia odor in a home (indoor air quality)
We have built a home which is well air sealed and have registered for LEED status, which will be finalized later, when the alternative energy projects and landscaping are complete.
We have built a root cellar off of our basement. It is outside our thermal envelope and has a dirt floor covered with pea gravel and topped with concrete patio pavers from our local home improvement store. It currently is not ventilated, but will be as soon as our excavator and builder put in the 4″ PVC fresh air intake/exhaust pipes. The walls are of ICF overlaid with moisture resistant drywall and covered with commercial grade textured panels such as found on bathroom walls.
Once the exterior door between the basement and the cellar was put in place and closed, the root cellar began to accumulate the odor of ammonia. We did have the door in place before the pavers were laid and no odor was previously detected, therefore I assume it is not coming from the soil or gravel but the pavers themselves. I know that some concrete mixes can be contaminated with ammonium compounds and I assume this is the source of my outgassing. Is there a way to treat the floor to eliminate the outgassing? I don’t want to harm the floor or use a toxic compound. I have considered dilute hydrochloric acid or acetic acid (white vinegar). Has anyone had this type of experience? Any ideas? Do I need to change out the flooring? There is no odor anywhere else in the home.
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