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Very strange smell in my house....(sorry, LONG)

Started 1318089125.35 in Viewpoints | Last reply 1319747603.693 by purrmom

I'm hoping some of you might have some ideas for me. The other day my son was walking through the living room, and he asked me why our house smelled like.........well.....poo! I said "What?", and he said there was a funny smell when he walked through the living room. Actually, I had to agree with him, as I had smelled something, too, but it was a very faint smell, and I couldn't quite put my finger on what I thought it smelled like.

That night, DH was sitting in his recliner at the bottom of the stairs, and he hollered in to me here in the computer room and asked me if I noticed a strange smell in the living room. I told him that DS and I both had. DH said it smelled like natural gas to him, but I disagreed completely. Again, the smell wasn't that strong. The next morning when I came down stairs the smell was much stronger. It was the strongest and most noticable at the bottom of the stairs and by the recliner. DH had already gone to work, and my son was just heading out to go to work, but he agreed it was much stronger, too. Ok, by now I'm getting a little paranoid, as my thought is it could be a dead mouse or something, and as I've posted here before, I am BEYOND terrified of mice, dead or alive, or anything to do with mice!!!!!!! I was gone most of the day that day, but later I assumed the smell would be even stronger, so I called home when I knew DS would be home from work to ask him how the smell was and to see if he would take a look around. He told me he could barely smell anything any more. I didn't believe him till I got home, and sure enough, the smell was pretty much gone!

Well, I knew the smell couldn't have been coming from nothing, so that night DH said he would check everywhere to see if he could find anything. I left the house while he did so, as I knew I would freak out if he found a mouse or anything. YES, I said I left the house, and I now some of you are going to think I'm crazy, but that's just how I am!! Anyhow, DH found nothing! He took his flashlight all around, including the basement. He took the recliner apart. He looked under every piece of furniture and in all the cushions. He took everything out the the closet, which is under our stairway, and even cut a little whole in the wall of the closet! He searched high and low! But, remember, at this point the smell is barely there.

So, for about a day and a half or two days the smell was nearly completely gone...no smell yesterday. When DS and I came down stairs this morning, there was the smell again! It was very strong again! That was earlier this morning. Well, just a little while ago I was sitting in my computer room talking to my mom on the phone. I was telling her about it, and suddenly I started smelling it in my computer room, which is several feet away from my living room. I got up to see how strong the smell was in the living room, and the smell was nealy gone in there!

Now, I know that mice can get into walls and die, BUT would such a smell really come and go? I certainly wouldn't think so! I would think such a smell would only get stronger (at least for awhile). Also, I have lived in this house for 23 years, and we have only found one mouse, two separate times. DH found out how they got in and fixed it.

Right now, sitting here in my computer room I smell nothing again! I can't figure this out! My mom suggested there might be something going on with our sewer. I just don't know, but DH is a plumber, and I think he would have mentioned that. He is going to have to do some more searching, but for now I just can't imagine why such a smell would come and go!

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MaggieToo1318090680.9638800 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004AZ

I was going to mention sewer smell from your drains, but if your DH is a plumber, he would have noticed it.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

sue981318091317.723741 PostsRegistered 7/12/2007
On 10/8/2011 MaggieToo said:

I was going to mention sewer smell from your drains, but if your DH is a plumber, he would have noticed it.

I agree. I keep wondering about the sewer, but my bathroom is upstairs, and all the pipes that would be running down through the walls are not anywhere near the livingroom. My mom suggested the possiblity of a dead animal underneath my front porch, but there is no smell whatsoever outside, even standing on the front porch.

anisa1318091810.8272330 PostsRegistered 3/25/2005

Could the smell be mold or mildew?

sue981318092069.63741 PostsRegistered 7/12/2007
On 10/8/2011 anisa said:

Could the smell be mold or mildew?

