29 answers

Strong Odor and Can't Figure It Out!!!

Okay Mommies I don't know where to start, but I need some ideas or suggestions. We have lived in our house for over a year and it was built in '02. No problems until a few months ago when the weather started to heat up. My sons room is in the corner of the house, next to the bathroom, and on the warmer days it reaks. I mean the best description is almost like a gas smell. We have cleaned the carpets, removed everything from the room, and taken the fan down that we installed. We have also had a plumber come out and a critter control person whom both did not find anything. Oh also did I mention that we do not have gas in our house of any kind. The critter guy said that if it were a rodent that it would have decomposed in 7-10 days, well we are going on 4 months now. There are no signs on the carpet or walls that would indicate anything, but I am curious to see if anyone else is going through this or has before. We have heard of the Chinese dry wall that puts off an odor, but why would it only be in one room in our house. Our last resort is to rip out all of the dry wall and see what is in the wall. But any other suggestions or possibilities would be great. Thanks Ladies!

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OK, I probably have the strangest possibility for you :o). We have a room that has smelled for years - usually worse in warm or wet weather. Like you, we had a plumber and pest guy come out and found nothing. We removed the carpet, painted the concrete floor, got new pad and carpet, etc. Nothing seemed to work. Then, we were removing all the shrubs from the beds in front of that room and found a large snake. Come to find out, snakes have a VERY smelly gooey defense mechanism! After the shrubs were gone (along with the large snake) we hardly ever have that smell any more. I live on 3 acres and know there are still some snakes, so I have smelled something similar but nothing like it used to be when he lived under the window to that room.

Good Luck!
A.

You can call my office COrnerstone Chem-Dry and ask to speak to Randy -- tell them E. told you to only speak to him and he may be able to help you! ###-###-####

E. Herman
Cornerstone Chem-Dry
www.co2cleaners.com
____@____.com
###-###-####

More Answers

One thought. I don't want to scare you but we had something like this but it was in Colorado. No one could find this smell and I was sure it smelled like gas. The gas company came out twice. A handyman with a sniffer. A neighbor who worked for the fire department and his sniffer. Nobody could find anything. Finally we called a company called Stink Inc. We kept the house shut tight until he got there. Sure enough we had a tiny gas leak. It was coming from a fireplace heatilator. Now, I'm not sure this is your problem because you say it is only during warm weather......unless you keep a window open during the cooler months. Is the house worse after it has been closed up? Is there a gas line anywhere near the odor?

2nd thought: does the smell come after a rain? Or after the sprinklers have been run? If yes, look for rotted wood outside in the area of the odor.

3rd thought: dead mouse in the wall. LOL! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Is you air and heating unit up above the area where you smell, somtimes there can be condensation that builds up causes mold.
We were having reoccurring mold in a bathroom and after having to reove all the dry wall we had found an old drip pan were an old unit used to sit and created the mold that took us years to figure out.

I hope someone has a great answer for you other than having to rip out your dry wall. However, if you indeed do have to pull out the dry wall I recently contracted with a great guy. He pulled out the full wall panneling in our living room and replaced with drywall. He has done several jobs for us and he is always the lowest bid.
I hope you dont need him but just in case Len Vinsko ###-###-####.
Good luck!

I know exactly what you are going through!!!! We have a new home as well, built in 06. When it began to warm up the spring of 07 we had a horrible smell coming from our master bedroom. I was pregnant and was unable to sleep in there...it was awful!!! After much of the same exploration you have done, we found that when they built our house a nail went through the sewer vent pipe. It would leak out the sewer gas and smell horrible. I would suggest you have a plumber out to see if he can scope it and see if there are any punctures in the pipe. It took a plumber 3 tries to find ours, but once they did and replaced the pipe the smell is gone! Good luck.

Very interesting.

They put up these houses so fast you never know what you might find. Could be mildew in the insulation or wood. It's really easy to remove and replace drywall. If you have tried everything, that would be my best bet.

Also mold will cause neurological damage in children. best check it out. Possibly some water damage sealed in when house was built? I am curious as to the findings.

Mostly support, C.

whoa I read that fox news story and that sounds like what you have.

But I also wanted to mention that when I toured the stockyards, they told us of a funny story about a man who built his home of bricks from the stockyards, thinking it would be really prestigious. Turns out, when it rained, all the bricks emitted a cow manure smell from being at the stockyards! So, I guess it could be the location of the room and the amount of moisture it receives and the building materials used in that part of the house. Sounds like it's a combination of all 3. But, truthfully, that chinese drywall thing sounds the closest, if it truly is a gas smell. I'd try to contact the original contractor to find out where he bought his drywall and maybe any other homes that were built at the same time as yours by the same builder and talk to homeowners.

