Help! Mysterious home odor

lewis2502April 16, 2010

We have a 1928 house that we moved into 5 years ago. For our first couple of years, there was no odor. We did a lot of renovating, including turning an upstairs bedroom into a master bathroom. For the past 2 years, whenever the weather warms up, there is an awful smell in the master bathroom. The smell has now begun to spread through the house.

The smell is kind of sickly sweet - it reminds me of how an outside trash can sometimes smells when you open the lid and there has been trash inside. We have had the plumbing checked and double-checked, and there is no problem with it. We had a pest control company in several times, and no live or dead animals were found, and our attic was sealed to prevent anything coming in. We checked the air vents for any animals - nothing. We still can't locate the source of the smell!

When I sniff around for where it is strongest, I feel like it is coming from the air vents, but others have told me that the vents are likely just circulating it, not causing it. The smell is strongest by far in hot weather, regardless of whether we use air conditioning. It is worst when the windows are closed. Based on other people's posts, I have checked for too-hot light fixtures and haven't found anything. Any ideas welcome! This is driving me absolutely nuts.

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My first guess would be Chinese drywall. Google to read up on the problems connected with this product and the lawsuits generated by it's use. There have been complaints of a foul odor similar to sulphur. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 11:12AM
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Thank you for that suggestion. I am reading up on it. The only thing is, our smell is not like sulphur. It is a more of a (gross) sweet smell -- one person said they thought it had an "astringent" quality.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 7:39PM
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Another source is molds growing in the duct work, or maybe an air filter.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 3:35AM
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Sewer gasses in the drain pipes, maybe?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 8:58AM
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When I lived in Florida in the early 6o's the water used to water the lawns had a rotten egg smell. It was gross and was caused by the sulpher content in the water. Sulpher doesn't necessarily smell like burned matches.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 9:26AM
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do you by any chance have a eletric hot water heater? if you do check your anoid rod. on the top of the heater there will be what looks like a large flat nut, loosen it and pull, it up these rods are put there to collect minerals from the water so they don't damage the hot water heater. but if you have well water the need to be checked and changed. they can make the hot water smell really bad.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 10:04PM
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I'd be worried about the drywall that you used.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 11:16PM
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This is an old thread, but my first thought would be the paint. I have this problem...though half my house unfortunately...culprit was the paint according to the paint manufacturer. Oil primer and repainting helped for a couple weeks, then the smell returned. It's scary to think this could go on for years. I've seen other posters on this board solve the problem by repriming with BIN (shellac-based primer) and repainting again.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 1:49AM
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