mystery stink!

wearybuilderMay 2, 2008

Please help us! We have been in our house (new construction) about 4 months. About a month ago, we had a sudden strange mystery stink in our master bedroom closet. It went away in about 2 days. Now is has returned, this time in the master bedroom bathroom.

These are the facts we can put together:

1. really smelly--like urine soaked training pants + menstrual pad + old fish

2. we have not stuffed anything gross anywhere!

3. has only happened these two times

4. both times were after really hard rains and lots of wind

What in the world could we be dealing with here?? How do you track down a mystery stink??

We are bewildered and at a loss as what could be causing it and how we can stop it...

Thank you for your suggestions!

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Update....mystery stink is gone this morning. We have checked all over the house, and downstairs under the two "offending" areas, and there were no leaks of any kind, nor was the mystery stink noticed anywhere else.

That area of the house is on the outside end....could an animal be making that smell? It is not a skunk smell (former country gal--I know that smell!).

Thanks again to anyone who can help me in solving this mystery!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 8:30AM
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Under construction..Could it be sewer gas? Maybe your plumbing is not finished yet? Maybe the vent that usually goes up through the roof isn't finished? Or it could be a dead animal somewhere?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 10:50AM
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izzie--sorry for miscommunicating....we are in the house now (for 4 months). It is a newly built house, so everything had to pass code.

However, we are on a lot that had an old farm house on it previously....

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 11:35AM
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It is a newly built house, so everything had to pass code.

just because it is new does not mean everything is to code. inspectors can and often do miss things.

is there any plumbing close to teh closet? is the septic field close to that wall?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 9:56PM
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"It is a newly built house, so everything had to pass code."

David is absolutely correct on that point, however not all codes are created equal.

If your local code is based upon the "UPC" (Uniform Plumbing Code) all vents must terminate through the roof, on the other hand, if your local code is modeled after the "IRC" (International Residential Code) all structures are required to have one "Main Vent" which must run undiminished in size from the "House Main Drain" through the roof. After that is achieved any additional auxiliary vents may be reduced to 1/2 the diameter of the line they serve providing the vent is no less than 1-1/4" and auxiliary vents may terminate through the roof, in the attic space, through the wall under certain limitations or they may use an unlimited number of AAV (air admittance valves, commonly called Studor vents).

If you are under the IRC, the next time you smell the odor in the bathroom or bedroom poke your head up into the attic space and see if you smell it there also. If so, you may have a vent terminated in your attic space, and understanding the some of the gases in sewer gas are heavier than air, it would stand firm that the gases being released into the attic space are permeating down through your ceiling materials and into the living space. The permanent solution would be to have that vent extended through the roof.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 9:42AM
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Just my .02 having purchased a "new house so it's up to code" when I bought my first house. Spend a few bucks and have a GOOD home inspector come out and do a good look around. I'm sure that you had a home inspection when you bought the house but you need someone that is not affiliated with the builder that built the house or the agent that sold you the house. I'm thinking that you have some plumbing that is not venting right or is venting into an enclosed area.

New homes are built quickly and the inspectors can not check every single detail at every step. Some things do and will fall through the cracks. Also a good detailed inspection will identify potential issues down the road and help you keep your investment in good condition.

Just to close the story, the builder who built my first house ended up as a plaintiff in a class action suit. The whole subdivision was suing the builder for construction faults. Nearly every house needed $50K - $80K of repairs to get them "up to code". One builder died, one committed suicide and the last one skipped out of the country.

Moral of the story: New does not always equal good


    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 10:32AM
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It could be that your drain trap(s) are dry, and it's a simple fix to add water. I can't explain this any better, but talk to a plumber about it. If the drain trap is dry it certainly smells like a potty!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 12:09PM
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Reference an earlier post, the person(s) filing a lawsuit are plaintiffs, the person being sued is a defendant. Plaintiffs must prove their claims by a preponderance of the evidence. The defendant must merely defend against those specific claims.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 5:14PM
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If it appeared suddenly and went away suddenly and correlates with changes in weather, it sounds to me like a live animal coming and going. Maybe a possum? Those can smell vile!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 5:22PM
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Yes, you are right. Defendant not plaintiff. I know that but I was on my first cup of coffee. LOL...

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 6:14PM
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