strange smell in kitchen / main area

I have an L-style ranch, with the kitchen/dining/living room area that has an open floor plan. For the last few days, as soon as you walk in from outside (opens into this open area), there is a fairly strong smell. It smells like it could be cleaner of some sort, or nail polish, oil, etc. We have our oil furnace/burner in the kitchen (that's how they did it up her in MA in the 50's I guess), so we had the oil service guys come out last night to make sure it wasn't an exhaust problem. They didn't see a problem with the exhaust or anything with the oil burner. He smelled it too, but couldn't put his finger on what it was.
We have checked for any cleaners that may have spilled or even to try and locate the origin of the smell without any luck. Problem is, once you are in the house for a bit, you must get adjusted to the smell, because it is harder to notice.
The only thing new for appliances that we have, are we just got about two weeks ago a new entertainment center and tv, doesn't smell stronger over there or anything that we notice.
I also ran the garbage disposal for a while to make sure anything that possibly was left in there was flushed out.
Any ideas on how you normally go about finding this or who to call, etc.?
Thanks,
Scott
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Scott O wrote:

Make sure the smell is not coming in from outside. In my last house we had an inwall gas heater, and it would suck in air from outside for whatever reason. The neighbors occasionally smoked whacky-tobaccy and we would always know when they were.
--
Thank you,



"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
When you first enter the house, enter through the kitchen, then immediately go to the entertainment center and see if it smells stronger in that area.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'll give that a whirl today when I go home.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Like the others have said, suspect the entertainment center. When I was working apartment construction as a kid, we would use an empty apartment to stash the new kitchen cabinets till the units were ready for them to go in. They were still mostly real wood in those days, with a sprayed factory finish and hotglued joints. The unit used for storage wasn't air conditioned in the Indiana summer, and the unboxed cabinets would outgas something fierce, to the point that the smell would knock you on your ass when you first walked in there. And along the same lines, I have seen new but defective electronics outgas fumes from cheap plastic cabinets or defective components. If you are curious, stop by your local big-box stores this weekend, and take a deep whiff in the cabinet and electronic aisles, and see if anything smells familiar. I understand some people are unusually sensitive to the binder glue used in modern chipboard furniture, too.
Try wiping the entertainment center down with cleaner and/or furniture polish.
aem sends...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I did the immediate walk-over to the entertainment center when I got home yesterday, and upon opening the doors where the Tivo and cable box sit, where some warm air is, I could smell a bit what is most likely the smell. Like you guys said, I think the smell is just slowly seeping out from the entertainment center into the air. Since it is winter and the windows haven't been open, it has no way to air out - think it just built up over time to be noticeable.
Thanks everyone.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Scott O wrote:

I have successfully traced fuel oil vapor leaks with a combustible gas detector:
http://www.professionalequipment.com/xq/ASP/ProductID.20/id.7/qx/default.htm
Obviously overkill for a one-time thing, but if all else fails...
Jim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
:I have an L-style ranch, with the kitchen/dining/living room area that has : an open floor plan. For the last few days, as soon as you walk in from : outside (opens into this open area), there is a fairly strong smell. It : smells like it could be cleaner of some sort, or nail polish, oil, etc. We : have our oil furnace/burner in the kitchen (that's how they did it up her in : MA in the 50's I guess), so we had the oil service guys come out last night : to make sure it wasn't an exhaust problem. They didn't see a problem with : the exhaust or anything with the oil burner. He smelled it too, but : couldn't put his finger on what it was. : : We have checked for any cleaners that may have spilled or even to try and : locate the origin of the smell without any luck. Problem is, once you are : in the house for a bit, you must get adjusted to the smell, because it is : harder to notice. : : The only thing new for appliances that we have, are we just got about two : weeks ago a new entertainment center and tv, doesn't smell stronger over : there or anything that we notice. : : I also ran the garbage disposal for a while to make sure anything that : possibly was left in there was flushed out. : : Any ideas on how you normally go about finding this or who to call, etc.? : : Thanks, : : Scott : :
As someone already mentioned, try going right to different areas as soon as you come in the house and see if you can narrow it down that way. The entertainment center's obviously a possibility. How about the garbage storage? I had a similar issue once, a sort of sweet, pleasant but sort of oily smell that turned out to be the garbage <g>. In our case it was obvious though as soon as you opened it up.
Try closing off rooms to at least eliminate rooms?
Could it be a new cleaner being used, or a new plug-in air freshener, someting like that? Laundry freshener?
No idea who to call for such a thing. Let us know what you finally find.
How about covering the enertainment center, various areas, with a plastic cover when you go out, and check under the plastic when you get back? Just brainstorming a bit
Pop
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Regarding the different rooms, we notice when we wake up in the morning and open the bedroom door and walk out to the main part of the house you can smell it, so that shows it is at least not in there or traversing the whole baseboard heating.
No new cleaners or fresheners - definately not a pleasant smell! :-)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
clipped

I've owned a number of PITY furniture items, and never noticed an odor from them. Could the neighbors have a meth lab? Any food spills on carpet that might be turning ransid? Kids leave pizza box under the sofa?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

This wasn't a PITY unit (it is "real wood"), we upgraded from one though! :-)
I don't think it is dead animal, or rotten food - smells too chemically. I'm really leaning towards this being the entertainment center right now.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Just about every new consumer product gives off odors and fumes. They can come from sources like adhesives, carpets, vinyl, rubber, manufactured wood products, pesticides, cleaning agents, fine particles of metal and fiberglass, etc. Air quality experts recommend that you leave new furniture and unrolled carpet in a well ventilated area for a few days before bringing them inside, and that you don't occupy a new or remodeled building until it has been well ventilated for at least a few days.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Scott O wrote:

That new furniture is suspect. Mostly man made stuff with chemicals. Tony
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Dead mouse or rat maybe ??????????????
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

the phone in the kitchen got static and then died one day. When had the phone line repaired, they had to cut whole in the ceiling, found the phone wire had been chewed into and a dead rat. This was on the bottom unit, between floors and not an attic. Never found how it got between th floors like that, Also found out no insulation between floor so My unit was helping heat the upstairs unit.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.