Oil on Basement Floor

Discussion in 'General Home Improvement Discussion' started by apollolor, Dec 14, 2010.

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  1. Dec 14, 2010 #1

    apollolor

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    About a week ago when it was raining hard outside I went down in my basement and saw what I thought was a puddle of water at the bottom left of my stairs. I put the dehumidifier back on to try to dry some of it up. After a few days I went back downstairs to find that it was mostly still there and kind of dark in color. So I bent down and stuck my finger in it and it was oil. I do not have oil heat, I have gas heat. I am told that my house was built in 1868. I have no clue as to why there would be oil on the basement floor. I don't know if this might have anything to do with it at all, but they are drilling for oil on the property across the road from me and have been for a few months now. Could this be connected? Does anyone out there have any idea what is going on in my basement?
     
  2. Dec 15, 2010 #2

    JoeD

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    What type of oil? Does it smell? Is it heavy or thin? Could the house have been oil hated at one time? Maybe there is a buried oil tank that is leaking?
     
  3. Dec 15, 2010 #3

    apollolor

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    The oil was clear to light brown and did not smell at all. As to whether it was heavy or thin I would say more on the thin side. I don't know much about the house as far as if it could have been oil heated at one time.
     
  4. Dec 16, 2010 #4

    JoeD

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    All I can say is fuel oil would likely smell. Sounds like motor oil or maybe cooking oil. Could someone have spilled something? If it is really leaking in from outside you probably should contact some agency to investigate. I have no idea who.
     
  5. Dec 16, 2010 #5

    apollolor

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    As I sit here and type they are drilling for oil on the property across the road. Do you think this could have anything at all to do with the oil in my basement? Just a thought. Nothing was spilled and nothing was on or around the area where the oil is. Thanks for your posts.
     
  6. Dec 16, 2010 #6

    oldognewtrick

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    Crude oil is not a light color, it doesn't get to look like motor oil till it goes through the refining process. Do you keep your garbage cans in the basement or garage? Could someone have spilled some cooking oil and forgot to clean it up on the way to the trash can? Is someone playing a joke on you?
     
  7. Jan 1, 2011 #7

    apollolor

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    The oil is still a total mystery to me. Only 2 people live here and no one is playing a joke. The garbage cans are kept in the garage and don't go anywhere near the basement. Nothing was spilled.
     
  8. Jan 4, 2011 #8

    nealtw

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    is the floor solid concrete? has is got cracks or can you see where oil has travel to a low spot. I'm kinda thinking old oil tank sprang a leak. water cold run in and float the oil out.
    Did the people drilling have a spill ? How about the cooking oil spilled upstairs and dripping down. ???
     
  9. Jan 4, 2011 #9

    handyguys

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    weird - look up from where the oil is. Could something have dripped down from above? Florescent lights can leak a tar like substance from their ballast but that's much thicker than you describe. Washing machines can leak oil too. Is your clothes washer nearby? perhaps some pictures showing us the context of where the leak is.

    You could also walk across the street and ask to speak to the foreman or person in charge, describe your situation and ask him to take a quick look. Its not likely its from their drilling but i have heard of weirder things, I'm sure he would be willing to take peek just to do a CYA. He may even be required by his company to document the concern.
     
  10. Jan 4, 2011 #10

    handyguys

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    you're in Pittsburg, are they drilling for oil or for natural gas? They may be actually drilling for natural gas and using a technique called fracking. With fracking they pump a sorta hydrolic fluid into the ground to force up the gas (from the Marcellus Shale). That could have the consistency you describe but shouldn't come up in your basement, that stuff should be down thousands of feet, below the water table, below the oil.

    yeah, I would go talk to the person in charge across the street.
     
  11. Jan 6, 2011 #11

    SirGSS

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    Call me crazy, but taking it back a step--In the time you've been in the home, how often has it rained as hard as it did when this happened? Also, as has been asked, is the floor cracked? If it is, are there any other cracked locations? Check those for any kind of pooling like this.

    If it isn't cracked at all, check how close it is to a window. Could the fluid have dripped in through some kind of leak, there? If that's out of the question, then it has to be coming from inside the home. It doesn't make any sense for it to be coming from elsewhere if all those other factors line up in a negative.
     
  12. Jan 6, 2011 #12

    nealtw

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    If all else failed get annillized by a lab. If it turns out to be fracking fluid. Some of that stuff is top secret. The lab report might be worth a little to some one.
     
  13. Jan 18, 2011 #13

    Rjq909

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    I live just outside of Pittsburgh, east suburb and have encountered this very same issue tonight.

    We found oil in the basement and are not able to determine a source. It was a small area of black oil in a small circle about 1.5 feet in diameter.

    To the original poster here, were you ever able to determine a source, or cause?

    Everyone else, any ideas?

    This area of the basement does not have any garbage cans. It does have a top-loading washer, but no leaks identified.

    Gas furnace and water heater are in the area, but no leaks found and no trail of oil, or water from any of the appliances. Seems very very odd.
     
  14. Jan 20, 2011 #14

    lily694

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    this is a good possibility.. :agree:
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011
  15. Jul 26, 2012 #15

    paul1

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    I am having the exact same issue in our basement. I am completely dumbfounded as to where this oil came from.
     
  16. Jul 26, 2012 #16

    nealtw

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    Any chance you or a neighbour having an oil tank leaking into the ground water?
     
  17. Jul 27, 2012 #17

    joc1762

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    I have the same problem...greasey spot reoccurs everytime I clean it up...I thought it was coming from a crack on the front porch...NOPE...not that!
     
  18. Jul 27, 2012 #18

    nealtw

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    If the oil is comming thru the floor. Last I herd oil floats so that would mean water is puing it up. I would find where I could check the perimiter dain around the house and see if oil is there also. Or just dig a hole close to the house to below floor level and see of oil is floating on water there. If the hole is dry putting water in should show if oil has been there, ( film on top of water)
    And Joc: welcome.
     
  19. Jul 27, 2012 #19

    oldognewtrick

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    Interesting point Neal, I wonder if the used motor oil didn't make it's way to the recycle center?
     
  20. Jul 27, 2012 #20

    nealtw

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