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Old 07-18-2011, 08:17 AM   #1
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Odd odor from insulation


Hello everyone. My name is George. First post on your forum.

My wife's sense of smell isn't so good but I do smell something odd & think it has something to do with the insulation.

Five years ago my wife & I built a new home. We had our 6" walls insulated with foam (100%) & the ceilings with 20" of blown-in cellulose insulation. I notice this odor mostly after being out of the house for a few days; like after returning from vacation. The odor is difficult to describe. Kind of a dry chemical odor. I seem to notice it more in the summer when the temperatures are hotter. We do have central air but I don't believe it has anything to do with that.

I believe the odor has something to do with insulation. How can this be checked?
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:50 AM   #2
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Odd odor from insulation


I don't know much about the smell if any coming off foam after so many years but some cellulose companies use ammonium sulfate as a fire retardant which will give off an ammonia like smell similar to Windex when it gets wet.
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Old 07-18-2011, 09:25 AM   #3
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Odd odor from insulation


I wouldn't describe the odor as Windex-like. Like I said, the odor is difficult to describe. But, I do believe it's associated with my attic insulation or possible ventilation. We used a product called Cobra Ridge Vent, purchased from The Home Depot.
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:16 AM   #4
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Odd odor from insulation


GARoss,

Did you ever figure this out and fix the smell. I have a similar problem. There is a smell coming from our vents that only arrives during the summer. It is not musty or mold. I was walking down the insulation isle at Home Depot and caught a whiff of the same smell. So I figured it is the insulation, but why am I smelling it through the vents. My house was built in 2007, and the smell comes and goes. This summer it has been stronger than ever.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:09 PM   #5
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Odd odor from insulation


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Originally Posted by yldutch View Post
GARoss,

Did you ever figure this out and fix the smell. I have a similar problem. There is a smell coming from our vents that only arrives during the summer. It is not musty or mold. I was walking down the insulation isle at Home Depot and caught a whiff of the same smell. So I figured it is the insulation, but why am I smelling it through the vents. My house was built in 2007, and the smell comes and goes. This summer it has been stronger than ever.
I have the same smell in my house shortly after installing insulation in my attic. I think it comes down through inside the walls and gets into the air return channels and then is blown out when the furnace fan is on. But I'm really not sure. The smell doesn't affect my wife much, but it really does me. Watery eyes, unpleasant smell, headaches (those have stopped). I'm in the process of taking it out and sealing every little crack or hole in the attic. The insulation is fiberglass batt. I am planning to replace it with blown in fiberglass which, unlike the batts, does not use a chemical binder.
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Old 03-10-2014, 03:16 PM   #6
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Odd odor from insulation


I to had insulation blown in and I have a chemical smell. I had the installer back along with an agent from the manufacter to no avail. One has to be in the rooms that have the insulation as I spend much of the day there..
The company claim it cannot smell anything and suggested it was in my mind.
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Old 03-10-2014, 05:31 PM   #7
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Odd odor from insulation


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Originally Posted by hilipp View Post
I to had insulation blown in and I have a chemical smell. I had the installer back along with an agent from the manufacter to no avail. One has to be in the rooms that have the insulation as I spend much of the day there..
The company claim it cannot smell anything and suggested it was in my mind.


It's not in your mind. Some people are more sensitive to it than others. My wife can't smell it most of the time. You have to be in the house for a while to smell it so unless someone is living in the house with they probably aren't going to smell it. It may tend to make your eyes water also. Even the blow in stuff smells, which according to their Material Safety Data Sheets only has a very small amount of additive. The insulation manufactures know about it. The manufacturer gave me my money back for the batts I used. After taking the batts out I reinsulated with blow-in thinking that it had so little additive it wouldn't be bad. Wrong. When I visit my brother in his new house I can smell it in his house, nobody else can. When I go other places I don't smell it, so it's not me, it's the insulation. The intensity seems to be associated with the temperature.

I've been able to live with the blow in stuff without having to have my windows open in the winter, but it is still unpleasant in a couple rooms. I've given that a year now but doesn't really seem to be improving except when it is well below freezing. I'm considering removing that this spring and maybe go with cellulose. It's been a nightmare. I don't want to tell you what to do, but if the smell doesn't dissipate, make them take it out.

Just curious, is yours the pink stuff?
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Old 03-11-2014, 12:10 AM   #8
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Odd odor from insulation


It is white / pinkish. The manufacturers rep stated it had Borax as a fre suppressor.
Phil
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