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Posted: 11/23/2007 9:22:31 AM EST
I was wondering if anybody has some suggestions. My wife and I came home from my in-laws yesterday evening to a very strong chemical smell in the house. It smells kind of like insecticide, or chlorine. It seems to almost be coming from under the house. Any ideas of how to isolate where the smell is coming from, and what it is? We had to stay at my in-laws last night because the fumes were making us dizzy and nauseous.

Yesterday was a holiday, so most of the businesses in town are closed, but I don't know whether to call a plumber in, or a pest control agency, or an A/C guy...

It's not natural gas. I have had a gas leak before and I know what that smells like. It's definitely a chemical.

Any help or ideas would be appreciated.
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 9:23:01 AM EST
Move the meth lab to the shed
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 9:23:39 AM EST
You have exactly 30 seconds to evacuate the house before brain damage sets in....

Too late you are out of time.
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 9:24:31 AM EST
Something spilled..........bleach, insecticide.....?????
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 9:25:58 AM EST
What did you do yesterday before leaving for the inlaws?
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 9:27:19 AM EST
Check your TV. I kept smelling something in a friend's house like that . A month later his TV caught on fire, luckily he was home at the time
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 9:27:43 AM EST
septic / sewage line leak
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 9:28:06 AM EST

Originally Posted By HoodyHoo21:
Something spilled..........bleach, insecticide.....?????


Check under the kitchen sink, bathroom, poss skunk? Call the F.D.
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 9:28:39 AM EST
Propane tank running out of fuel?
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 9:31:52 AM EST
Do you use any of those low energy light bulbs? If you do, check if any of these bulbs is burnt out. I learned sometimes ago that when this light is burnt out, or getting close to it, it emits this nauseatingly strong chemical smell. Replace the bulb and ventilate the house. The smell will be gone soon.
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 9:31:54 AM EST
Pilot light out?
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 10:16:47 AM EST

Originally Posted By Hedonist:
Pilot light out?


The pilot light is still on. The smell is not gas.

The smell is not coming from the kitchen or bathroom. It's coming from the living room. It's not coming through the air vents. The rooms in the back of the house do not smell.

I have not sprayed any chemicals or insecticides recently, nor have I spilled any. It's very odd!

I opened all the windows up this morning and let it air out for a few hours, but the smell is still there! I checked the crawl space and I do not see any evidence of tampering, and I don't smell anything different down there, just musky as usual.

It's really perplexing because I can't figure out where it's coming from!

Maybe I should try the attic next?
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 10:19:26 AM EST
Who farted
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 10:50:04 AM EST
Have a fireplace in the living room?

Perhaps some evil doer dumped some stuff down your chimney?
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 10:51:03 AM EST
It's the ATF trying to gas your dog.
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 10:53:28 AM EST
Dibs on guns .gear and ammo!!!
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 10:53:41 AM EST
For what it's worth...

I had a similar situation in our garage once. Turned out an old paint spray can corroded through and emptied itself on a shelf - which then dripped down all over the workbench. Stunk like heck, and fortunately there were no open flames in that building.

Good luck.
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 10:56:01 AM EST
Could call the FD and see if they could send someone over on a non-emergency run.
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 12:07:56 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/23/2007 12:08:34 PM EST by Gamma762]
I had a similar situation a couple months ago, it turned out to be gas coming from the kitchen sink drains. Put the stoppers in, aired out the house and the odor was gone.

In addition to the typical sewer gasses, some combinations of household cleaners can also generate noxious gas, in some cases very toxic gas as well... even just from them sitting in a sink trap. Bleach, ammonia and drain cleaners are the most reactive of the typical household cleaners.
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 12:20:19 PM EST
New carpet? new furniture?.....is the heater warming up an object and making it off-gas an odor? Moldy / damp carpet pad? Dog drug something under the couch? New paint? New decorations?