Pull back the carpets and see if the smell gets stronger. It could be in the cushioning/pad under the carpets, then all you you have to do is get a replacement pad for the carpet in your son's room.

Very similar thing happened to us at our old house that was newly built. It turns out it was the drain under our washer. The water was not staying in the part of the pipe where it should stay so that gases don't come up. I think they call it a "g" pipe and some water should sit in the lower part until flushed out again. Check it out.

Hi C.,
I'm not sure if you've been told about this already, but if not, here it goes... check this out on Foxnews. Could be your culprit!

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,514997,00.html

Hi C.,
We've had a similar experience and still have not found the source. It originated upstairs and smelt like a dead animal. That smell is now gone but now every once in a while our master smells funny, which is down stairs on the same side of the house. We haven't heard about the a Chinese Drywall but I would like to know what you find out. We have also been through two pest control companies, had our AC guys up there crawling everything. We thought maybe something died in the vents. One othere little detail is when the smell was the worst we killed over 30, yes 30 huge fat flys in that room. Distugusting! Have you had the flies as well?

If it is a gas like smell it could be sewer gas. Like a previous post said if you do not use the bathroom that much you do need to run water down the sinks and flush the toilet every so often. We had a similar problem I was told to run water down the sinks and bathtub and pour bleach down the drains but still had the problem. finally we pulled the toilet and the seal was not properly done and they had installed it wrong and it was not properly set on the pipe. this could not be detected until the toilet was pulled up.Had the problem fixed and no more smells. and yes the smell was worse when it was warm outside. Good luck.

Dear C., Check out this web site
www.yourbestair.com/garrett
we have had a dead mouse in the wall and the odor was gone over night. Good luck
J. G

If you have any pottery barn rugs in that room, take them out. Our house started to smell funny and it turned out to be the rugs. Found big forums online about them that they start to smell after a year or two. Speculation is the glue that is breaking down in the backing.

Good luck hunting it down.

C.,

I had a client years ago in my pet-sitting business that had a skunk die in her attic. She literally went through 2 years of pulling out dry wall and having her furniture cleaned, carpet removed, etc. They finally found the skunk, only the pelt was left, and it was STILL smelling strong!! What you have is probably not a skunk, but could be some other animal that has died in the wall.

Also, are you absolutely certain that you don't have ANY gas lines that run under your yard? Perhaps a hot water heater or pole-style yard light? The only other possibility I can think of is that an animal has died outside near your son's bedroom wall. Sorry you are having to deal with this--I know it can be very frustrating!

E.

It's probably not the Chinese drywall; most of that came into the country after Hurricane Katrina, which was after your house was built.

We had dead rodents in the wall; smelled like rotted garbage. Definitely went on for more than 10 days. Husband found the spot they entered in the garage and tore up the drywall to retrieve them. It can take months for the smell to dissapate if you don't find the rodents.

If it smells like sewer gas, look at the vent pipes on your roof. We have had problems with that from time to time in our downstair bathroom, even though it is used regularly. I think it happens when the vent pipes dry out, mostly in hot, dry weather. My husband took a hose up to the roof and ran water down those pipes and it cleared up the smell.

Don't want to scare you...but could be mold. I would get this checked by a professional, because this could really affect you and your family's health. Take care ~

get a second opinion from a plumber. rip up the carpet. could be that the previous owners had a pet that utilized the area for his bathroom. good luck.

It could be a million different things and this is one of them. My dad is a plumber, so I grew up hearing about vents and cleanouts, etc. The plumbing in the bathroom has to be vented up to the roof, but sometimes it isn't done correctly and sewer gas is released into areas of the home. You could probably crawl into your attic and see if the smell is coming from any of the pipes up there. Also, if you end up ripping out the wall, you might find that one of the pipes just ends in the wall and the gas is coming out of there. I do hope you find what it is!

If you figure it out, i want to know. i have had the same issue.

OK, I probably have the strangest possibility for you :o). We have a room that has smelled for years - usually worse in warm or wet weather. Like you, we had a plumber and pest guy come out and found nothing. We removed the carpet, painted the concrete floor, got new pad and carpet, etc. Nothing seemed to work. Then, we were removing all the shrubs from the beds in front of that room and found a large snake. Come to find out, snakes have a VERY smelly gooey defense mechanism! After the shrubs were gone (along with the large snake) we hardly ever have that smell any more. I live on 3 acres and know there are still some snakes, so I have smelled something similar but nothing like it used to be when he lived under the window to that room.