Hmmm.........well, it doesn't really smell like that, but I guess I can't really be sure. It is a strange thing, for sure!

sfnative1318092233.317264 PostsRegistered 4/23/2007Portland, OR

Do you have a septic tank? Have there been any water line leaks in your area lately? Have you checked your attic space (yes, I know you have a 2 storey home)? If it is decomp, a specialist can be called out with an electronic "sniffer" to determine the origin.

Don't sweat the small stuff!

anisa1318092998.9332330 PostsRegistered 3/25/2005
On 10/8/2011 sue98 said:
On 10/8/2011 anisa said:

Could the smell be mold or mildew?

Hmmm.........well, it doesn't really smell like that, but I guess I can't really be sure. It is a strange thing, for sure!

The odor seems to come and go and move around, right? It might be a critter who has taken up residence under your home using a specific path.

Luv2Decora­te1318093322.536779 PostsRegistered 5/2/2008Floating on Lake Michigan

I bet it's mice. If you have any trees that touch the house they can get in from the vents on the roof, once in they run around and fall between the walls. They can also get in through dryer vents, any exhaust pipes and they can end up in your heat ducts. Once their food source is gone, they die, stink for a while. You probably have several in the vents and they are dying off. I know that sounds grosse and it is! Yuck. We had this happen last year once it got cold. It's a odd smell, and now that I have determined what "that" smell was, it freaks me out! Now I have bait outside to kill them off so they don't go into the house. We also had all trees that were close to the home cut down and we had everything examined to see make sure they didn't have an opening to come in!

It would probably be a good idea to have your ducts cleaned out. We do it every few years.

God is Great, Beer is Good and People are Crazy.

------1318093809.2418558 PostsRegistered 2/13/2008

Didn't someone recently post about a bad smell in her home? I think it was caused by bad wiring but don't quote me on that.

you mad bro?

PpprMintPa­tty1318093993.0518978 PostsRegistered 8/7/2007Outside our Nation's Capitol
On 10/8/2011 GATO_ said:

Didn't someone recently post about a bad smell in her home? I think it was caused by bad wiring but don't quote me on that.

I think it was the lightbulb Gato. Something about when they burn out they give off a very odd odor??

Do you have a leak in your roof? If water gets into the ceiling or the walls, it can have a terrible odor.

~Formerly known as Danny~

------1318094279.2518558 PostsRegistered 2/13/2008

Ah, thanks PMP.

OP did you check your refrigerator? Sometimes water builds up in the overflow pan or water can leak from the tube to the ice dispenser.

you mad bro?

PpprMintPa­tty1318094386.9818978 PostsRegistered 8/7/2007Outside our Nation's Capitol

Just thought of something. Do you have a front-load washing machine?

Because they can build up a stink! Took me a while to figure that one out when we moved in here.

~Formerly known as Danny~

grandma_2_21318097307.712392 PostsRegistered 6/5/2005

sounds like what happened at my work only it smelled like either rotten eggs or spoiled fish. It was awful! It would come and go. Ended up being some bad wiring in an outlet right behind my desk. I don't know how old your house is but it might be something to check out.

chickenbutt1318097806.8127189 PostsRegistered 1/16/2006chickentown

I agree about checking the electrical. Soon would be best!

Bippity boppity BOOYAH!

stripyfax1318098330.563390 PostsRegistered 12/2/2005

You might also want to check to be sure there is no gas leak. Some companies, (washington gas in northern virginia which is mine), put a stinky substance into the gas so if you have a leak you notice the bad smell. it is sort of a rotten egg smell. We had a gas leak about ten years ago and that is how we noticed. Just a thought. I hope you find whatever it is!!

RedTop1318100262.6135476 PostsRegistered 9/1/2010

A couple of years ago, my Mother's house developed a poo smell that nearly drove us nuts trying to find. The sewer vent on her roof was clogged, and once the dirt and debris was cleaned out from that small pipe, the odor went away.

