Help! Unidentifiable Smell

pjknphxDecember 18, 2002

We moved into our 20 year old (remodeled) house 7 months ago. About 3 weeks ago, I noticed an odd smell in my kitchen. The smell comes and goes. The smell is only detectable in 2 spots in the kitchen. One is if you stand right in front of the wine fridge, which is right next to the trash. (If you stand in front of the wine fridge, but turn all other directions, can't smell it!) For the longest time I thought it was the trash not being taken out frequently enough (smells more like trash than a dead animal). But that's not it! I began taking the trash out more than regularly, but that didn't help. Anyway, I can't smell the odor in the trash, even if I stick my nose in the trash! And, I stuck my nose under and in the wine fridge and can't smell it there either. The other spot in the kitchen is to the left of the wine fridge. Then, I noticed the smell in my daughter's bedroom and attached bathroom, which is about 50 feet from the kitchen. I had the airducts cleaned. Still smell it. Had the airducts recleaned. Still smell it. Air duct guy said the kitchen and my daughter's room are on 2 different duct systems. We stuck our nose in the air duct. Can't smell it. Very frustrating! Any suggestions on how I trace this thing down? It's driving me nuts!

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Is the wine going bad?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2002 at 9:21AM
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The scientific aspects of an odor can be fascinating - these things should be known(as difficult as it is!) in order to solve the problems.. I think smell can migrate, as does noise - and this can be maddening. I would check the backsides of the cooler and the insides, and I hope that some mouse did not decide to up and die in that space inside the walls.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2002 at 9:19AM
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I agree with earthworm, I would first check for mice.

Another mentioned that the smell is at the wine fridge and in your daughters bedroom...Does your daughter use scented magic markers and maybe has some laying around with the caps off??? Sometimes they have orange magic markers that smell like oranges, etc.

When I first moved in my house, the bathroom smelled like some weird perfume and I discovered that the old drawer liners that the previous owners used were heavily scented and the smell permeated right into the wood of the bathroom cabinets.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2002 at 12:10PM
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We put mothballs in our attic one year to repel squirrels.

Well, when mothballs deteriorate, apparently they smell like rotten eggs or garbage or something. Took us forever to figure out why we had a smell when we'd open certain upper cabinets in the kitchen.

We just had to wait it out.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2002 at 1:52PM
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I had a similar problem with our older home, and found it to be mold in areas that stayed dark and apparently were damp for some time before we moved in, removing it can be tricky, always wear a mask when dealing with any mold, there are way too many possibilities for illness, it took us a long time and alot of wood replacement to solve our problem

    Bookmark   January 3, 2003 at 10:45AM
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I have a similar problem right now. It is in my bathroom and I thought it was the toilet at first, so I have intensely cleaned everything. The smell is foul and has traveled to different rooms in our house. I think there is a dead animal in the walls, but I wouldn't know where or how to check. We did have bats in our attic over the summer and it has been extremely cold lately. Have you had any luck with the smell?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2003 at 12:54PM
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Hey pj, were you ever able to solve the smell situation ??

    Bookmark   January 23, 2003 at 4:16PM
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Thanks to everyone who have replied with suggestions. I did figure it out and it's all quite embarassing!

I read on the internet that sometimes a dead animal smell can sometimes be confused with burning electrical wires. I smelled my daughters light switch in her bathroom and oila! Boy was it strong. There was also an electrical outlet close to the smell in the kitchen so, I called the electrician...But wait, it gets better!

Electrician came out. Said it wasn't electrical wires, more like a chemical or hair burning. Took him about 30 minutes, but he figured it out.

I had purchased some strong kind of glue to fix my daughter's shoes. The glue was sealed up, but sitting on my counter in the kitchen. My daughter's shoes were in her closet (therefore the smell in the bedroom) and my handyman had used to glue to fix the lightswitch he had cracked in my daughter's bathroom.

Threw out the glue, the shoes, and the lightswitch. Mystery solved!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2003 at 8:35PM
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