Good Luck!
A.

Sounds like sewer gas. We have the same problem when the weather warms up. Have your plumber check the seal around the base of your toilet.

I don't think that a dead critter would decompose completely in 10 days and have the smell go away that fast. We had a bad smell like something had died in a closet at a previous house that we could never locate or get rid of after 10 years. It was not really strong or a problem except in one small hall closet, so we did not do anything drastic. Natural gas has no odor. They add Mercaptan (a rotten egg smell) to it for safety reasons. Even though you have no gas at your house, I would call your local gas company and ask them about the smell, just to be sure. Possibly there is a line under your house or something. It does seem that the most likely source of the smell is something that died in the wall. Are you near any wooded areas? Perhaps a larger critter, like a squirrel or possum. I would think that it could take quite a long time for the decomposition smell to go away.

Have a roofer come out and check the vent pipes. All plumbing has vent pipes that go to the roof to release the odors. If one is clogged by a birds nest or bent or broken it could be forcing the odors back in the house. It's worth checking before you rip out all the dry wall!

Do you use the bathroom next to his room at all? We had that happen in the upstairs of our house the past two summers. we finally figured out what it was. stagnant water. if you don't use the bathroom a lot, try runing the faucets each day and flushing the toilets a few times a day. to keep the water moving. we did that, and it hasn't stunk up there since then. hope that helps.

Is the house on blocks or slab? If slab check in crawl space. Also call gas company and see if there has ever been gas service at this house. May have had gas in the past and converted it. Look around the outside of the house on warm day and see if you find large number of flies in any one spot. Flies are attracted to the chemical they put in gas so you can smell it. I recently had to replace the carpet in house we bought because the previous owners had dogs and they used the kids room to board them in when they were gone and with all the rain and snow the moisture was causing the urine to reactivate. Because of the age of the house the sealant on the concrete had weakened and the smell had got into the concrete. If you have wood under the carpet then it could have urine in the wood that has reactivated. Cheapest way out there to find out is buy one of those kits for pet urine that comes with the light and check for glow. If you have a dog they may smell from previous and be marking and you don't know, they are sneaky about it. If it glows pull the carpet back and check floor for glow and put down a sealer on concrete, if wood clean with vinegar and water first then seal. when you are done lay carpet down and steam clean but lift it back up and put a bucket under it and a fan to dry from bottom out then put down baking soda very lightly before you put carpet down wait a day and clean up baking soda it will absorb extra ordor if there. if the walls have any glow spray them with pine sol and water mix also if you have a male dog check furniture for glow they will mark walls and furniture use the pine sol to clean all of these good. Good Luck.

I too think it has something to do with the bathroom. My shower drain sometimes smells if I don't pour bleach down it every so often. I would looking to checking the bathroom out more thoroughly.

-L.

I think its possible that it could be a dead critter. I had one in my house and it took 3-4 months to get rid of the smell. It was in a spot where we could not get to it to remove it. It was awful.

You can call my office COrnerstone Chem-Dry and ask to speak to Randy -- tell them E. told you to only speak to him and he may be able to help you! ###-###-####

E. Herman
Cornerstone Chem-Dry
www.co2cleaners.com
____@____.com
###-###-####

Do you have a septic system? Sometimes higher air pressure when it is windy out can force sewage gas smells back into the house. Drains should have what is called a P trap to keep this gas from entering the home. This trap is a simple water barrier formed in a crook in the pipe visible under each sink. If it dries out, gas can get past. Sometimes even tiny sewer flies that live in the septic tank and sewage lines can get into the house. Shower stalls are often the problem because the P trap in the shower drain isn't as good especially if that shower isn't used often and dries out. With no water in the trap, gas flows by easily. Each toilet needs to have a vent pipe that goes up and through the roof to let out sewage gas. If this pipe gets closed off by insects or birds, that could cause problems. If this vent pipe is closed, the gas can come out of a sink drain or shower drain. Even the drain system for a bath tub can cause trouble. The place where you open and close the tub drain is connected to the drain line so if the tub faucet is left on by accident, the water will flow down through that fixture and drain away so the tub won't overflow. Gas could possible come out there. You will need to sniff around to find the source. Then, get it fixed. Good luck.

One last thought. I know a plumber that told me he had a similar problem in a client's house. As it tutned out, the builder that built the house never finished a vent pipe for a toilet. It came up through the wall and ended in the attic and just vented right into the attic space. The builder should have cut through the roof and continued the pipe through to the outside. My friend did that and the problem was solved.

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