Subject1318101079.44311269 PostsRegistered 2/24/2007

Rodents making a home in the ceiling or walls? That would be the worst case senerio- a better one is checking out the microwave for needing cleaning OR if you have an electric old fashioned stove- cleaning out any spills from under the pans.

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ITeach21318101355.925 PostsRegistered 7/26/2010

We had a strange smell a year ago in my son's room. It would come and go too. It was between a musty smell and a sewer smell and it was worse when it was cold outside and when it was raining. Through many months of trying to figure out what it was, a pest control company found out that it was odorous house ants. They can live in mulch around your house and nest inside the walls of your house. It has been an expensive nightmare trying to get rid of them and we are still not completely free of them.

PuppyBreath1318102072.06318676 PostsRegistered 1/10/2007Mn. Twins Fan

Here is a place my BIL found a nest of dead mice. In the kitchen there is a corner cupboard with a lazy susan turntable. He took the turntable out. He then removed the floor boards under where the turntable was. The nest was between the cupboard floor, and the kitchen floor. It was a very old house and they had come in the basement under the siding, and climbed along the house basement rafters. I never would have looked there.


Please support Pancreatic Cancer Research.

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sweetandsa­lty1318102523.7501 PostsRegistered 9/1/2006

I hate to say this, as you've said how terrified you are of mice (I'm with ya on that one, they're cute, but not running around my home). But that's what it sounds like to me. They smell AWFUL dead or alive. They like to come in when the weather gets cooler to nest.

Of course, it wouldn't hurt to check the other possibilites that others have suggested.

Good luck!

ROMARY 11318103761.4520101 PostsRegistered 4/28/2010

Just to make sure, the next time the odor is strong, call your gas company. They might have a meter of some kind that can detect intermittent gas leaks.

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Yellow Rose

JuJu Squee­zey1318105892.08314444 PostsRegistered 4/22/2009Space Coast FL

Sounds like sewer gas to me.

Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting, Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing, For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a h ell-broth boil and bubble.
William Shakespeare

clemintine1318107419.38718288 PostsRegistered 11/5/2007C.C.
On 10/8/2011 PpprMintPatty said:

Just thought of something. Do you have a front-load washing machine?

Because they can build up a stink! Took me a while to figure that one out when we moved in here.

oh! Those things stink something awful!! Glad I didn't fall for them when I needed a new washer. Tide has come out with a product to CLEAN the outside of the drum. You use it once a month. huh?! They also make the detergent that stinks.

It's a conspiracy, I sayWink

AnikaBrodie1318111086.9216128 PostsRegistered 1/29/2008The NE state of mountains and valleys

Could it be that a neighbor's cat is using your outside property as a bathroom and the smell lingers inside the house? Their smell can be horrible. Perhaps they are doing their business in close proximity to your living room, maybe along the back side of your landscaping.

It could possibly be a sewer or gas leak but I don't see that smell as strong one time and not strong another.

Hopefully, you will find the source of the problem soon.

~~~The Silver Fox ~~~
“Be grateful for all the obstacles in your life. They have strengthened you as you continue with your journey."

cmhpss1318113837.977444 PostsRegistered 12/19/2008

Just this week I had the bad smell from the curly lightbulbs burning out. I didn't know what it was until my daughter told me. She said she had heard it from her church leader.

Awhile ago, on a home improvement show, they had some homeowners who had a terrible smell inside their house. After investigating it was determined that a sewer pipe under the house had burst and was dumping raw sewage under the house. This had been going on for at least a year. They had to repair and then clean out under the house. They said no one had been able to figure it out and it was so bad that friends no longer wanted to come to their house.

Good luck!


sue981318114895.913741 PostsRegistered 7/12/2007

Thanks, everybody, for all your suggestions. We do live in a very old house, but the wiring was all redone some years ago. DH is down in the basement searching again "as we speak". We will check into the other ideas you all have suggested. Meanwhile I am going crazy! BTW, very little (if any) odor tonight! Hmmmm........

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