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Old 08-27-2010, 08:37 PM  
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Default Help! Smells in house.

I'm not sure where to post because I"m not sure the source of my problem. And, I don't know who to call. Please help with me as it's making me crazy and although I'm a little bit of a handyman myself, it's rather outside my knowledge.

I am trying to troubleshoot a problem I've been having with smells in the house. They seem not to be related but I will tell you what I know.

The first smell seems to primarily happen in the evenings, from say around 9-10:30. Out of the air conditioning vents, there is a very noticeable woody, sawdusty smell, almost like a wet brown paper sack. It only happens for a short while and then, it's no longer noticeable. On occasion, I've noticed it in the morning briefly but other than those two times of the day, I am not smelling anything like that coming from the air conditioning vents. The A/C system in this house is less than six months old (Trane) and has the continuous circulation feature so some air is constantly moving through the system all the time. If it were something specific to the air duct system or the A/C unit itself, I would think I would be able to smell it all the time since air is constantly on the move. Anyone have any ideas of what this might be? If I knew what it was, it might give me an idea of who to call.

The other smell issue I have seems to be coming from my bedroom. At times, it smells exceptionally dank, almost sewer-like. There is no bathroom connecting to my bedroom, this is a single story home on slab, the plumbing is actually on the other side of the house, and strangely enough, because I keep the door closed to the bathroom, when I have noticed this smell in the bedroom, I can walk across the house and into the bathroom and it smells fresh. Because it was a sewerish kind of smell, I even have had plumbers come out twice and once, they smoke tested the sewer lines but found nothing at all. Thoughts??

As to the house itself, I'm in Austin, Texas, the house was built in 1984, has hardey (sp?) plank siding, and is on a slab.

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Old 08-27-2010, 09:24 PM  
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I would almost think the smell in the bedroom is some sort of mold or fungi; which is typical in sewage. Are there any specific times the smell is smellable? Example, when it's hot, when it's cold, morning, evening, etc. As with the A\C I'd just call a qualified tech out to check it out, it's most likely something with the ducts and it's quite possible the 2 problems are inter-linked.

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Old 08-28-2010, 01:47 AM  
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What condition is the carpet in the bedroom in?

Carpets are notorious for causing smells. Ever wonder why a dog smells so bad when you give him a bath? Hint: dogs at dog shows don't smell when they're bathed and their fur is "styled". It's because unlike show dogs, most dogs rarely get a bath. All kinds of organic matter collects in their fur, and when you get that fur wet, you create a bacteria's idea of heaven... sufficient food and water to allow the bacteria to multiply rapidly. The result is a bacterial population explosion that makes the whole dog, or house, stink.

Do you have showers in the mornings and evenings that might explain the carpeting in your bedroom getting wet at these times?
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Old 08-28-2010, 04:15 AM  
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could be a number of things, but you said it had that sewer smell. point the first finger that way then. are there any plumbing outlets seldom used? a p-trap will dry up eventually. any floor drains that could do the same? some houses have one in the laundry. has the house been remodelled? if so, a pipe could be open in the wall and a smoke bomb not work. smoke is only good where you can see it. anywhere a p-trap may be, check that. sewer smells are not always there all the time. i work maintenance at an old hotel and we seem to have a "travelling" smell. it seems almost as if the sewer line burps on occasion. the gases coming out i guess don't have to be a constant flow and my guess is it builds up till it pushes itself toward an opening. are you in a demographic area where your a/c runs a lot? if so check your condensation drain and make sure it doesn't fill its drain pan up on extra hot days and maybe lose some water in an area where it can accumulate, mildew, and not be noticable. the drain pan leads to the drain and may work ok on some days, but can't handle extra condensation on hot days. rule out water in any way you can first. budro
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Old 08-28-2010, 07:10 AM  
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Default Smells in house

Thanks for the replies.

Repeating myself here: there are NO sewage drains, lines, p-traps of any kind or sort within 20 feet of that bedroom. They are all on the opposite side of my house.

The carpet in the house is new, being about six months old; however, I did have a humidity problem here in the house and purchased a dehumidifier, which has done a nice job of bringing whole-house humidity down in the 45-50% range, which is comfortable for me. I do remember the carpet feeling dampish but that was a long time back.

You may ask, 'why does the house have humidity issue?' Best we can figure out is due to the energy efficiency of this home. Previous owner added about about a foot of blown-in insulation over the existing insulation in the attic. Then, combine that with trees that shield the house much of the morning, a 16 SEER A/C unit, the cycling off and off of the A/C unit isn't required much and simply doesn not stay on for longer periods, thus doesn't draw enough humidity out of the air. Dehumidifier did a great job of taking care of that and my energy bills have been fabulous.

Here in Austin, we've had a wet winter and Spring but it's dried off now.
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Old 08-29-2010, 06:26 PM  
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We are having an outbreak of these tiny centipede looking worms inside and out. I didn't notice a smell until I picked up a few and later smelled it on my fingers. Not a terribly bad smell but not exactly good. A neighbors child can smell them when they are anywhere in the room.

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