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.?
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.
"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
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
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.
If this gets more serious or you run out of ideas,
I have successfully traced fuel oil vapor leaks with a combustible
Obviously overkill for a one-time thing, but if all else fails...
: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
: outside (opens into this open area), there is a fairly strong
: 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
: the exhaust or anything with the oil burner. He smelled it
: 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
: weeks ago a new entertainment center and tv, doesn't smell
: there or anything that we notice.
: I also ran the garbage disposal for a while to make sure
: possibly was left in there was flushed out.
: Any ideas on how you normally go about finding this or who to
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
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
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
No new cleaners or fresheners - definately not a pleasant smell! :-)
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?
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.
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.
In one apartment I rented once, There was a bad smell for a while, Also
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.
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