Horrible odor in bedroom

jockewingApril 20, 2013

For the past several weeks, I have a horrible stale musty odor in my master bedroom. I have a chihuahua that had many repeated "accidents" on the wood floor -- raising his leg and peeing at the corner of the closet door. He would do this during the night so it was often not noticed until it had dried in the morning. Trouble is, there was no quarter round installed after the floor was installed several years ago. It isn't very noticeable so I never bothered to have the quarter round put down. But of course that allowed the urine to seep down into the side of the edge of the wood floor and down between the baseboard and into the subfloor.

I have poured so much "Nature's Miracle", vinegar, and other cleaning products in the area--the dog has been almost 100% cured of his accidents (making him sleep in his crate was a huge step in the right direction). For the most part I thought I had pretty much eradicated the odor. The wood is actually slightly discolored in the area from the urine and probably more so from all the cleaning products. I even removed the piece of baseboard and painted the subfloor between the wall and the gap where there is no quarter round with Kilz to seal in the smell.

For the past several months the smell has been pretty much gone except on really rainy days. But out of nowhere, the room smells like the dog has peed everywhere. It smells like there are puddles that have never been cleaned. The odor pervades the room with a stale musty smell that is horrible. The thing is the dog has not had an accident in months and I checked everywhere in the room and cannot find any spots where he might have gone. I have cleaned and mopped the entire floor. I have gotten on my hands and knees and smelled everywhere and can't pinpoint where its coming from. When I smell the spot where all the accidents occured, it really doesn't seem like it's coming from there. It seems like the odor just lingers in the center of the room. I even removed the mattress and box spring to see if something had got under the bed.

The logical choice would be to say its the old urine spots, but why would it come back so strong after such a long time with no accidents? Is it possible the smell is coming through the A/C ducts? This is the only room that smells this way.

Please I would greatly appreciate any suggestions! I am thinking about ripping out and replacing the wood floor but I'm not even sure that is the source of the odor!

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Dogs like to use the same area, maybe he was peeing in the heating vent/duct. Pull it up and look in the duct to see if it is stained. You should be able to tell just by getting your nose down there.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 9:04AM
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All of our ducts are in the ceiling in my home. Thanks for the suggestion, but that's not it. What really baffles me is that I'm not quite sure it really is the urine causing the smell. Why would it suddenly reappear with a vengeance now after months of no accidents?

Even where there were fresh accidents the odor was not this pervasive.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 12:15PM
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Smell up by the light fixture in the ceiling.. there have been many threads about this and my daughter had this problem in a brand new house.. it was the insulation on the new light fixture, it just smelled horrible.. like rotten tuna.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 12:35PM
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The other suggestions sound like good possibilities, but since you have ruled them out I wondered if you have a dead mouse, or other small animal (bat, squirrel) decomposing somewhere. An exterminator might be able to help you out.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 4:32AM
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I don't know the reason for it, but this seems to be common - an odor that you thought you eliminated comes back when it is humid.

If it were my house, I would think about consulting with a professional service such as Servpro. But really, it could be that you are looking at taking the room down to the studs and floor joists and reconstructing it.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 9:41AM
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Dbfirewire--- I think I owe you!

On your advice I smelled the light fixture (a ceiling fan with four light bulbs). It really didn't smell like much, but I noticed that during the day when I had the shades open and the light off, I wasn't noticing the smell as much. But then last night something rang a bell. With the light back on, I started to notice the odor. Then I remembered several weeks ago I took off the glass shades to wash. When I took them off, I noticed there were something like rubber bands around the base of the light sockets, I guess to prevent the glass shades from rattling. The rubber had gone brittle and was cracking so I threw it out. When I was done cleaning and went to replace the shades, I had the bright idea to stick some regular office rubber bands in there so there would be no rattle.

I am pretty sure the smell was the rubber bands heating up and off-gassing. I removed the shades again last night and threw out the rubber bands. They smelled nasty, but not that strong and I couldn't tell if it was the exact same smell, but I'm pretty sure it is the culprit. I would have NEVER thought to consider the light as the source of the odor. Just goes to show how valuable this forum can be!

Thinking back, I think the new smell started right about the time i put the rubber bands in the light sockets a few weeks ago, and it would also explain why I could never locate the source of the smell anywhere around the floor or furniture. The odor always seemed to float about the middle of the room.

I guess within a day or two I'll know for sure if my problem is solved!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 7:43AM
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So glad you didn't take my advice. Imagine if you had gutted most of the room and left the light fixture!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 9:31AM
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