Mice in the walls? (tis the seaason for vermin to try to nest inside)

Just a few suggestions....good luck.
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 12:25:22 PM EST
You say from under the house. If the house is not on a slab or has a basement, have you examined the crawl space (make sure area is well ventilated before going in). All showers, tubs, sinks, and the like been used to make sure there is water in the traps to prevent sewer gas back up? My first thoughts anyway. Let us know when you come up with. Good luck.
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 12:31:01 PM EST
Burying hookers in the crawl space again?
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 1:51:10 PM EST
Dead vermin under house/in the wall/etc.................
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 1:58:04 PM EST

Originally Posted By 10-8k9:
You say from under the house. If the house is not on a slab or has a basement, have you examined the crawl space (make sure area is well ventilated before going in). All showers, tubs, sinks, and the like been used to make sure there is water in the traps to prevent sewer gas back up? My first thoughts anyway. Let us know when you come up with. Good luck.


My best guess. Floor drains in basements tend to dry out and bring the stink.
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 1:58:09 PM EST

Originally Posted By MouseGun87:
Do you use any of those low energy light bulbs? If you do, check if any of these bulbs is burnt out. I learned sometimes ago that when this light is burnt out, or getting close to it, it emits this nauseatingly strong chemical smell. Replace the bulb and ventilate the house. The smell will be gone soon.



We had this happen also to one of these bulbs. Wife smelled it, noticed the origin of the smell, and looked it up.
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 2:09:36 PM EST

Originally Posted By hourglassing:

Originally Posted By MouseGun87:
Do you use any of those low energy light bulbs? If you do, check if any of these bulbs is burnt out. I learned sometimes ago that when this light is burnt out, or getting close to it, it emits this nauseatingly strong chemical smell. Replace the bulb and ventilate the house. The smell will be gone soon.



We had this happen also to one of these bulbs. Wife smelled it, noticed the origin of the smell, and looked it up.


Why?

Link Posted: 11/23/2007 2:27:04 PM EST

Originally Posted By MouseGun87:
Do you use any of those low energy light bulbs? If you do, check if any of these bulbs is burnt out. I learned sometimes ago that when this light is burnt out, or getting close to it, it emits this nauseatingly strong chemical smell. Replace the bulb and ventilate the house. The smell will be gone soon.


this is EXACTLY what our "chemical" smell turned out to be...check it outl.
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 2:30:18 PM EST

Originally Posted By PantherArms762:

Originally Posted By hourglassing:

Originally Posted By MouseGun87:
Do you use any of those low energy light bulbs? If you do, check if any of these bulbs is burnt out. I learned sometimes ago that when this light is burnt out, or getting close to it, it emits this nauseatingly strong chemical smell. Replace the bulb and ventilate the house. The smell will be gone soon.



We had this happen also to one of these bulbs. Wife smelled it, noticed the origin of the smell, and looked it up.


Why?



why what? why does it smell, ask a chemist...why did his wife notice it? because women smell better than men...? haha.
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 2:30:49 PM EST
lougorilla - we're on the edge of our seats here...

Please update us when the source is determined!
Link Posted: 11/23/2007 2:49:26 PM EST

Originally Posted By Hedonist:
lougorilla - we're on the edge of our seats here...

Please update us when the source is determined!


I found a small hole into the crawl space that was once used to run cable tv through. I filled in the hole and found the smell to somewhat diminish. I think it might be coming from something in the crawl space and it was probably coming into the house from this hole. That's my best guess at this point. Still trying to figure it out.

If it's not gone by tomorrow, I will call the Fire Department out on a non emergency run. Because it's a holiday weekend, I didn't want to add to their busy schedule. They have been busy this week, that's for sure! My brother in law has a emergency band scanner, and we have been hearing a lot of activity of fires this week. Probably too many people who don't know how to properly cook a turkey!
Link Posted: 11/26/2007 3:56:28 AM EST
Any update?
Link Posted: 11/26/2007 4:37:06 AM EST

Originally Posted By Hedonist:
Any update?


It's gone now. I opened all windows up, aired it out for about a day. I changed out my low energy light bulbs as suggested just to be on the safe side. I patched a hole leadig to the crawl space that was used to run cable through that might have been a portal for the odor to come through as well.

Couldn't figure out what that smell was, or where it was coming from, but it finally cleared out.

Thanks for all the suggestions and help! I hope I never have that happen again!
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