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Mystery dead fish smell??

Posted by meaves (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 5, 09 at 8:03

We have been plagued by a mysterious "dead fish" smell in our house on and off for about 4 weeks.

We are baffled. There is one spot in our den where you can smell it terribly. But, it comes and goes. Maybe twice a day, maybe twice a week.

My husband checked the attic and found nothing. Tipped over all the furniture and everything is in tact (no signs of chewing/destruction).

The smell is near the fireplace, but when we open the fireplace and smell--it doesn't seem to be coming from there.

If something died, theoretically it would smell for a while (like "death") and then go away, right? This smell is not the typical "death" smell, but dead fish, and it keeps coming and going. Any ideas?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Mystery dead fish smell??

Is the odor along an outside wall or an inside wall?


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RE: Mystery dead fish smell??

I know two people who have this problem, one found the cause and the other is still unable to find the source, after 5 years! Yuk! The first one had put out Decon as she knew she had mice. They will leave the house in search of water unless they are able to find water in the house. The mice had built a nest in the air duct run behind the furnace hunidifier and had several litters. They died when the furnace was turned on for the winter, only to become Crispy Critters. When ever the furnace fan kicked in the smell was there. The second house has never been able to find the source but is only there when the furnace is on. They have had the ducts cleaned, the furnace taken apart etc. This has been ongoing for 5 years.

I would tell you husband to take another look at the fireplace. When you open the damper to sniff, the air pressure is changed and the smoke and the smell is going to rise. There is a shelf above the damper, to the back and you may have something dead, rotting on it. Just take a counter broom or a shop vac and see what you are able to find. Squirrels can get through the cap at the top so unless your husband has been up on the roof, he might want to check that out also. Good Luck!


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RE: Mystery dead fish smell??

The smell is coming from the ceiling in the middle of the den.

Hmm, intersting. I live in Texas and our furnace has not been on, but maybe there is something in the duct?? I have heard some activity in the attic, but we only just put out some glue traps--no poison, and after we smelled the smell.

Will definitely check the fireplace/chimney more thoroughly.

All of this came about after our kitchen remodel, which was completed in July. Thanks for the input!


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RE: Mystery dead fish smell??

We have the same smell. We live by a creek and the smell is coming from under the crawl space of our house. We haven't crawled under there yet to investigate. I am wondering if raccoons left food under there.


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RE: Mystery dead fish smell??

Check your light fixtures. We had a similar smell in one room of the house but it came and went randomly. I saw a post about this somewhere else and someone said it could be a light fixture overheating and the smell comes from melting plastic maybe. Sure enough the smell only occurred when we turned the light on for a prolonged period of time. Upon closer inspection, the previous owner had 75w bulbs in the fixture that was rated for 35w max. After changing the bulbs to the correct wattage, no more fish smell.


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