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Old 10-19-2008, 09:01 AM   #1
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Bad Smell from unknown source

Last week a really bad smell started in my son's room (no not teenage boy smell). It smells like a dead animal. Last year we had mice in the attic and thought we got rid of all the problems, but when the smell started, we checked the attic and found one in a trap (which looked like it had been there for awhile) and removed, but smell still there. We have central air and checked the ceiling vent also the ceiling fan box and still nothing. my son moved all furniture away from walls, removed the baseboard cover and all electrical outlets, still nothing. his room is in the front corner of the house and the rooms on either side do not smell. WE are stumped. NOTE: we have blown-in type insulation--would it be advantageous to remove that insulation and install roll-type? We also have w/w carpeting and next step is to remove that, but no stains to indicate anything. Any ideas of what to do next or who we should call if we can't do it ourselves. Thanks.


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Old 10-19-2008, 09:29 AM   #2
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The smell of a small mouse should diminsh after about a month. A big rat can last longer.

If you put mouse killer out, they could have gone inside the walls or floor or vents and died there so, unless you pull all your walls and floors out, you'll probably have to wait until they dry up and the odor dissipates.

During home rennovations, I have found all types of bones inside of walls. Bats, mice, rats, bees, wasps, etc. I still haven't figured out how the bat got in the wall since there were no holes that I say. I've found raccoon, snake and squirrel bodies in attics and under crawl spaces. I personally had a squirrel fall down my chimney. I couldn't smell anything at first because the flue was closed but my house started filling with flies for about a week. I then finally started to smell it. It still took me a couple of hours to figure out where the odor was coming from.

The only thing I can think of without pulling out the sheetrock on the walls is to drill holes between every stud and take a good sniff from the hole. When you hit the correct hole, you'll know it. You can then fill the holes and the bigger hole where you removed the body pretty easily. If it's in the floor, you could do the same to the sheetrock from the ceiling below but it will be harder to know where to cut.


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Old 10-19-2008, 10:23 AM   #3
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Afraid it does sound like another dead animal. I have had this happen twice as well. The second time it was much harder to find since I had blown alot of insulation in the attic since the first event. I had to root around in the insulation in the area I thought the smell was coming from till I found it. The insulation acted as a barrier and made it harder to smell in the attic than it was from below where body fluid had seeped into the sheetrock. I would try to look around up there one more time before I started into the walls or floor. Getting up on a chair and using the ol' sniffer did help isolate the area I needed to search and may help in your case as well. If you notice the smell is stronger when on your hands and knees than when on a chair, then it may well be inside the wall. If it is in the wall, it would most likely be near an outlet box if the wires run through the attic since mice can find their way through amazingly small holes and cracks, but I would have thought you would notice it when having removed the outlet covers.
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Old 10-19-2008, 02:57 PM   #4
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I never use anything else but traps to kill rodents. Otherwise, they will go somewhere that is inaccessible to die.

One problem that I had was with a broken sewer pipe, leading to the septic tank.
The pipe ran through the concrete block wall. The pipe was made from transite (concrete) and when there was settling of the septic tank, the pipe broke inside the wall (the fulcrum point) ,
This allowed septic fumes to escape up through the space inside the blocks.
To pin point this was a problem, as there was no visable sign of anything amiss!
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Old 10-19-2008, 03:18 PM   #5
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It could of went under or inside a piece of furniture in the room as well. Moving everything away from the walls is great for looking as you did, but you may have to take the bottom drawers from the dressers and if the bed is a raised platform type something may have got under there. I heard of a rat crawling into a new mattress at a factory between shifts. Just a couple ideas. Do you have a unusually number of flies around? Were there is a carcass there almost always are flies.

As khouse75 stated the smell will probably go away as it dries up and it's not all that uncommon to find dried up aninimals in renovations inside walls, under floors and in attics as nasty as that sounds.

Good luck

PS most rodent killers make the animinal seek out water to hopfully get them out of inaccable areas. It works most of the time but not all the time. Some times animinals can be ill and just looking for a place to die and they can crawl into walls and stuff.

Last edited by MgMopar; 10-19-2008 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 10-19-2008, 04:32 PM   #6
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I went through a similar smell issue 4 months ago. Turns out it was a bird that somehow managed to get into my attic.

The first indication was a bunch of flies in the bedroom that has access to the attic through a closet. After the flies, maybe 3 days, I started to get a whiff of something smelling and thought it was a dead squirrel. I'd seen them on my roof and thought that was my problem

I checked on-line for similar experiences, ended up crawling up and into the attic and began searching around for what smelled. The flies led me to the dead bird. I could hardly stand the smell. Gathered up what was left, mostly bones and feathers. Sprayed with 50/50 Clorox/water all around the area and found and eliminated the small hole in the eve.

Everyone said 14 days or 2 weeks, whichever came first and the smell would go away. Well, itís been almost 4 months and there is still some odor. I've tried everything, cat litter spread out in trays, vinegar poured into a dish, everything over the counter that sprays to remove odors.

Best results with Lysol spray disinfectant. I'm sure the carpet will never get the smell completely out of it but I was planning on putting in hardwood floors anyway.

Anyway, you need to start in the attic. Look under everything before you start tearing into walls. As mentioned, from a ladder use your nose at ceiling level. If itís stronger at floor level, thatís where you need to look.

Last edited by Shamus; 10-19-2008 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 10-19-2008, 07:34 PM   #7
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The last thing I'd consider is getting into the walls. The odds of a dead mouse's smell getting through sheetrock and paint is pretty low. I'd focus my efforts on the HVAC again. As a previous poster mentioned, it would be advisable to get all the furniture out of the room and then start checking.
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:26 AM   #8
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I would thoroughly check all of the furniture. A box spring and/or mattress is a perfect place for a mouse to curl up. Dresser drawers full of clothes make great mouse nests too.


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