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Old 02-12-2009, 11:45 PM   #1
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sick house smell??


My house has developed a weird odor in last month or so. Dont think anything died.(have NO pets) Doesnt smell mousey or anything. i caulked and blocked up some foundation holes late fall,,,what does a dead snake smell like??

I caught couple mice last summer,,,none seen since

It actually smells more like a rotten wet woody smell. And seems ALOT worse in the basement. hadnt been down there in a month or more,,,walked down a day ago,,and whoa, it stunk like crazy down there. It cant be too wet. the furnace nearly ran non-stop last month or so,,,this is Nebraska and got to 20 below a few times. humidity is like 30-35 per cent,,,I NEED a humidifier.

Does a too dry of house smell??

I do have a floor drain in basement but little water runs out drain pipe on hi efficency furnace so would think that would keep trap full,,,plus it didnt smell like sewer gas. Maybe I will try dumping a little chlorox in there.

ANY other ideas?? -d-

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Old 02-13-2009, 12:27 AM   #2
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sick house smell??


Dead animal odors or dog/cat pee smells that are normally not noticeable can leech out of the wood subfloor and the carpet when the humidity level rises. Is that a possibility with your house?

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Old 02-13-2009, 12:33 AM   #3
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sick house smell??


I remember decades ago that my mother put coffee cans of water near the heat registers - it was a free humidifier, not as nice as spinning sponge in a water tank but did the trick.

For nine months of the year the rat snakes that live under my house take care of any mouse problems, the remaining three months the mice run amok - so I put poison bait out and they are suppose to go away and die, however a few do so in the wall and it does stink. I can not describe the smell but it is foul and would not equate it to a rat if I didn't know any better.
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:46 AM   #4
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sick house smell??


Could there be a spot where someone spilled a glass of milk in the carpet?

Last edited by gma2rjc; 02-13-2009 at 12:49 AM.
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:52 AM   #5
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sick house smell??


No it is still dry as a bone. Nobody lived here for 8-10 years previous,,so no pets,,,ALL carpets were removed. AND it doesnt smell like cat or dog pee. I have an ice cream bucket in front of a register most of the time,but the water never disappears, dont drink coffee and no metal cans any more. The heat coming out isnt all that hot anyway. At a house I lived 2 houses ago,had a wood stove and it drank 10 gallons a day out of an old roaster pan. it sorta smelled like THAT,,,can a hi efficency NEW furnace leak inside where the condense runs down on a hot surface?? AND thats where most of the smell is,,in the basement.
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Old 02-13-2009, 02:29 AM   #6
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sick house smell??


An ice cream bucket sounds insulated? it should still evaporate though at a lower rate. I keep a 3 gallon pot on my wood stove and at 150F it will usually evaporate about 1/2 gallon per day of use. I bought this house 5 years ago and left it vacant all closed up for 4 of them and beside a musty smell nothing was amiss.

Why do you have condensate running on a hot surface from your furnace? if it is from your draft inducer fan that should flow without exception to a drain. Why is the heat from your furnace luke warm from the vents? blower fan too fast, even if you have an inverter controlled fan it should only be cool at the beginning and end of the cycles ... call the HVAC dude that put it in.

Just re-read your post, first if you are on a septic system lay off the bleach or you'll kill the anaerobic poop eating bugs, second your condensing furnace should have a fair trickle while running, if it is a sealed unit using cold outside air for combustion it could be less, and third 35% relative humidity is not that low especially in a cool place.

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Old 02-16-2009, 02:44 AM   #7
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sick house smell??


A floor drain wouldn't necessarily be connected to a septic tank, but even if it was, a small amount of bleach won't hurt too much.
Many years ago on a jobsite I was at this same question came up. The plumber asked the chap all sorts of questions, and finally discovered that nothing was ever put down the floor drain.
Pour some diluted bleach down there he said, and let me know.
Next day, it seems the smell disappeared and didn't return. Might be worth a try.
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Old 02-16-2009, 08:55 AM   #8
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sick house smell??


We have a 3" drain pipe in our basement floor that drains into the sump pump pit where the washing machine drains. Every once in a while we get an odor from that and you're right cocobolo, pouring bleach in it takes the smell away.

A couple years ago I went downstairs and I guess my sense of smell was out-of-whack because I thought that smell was natural gas. I called the gas company, woke everyone up and we all went outside and waited for them to get here. The police, fire department and gas company showed up (). The gas guy wasn't even 3' into the house and he said, "That's not gas". He checked the furnace and water heater anyway. I'm sure they must have thought I was a complete moron, but they were very nice about it. The kids liked it, the firemen let them climb up in the fire truck.
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:50 AM   #9
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Hi,
I am currently in the process of buying an 83 yr old home. We decided to not have a home inspection b/c we were in a bidding war. The owner disclosed that she has to pour water down her basement drains once a week and then she has no smaells in her home. She had all the pluming done in 2002. She said it's never beena problem, just a nuisance. She is a really old lady moving to a small apartment. Should this be something to be concerned with? I know nothing about houses really. Also, we are goig back through the home this wknd. Are there things i particular that I could look for? The home is conditional upon financing and I really am nervous and could use an answer asap? Could you please help me? Thanks so much!
Nervous home buyer!
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:49 PM   #10
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sick house smell??


You said "drains" is there more than one? even so its possible that the traps have small leaks in them and is not holding the water seal, which is more than likely why you get the sewer gas smell. Fixing it could go from easy to a pain depending on exactly what is there, the plumbing guys would now better.
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:56 PM   #11
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sick house smell??


I wasn't looking for a drain when I went in the house but I did see one right at the bottom of the stairs. It was the real estate agent that told me that the lady said "drains." When we go back through the house I will look to see if there are more like they said. But I guess the best bet is to contact a plumber?
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:44 PM   #12
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sick house smell??


See if you can ask the lady who is selling if she has a record of the plumbing company who did the job. They might be able to tell you more. But a frequent smell suggests that something is not quite right.
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Old 02-25-2009, 06:22 AM   #13
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sick house smell??


My concern here is the rotten woody smell you mention. While sealing my joist bays and rim joist I actually found about 20" of rot in the rim joist adjacent to my slab porch behind a rolled batt of insulation and in another location a 37 "gap in sole plate below the rim joist under a cantalevered closet hanging into my garage.This was hidden behind a furnace duct.

Both had separate and distinct odours. I could not detect the wood smell but it was directly below the main entrance and my wife noticed it right away when she walked in the house.

If you have any kind of must or mildew odour I would get a dehumidifier going and then start looking. This stuff doesn't stay dormant it grows and that can not be good.

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