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Question DetailsAsked on 10/10/2015

Every now & then I smell an odor in living room that connects with entranceway. Have not put poison in attic.

2800 sq 20 yr old house. Never had this problem before. I am noticing like settling cracks in house...but there are no ceiling stains. So I don't think there is a leak going on (water bill is low). It is not a constant odor - just like every now and then. This room is never used we just walk through - it is an open area that connects with family room/entrance way....was thinking some thing got up there and died? It's not a horrible smell...just an odor now and then? HELP.

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2 Answers

Voted Best Answer

I would check any crawlspace or foundation wall access in basement/crawlspace/under entry stairs for water damagve - you might well have water seeping in either through the foundation, at the slab, or under the door or walls off the deck if not well protected by overhang.

I would also check for damp carpet on lowest level, and for any signs of wetness or staining in the attic.

Commonly starts of smelling like a slightly tangy wet smell, then transitions to mildew, mold, fungus eventually if it stays wet.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


Thank you LCD...really appreciate your answer. I live in Houston - so no basement. Do not have a deck. Brick house, no foundation openings. Haven't been in to the attic - Will call someone to take a look. It's just really strange, I smell this odor off/on. It's just in that one area. Dry carpet in all of the rooms (one story house) . There is no ceiling dripping or staining. I don't think there could be a leak as my water bill has consistently been dropping and is lower now than it was at same time last year. (Just got my bill and it shows the past 12 months billing chart.) My first worry was a mouse or some other critter got up in attic. I have no droppings in my house...

Answered 4 years ago by Guest_9306033


Several other common causes - all of which have happened to me or I have discovered at work sites -

1) sometimes household/kitchen scents settle down stairs and stratify - I have found that cooking smells that are clearly identifiable in the kitchen smell totally different at our front door, and different again at the bottom of the stairs on the bottom level - so could be that, though would only be same smell if you cook much the same thing frequently.

2) possibility of a water or sewer (much less common because not under pressure) pipe leak in the wall, causing mold and maybe fungus (wood rot), which can be an acidic smell like rotten wood, like rotten meat, like strong or rotting vegetables, or like a dead body depending on flavor of fungus growing. Can also be an earthy or wet chalkboard smell or slightly sulferous (especially with plaster) if the drywall or plaster is wet. Until it gets really bad and breaks through to the surface can be just a tinge of smell as you pass by, detectable and noticeable if air is calm but maybe not noticeable at all if a windy day or a lot of heat is rising up the stairs and diffusing the smell.

3) otherwise, possible dead animal or urine smell from rodent nest - or if biting slightly meaty woody smell possibly termite or carpenter ant nest (some people can smell them, others not), or if - hard to describe - almost a tangy sharp sickly sweetish smell similar to but distinct from brand new plastic for some ant and other insect colonies if large. And of course, dead animal / wet fur smell for dead animals or snake holes, and sharper than usual sweet smell for bees nests with honey comb being formed.

4) check around doors/windows for leak/condensation damage to wood frames, around attic for signs of leak, around water heater and furnace/boiler for any water leaks or smells, including around air conditioning evaporator coil if you have A/C - that can produce wet lint, mildewy, moldy, metallic, or "stinky sock" smells if not drying out properly each cycle or drain pan is filling up due to drain blockage.

5) also check all seldom used drains to be sure none have gone stagnant or dry (letting sewer gases in) - fill with a gallon or so of water to flush out, then add lemon scented dishwashing liquid with hot water; or baking soda followed by vinegar then flushed with a gallon hot water after a few minutes. Basement/garage floor drains are especially commonly found to have this problem because they go years or decades without use.

6) BTW - when I talked about water coming under wall or door from the deck - I meant from the front porch/stoop, if rainwater can run off it into the siding or base of the wall.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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