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Old 07-31-2016, 08:45 PM   #1
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Bleach Smell In House - Help!


Hello

My wife and I recently purchased a home.......originally built in 1950's and remodeled in early 1990's. Half of the home is on crawl space and newer areas on slab. Two HVAC units service the house. My understanding is the older part of the house has metal ducts and the newer portion has flexible duct work.

The day we closed on the house we noticed a fairly strong chemical smell (bleach/chlorine like) in the house but chalked it up to the house being closed up.

its been 60 days since we closed and while i believe the smell is marginally better it is still lingering. so much so that you can smell it in your clothes after spending some time in the house.

We've had multiple professionals (including certified Indoor Air expert) look at the house and all are stumped. You can actually smell the bleach like smell at the front door before you enter the house and it's particularly strong in the foyer as you enter through the front door.

Here is what we know at this point......

1) One of the air handlers has a freon leak........we had more freon inserted and seems to be operating ok this point.

2) We've spoken to the prior owner and she claims she never used bleach to clean out the drain lines on the HVAC units (who know if she is being truthful). I know one of the drain lines is working ok.....attempting to find the other one to make sure that one is draining ok as well.

3) We had all the air ducts cleaned by a professional service

4) The smell does not appear to be emanating from the crawl space (we've had it inspected)

5) I've read articles about sewer gas smell but this is not a rotten egg smell ---- it smells very much like chlorine or bleach

6) We've cleaned the house with a light vinegar & water solution and aired it out with industrial fans........the smell continues.

Any thoughts on if the HVAC units could be causing this? It's strongest in the foyer area but seems to be prevalent throughout the house. We're really frustrated and want to figure this out before moving into the home in the next 30 days.

Grateful for any thoughts, ideas or next steps......
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Old 08-01-2016, 07:43 PM   #2
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Re: Bleach Smell In House - Help!


have you tried turning the HVAC off for a day to see if the problem persists?
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Old 08-01-2016, 08:44 PM   #3
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Re: Bleach Smell In House - Help!


Turn off the HVAC, close all the doors, and tape plastic between all the rooms that don't have doors. Maybe just start by sealing off the foyer. See if you can narrow it down to a room. Then maybe seal off a wall with plastic and see if that does anything. Divide and conquer.

Is there a pool or a hot tub? They use some bleachy smelling chemicals.
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Old 08-04-2016, 05:24 AM   #4
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Re: Bleach Smell In House - Help!


I agree with Clutch i would try turning the HVAC off for a day and see the results.
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Old 08-04-2016, 05:38 AM   #5
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Re: Bleach Smell In House - Help!


Forgot to say hope all goes well and i hope the problem is fixed before you and your wife move in.
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Old 08-04-2016, 06:20 AM   #6
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Re: Bleach Smell In House - Help!


Did the odor exist prior to having the duct work "professionally cleaned?"
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Old 08-04-2016, 07:01 PM   #7
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Re: Bleach Smell In House - Help!


If it's coming from the HVAC, it is possible that someone found mold or swampy water in the system that collects water that drips off the AC evaporator, and used bleach to clean it. The water drips into a tray inside the air handler, and eventually runs into either a gravity drain or a small pump. Stick your nose in there and take a reading.
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