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Old 07-23-2007, 07:30 PM   #1
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New Construction Odor


I have posted the following post in the HVAC section, as well as here 'cause I really don't know where the odor is stemming from; if it is my ducting or my insulation. Does insulation have an odor?

Help!
The house is brand new construction and a sour smell, almost like cat urine, was noticed as soon as the insulation and ducting was done, before the HVAC was even used. The ducting is located in the crawl space and is insulated with plastic wrapped insulation. The crawl space is free from moisture and has a vapor barrier. The smell comes through all vents, even when the HVAC unit isn't being used. Also, you can smell the odor emitting from the foundation vents. I have been told it is just the odor of the insulation used or maybe condensation in the ducting creating the smell?

Any input would be greatly appreciated. Even though it isn't unbearable yet, it is enough to drive you crazy!

Thanks in advance.

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Old 07-23-2007, 07:56 PM   #2
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New Construction Odor


Call the builder immediantly and contact the General contractor. Your house should be under the builders warranty. Smells from any source within the house are unacceptable. Tell them to find the source of the smell and remove it permenantly.

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Old 07-24-2007, 03:37 PM   #3
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New Construction Odor


Is it possible that it is cat urine? New houses can be left open during construction allowing critters in. Duct sounds like a spot a cat would be drawn to. They could have left sections laying around on the ground. Cats mark their territory by spraying various objects with urine. If this is a developement, do any of your neighbors have the same problem?
What sort of insulation is covering the ductwork? If you smell it does it have the same odor as the vents? This is an unlikely scenario as the insulation is outside the duct.
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Old 06-24-2008, 04:50 PM   #4
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New Construction Odor


I Have Been In Hvac Construction For 15 Years And My Father Has Been For 37 Years ---- I Can Telll You That New Insulation Has The Smell Of Cat Urine--and I Have Seen Some Unitsand Air Handlers Have The Same Smell ------- I Have Bought A Few Units That A Dead Animal Was In Them When I Got Them . So It Is Possible That A Cat Has Gotten In The Unit In The Warehouse And Peed And Just Soaked It Down .
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Old 06-24-2008, 05:35 PM   #5
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New Construction Odor


I've been around residential construction my whole life and I've never smelled anything that smells like cat pee, except cat pee.

Sad but true, there are many builders that don't penalize their subcontractors for peeing or pooping in the house. Think it doesn't happen? Bet again. You'd think that sump pits should have rolls of TP and air freshener next to them. On a number of occasions I have required builders to remove plywood floor sheathing that had pee or poop on it from a subcontractor and replace it with new. There's no code section that says you can't do it, but I dare a builder to call my bluff on that one. Good builders will fine or fire subcontractors for releiving themselves anywhere but the port-a-john. Seems like every framing crew in the world has a dog that goes everywhere with them. Dog poo and pee is pretty common in new homes as a result.

Animals get in homes under construction on a regular basis. I bet you have cat pee in your HVAC system somewhere, or in the floor sheathing. Peed-on floor sheathing might not stink until the climate in the house changes (turning the AC on or off, altering the humidity). The builder needs to make this right. Nothing in residential construction smells like cat pee, except for cat pee.
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Old 06-24-2008, 07:17 PM   #6
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I say its the insulation, new fiberglass insulation stinks. Stop by a home improvement store and stick your nose in a new insulation bag and see if it smells the same as what you have. The humid air in your crawl space transmit/magnify smells more than dry air.

I also think brand new OSB board stinks, it contains formaldehyde just like fiberglass until the off gas is complete.
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Old 06-24-2008, 08:38 PM   #7
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New Construction Odor


I've been around alot of new fiberglass recently, and none of it smelled like cat piss, except the one where the cat pissed
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Old 06-24-2008, 09:23 PM   #8
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I my self have had brand new fiberglass insulation by Certainteed which is sold in a sealed plastic wrapper, Opened it and found that it did have a smell similar to what you have described. I have had my insulation contractor come and insulate a 2500 sf addition with there brand of insulation and had no problems with smell. it just seams to be that one brand that I have had that happen to. but It will go away after a while.
Cat pee has a very distinct smell like ammonia there is no way you can mistake it. it burns my eyes when I walk into a customers house that does not clean up after there cats.
try opening the return from your AC. and remove the filter stick your head up there and see if you still smell it. It could be the type of insulation that they lined the return with.
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Old 06-24-2008, 10:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Armitage View Post
I've been around alot of new fiberglass recently, and none of it smelled like cat piss, except the one where the cat pissed
I would not say new fiberglass smells "identical" to full blown cat piss, but its definately in the same category. Some types are now formaldehyde free and they dont smell as bad as others. (usually white in color vs pink or yellow)
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Old 06-25-2008, 05:55 PM   #10
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ok when i said hvac construction i mean hvac construction when u open a new roll of H V A C INSULATION it has a smell of cat pee if you dont smell it then it means you have not been around it long enough or you dont know what u r talking about dont be a blow hard and just realize that just maybe someone else besides your self might know what they are talking about... to say you have never smelled it is saying you personally have never smelled not eveyone else.
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Old 06-25-2008, 07:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superman0638 View Post
ok when i said hvac construction i mean hvac construction when u open a new roll of H V A C INSULATION it has a smell of cat pee if you dont smell it then it means you have not been around it long enough or you dont know what u r talking about dont be a blow hard and just realize that just maybe someone else besides your self might know what they are talking about... to say you have never smelled it is saying you personally have never smelled not eveyone else.
errr ... calm down superman - take a kryptonite chill pill or something.

I don't see anybody being a blowhard here - just recounting there experiences on the matter.
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Old 06-25-2008, 09:01 PM   #12
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well here is the deal .



No, there is no, "Here is the deal." You just got on the forum, so act better than that and watch what you say to other posters. Everyone should be respectful of other posters though, not just you.

Ed

Last edited by Ed the Roofer; 06-25-2008 at 09:28 PM. Reason: I didn't like the manner this poster was talking to another.
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Old 06-25-2008, 09:39 PM   #13
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New Construction Odor


Ok...now lets hold down the trash talk in the future. Since this thread has sound advice given, it is now closed.

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