[Webinar] Streamline your web hosting managementRegister Today

x
?
Solved

Why does my brandnew home (with absolutely nothing in it yet) smell like an old man has lived here for years???

Posted on 2007-08-06
17
Medium Priority
?
150 Views
Last Modified: 2013-11-05
Hello all! Sorry for the possibly insulting title of my question, but i am dead serious, my brandnew home smells like my great grandmothers 100year old house used to! I just had my home built, it's brandnew, and it's in the southern california desert region. Two days after the house was completed and ready for move in, i entered the home and was greeted by the smell of a musty old man! Thats been a year ago, and the house still smells like this. Actually, only the large livingroom area smells like this. I can be in the bedroom, walk out into the livingroom and then smell it. It seems like the livingroom is where the smell comes from.... but, im at a loss to as to what it could be. The smell is best described as an old, almost cinnimon, woodsy smell. I suspected it might be formaldehyde, but am told formaldehyde doesn't smell like that. Also suspected mold, had the house tested, but NO MOLD! I am at a loss as to what the smell could possibly be coming from? Any idea what might cause that type of smell in a brandnew home? As i stated, the smell was present the first time i stepped foot through the door. I know this might be a strange question to ask, but..... you guys have hepled me with just about every other problem i've had, so i figured "Why not ask"?
0
Comment
Question by:MisfitDevil99
  • 4
  • 4
  • 2
  • +6
17 Comments
 
LVL 63

Accepted Solution

by:
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 2000 total points
ID: 19641969
Check your AC
0
 

Author Comment

by:MisfitDevil99
ID: 19642183
Masqueraid, the house smelled like that the day it was completed, before the AC was ever turned on. Not sure what you mean exactly...?
0
 
LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 19642244
I've just come across a few AC units that do the musty old man/incontinent cat smell if they aren't vented properly. Your question seems to eliminate any kind of furnishing and it doesn't obviously smell like a chemical smell so the other alternatives are a building material (which you'ld expect to improve with age) or damp (which would worsen - especially if you have a small leak somewhere in a wall or floor).
0
The 14th Annual Expert Award Winners

The results are in! Meet the top members of our 2017 Expert Awards. Congratulations to all who qualified!

 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:dempsedm
ID: 19642273
I guess mildew would be found in the mold test, right?  
0
 
LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:Admin4XP
ID: 19643985
Do you not have a Guarantee on the house?Any new build should come with something like that. Id get onto the estate agent. Also might be worth asking the nieghbours to see if they have had the same issue as MASQUERAID suggests it may be materials and as such you would expect all the new builds to be the same.
0
 

Author Comment

by:MisfitDevil99
ID: 19648613
Hey all, thanks for your input. I dont think it's the AC, because it smelled like that before the AC was ever turned on, when everything was brandnew. And its only in the frontroom (which is one HUGE square with cathedral ceilings) that the smell is present. As i said, i can be sitting in one of the other rooms and not smell a thing, but when i walk out into the frontroom the smell is pretty heavy. So, i would think if it was the AC it would be throughout the house. Same with the building materials you would think.... The frontroom has ceramic tile floors (same as in the bathrooms where the smell isnt present). Then the kitchen has cabinets (same as in the bathrooms and laundry room), so if it was the cabinets wouldnt the smell be in them rooms as well...? It's like whatever it is, for some reason is only in the frontroom. Which is REALLY frustrating me! I've checked the neighbors houses and they dont have the smell. I've talked to the builder and the reality agent, but they claim to have no clue as to what it could be??? And since i have no idea what could possible cause that smell (only in the frontroom) its hard to place the blame. If i knew what some of the possible causes might be (other than what we've mentioned) then i might be able to pinpoint the cause.... Hmm. Maybe its a ghost! LoL!
0
 
LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 19648764
OK let's get back to basics.  If you take out all the furnishings in the main room and leave the doors shut overnight  and it is the only room that smells like in the morning then it is a building or decorating issue.  You'll get accustomed to smell really quickly so you need to be out of the room for a while before you start trying to work out where it is strongest.

>> Hmm. Maybe its a ghost! LoL!
maybe its a body !!
0
 
LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:woodendude
ID: 19649596
I would say it's obviously building materials. Do you have a basement or crawl space that your able to enter to check the subflooring, if so look for any signs of water damage, (molds, staining, discoloration). And while your down there look around for animal carcasses, could be! If you remove a light switch/ plug plate and have a sniff, is it stronger at all? If so you might want to crack open some drywall and check insulation for the source.
0
 
LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:woodendude
ID: 19649606
Maybe you're just getting old!!!! Joking of course.
0
 
LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:maharlika
ID: 19649855
Dampness or dead animals hidden somewhere (crawlspace, inside the sheetrock, under the porch, etc.) are the most immediate things that come to mind.  Improper venting in bathrooms could cause it, too  If construction was shoddily done, there may be vent pipes that terminate within walls or in the attic instead of outside through the roof.  I'd have a professional independent home inspector look at it--if he finds anything, take it to the builder to repair, since it should be under warranty.  Also, are you on sewer or septic tank?  It could be improper drainage or sealing of drains and some very yucky gas building up in the pipes.
0
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Wizilling
ID: 19650954
do u have wallpaper... once i got some one telling me that the glue the used to set the wallpaper gave off a certain stink when there was lots of humitity on the room... i wasnt paying attention at that time but he somehow solved that problem without changing wallpaper..
what about ur carpets. have they been cleaned with a chemical and it hasnt completely evaporated yet?
does the room get plenty of sunlught and fresh air.
You can try some smell candals or insense or somethnig to drown the bad smell...
0
 
LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:-Mystique-
ID: 19651448
Maybe you have a ghost in your house, who likes your living room, and maybe that's the ghost of your great grandfather trying to show you that he's there, by giving you a scent to remind you of him!
Or maybe its a case of a new home having construction workers smoking etc, in it, and it just needs a good airing!
0
 

Author Comment

by:MisfitDevil99
ID: 19656340
You guys are too funny! Not the answers i was hoping for, but i guess this isn't the best place to ask it either. LoL! Lots of good suggestions, covered all those bases before though. No smell up in the attic, so its not the insulation. I dont have a crawl space or basement either. Whatever it is can only be smelled in the frontroom... even after over a year of burning the SHIZZLE out of candles, insense, oils, automatic airfresheners etc... Whatever it is, its constantly being released into the air, because the smell has only gotten worse over the year. It's not a terrible smell, just like an old musty kinda smell (like grandma's house or an old sweater). LoL! I must sound crazy! Mold is my lingering suspicion, but it's been there since day one. So i'm told (by the local mold experts) that couldn't be it. Hm....... maybe i'll give this a try:

http://www.no-odor.com/11300.html?;;30

LoL!!! Just wish there was someone who new by the discription of the smell, what it could possible be.
0
 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:dagesi
ID: 19656437
It's unlikely to be any sort of carcass in any walls - after that much time the smell should have reduced as the carcass became desicated.
It sounds like you have a slab home...?  If so, not impossible it could be something IN the cement which will emit scents at a slower rate than open air itself...
You said "cinnamon, woodsy smell"... What sort of "woodsy"?  Do you mean it smells like trees?  Or like wood rot?  Or cool dirt...?
You know cinnamon is really from a tree, right...?  So describing the two together isn't impossible with one thing...
Are you the only one who smells this?  Not trying to make you sound nuts but my wife routinely smells something in our house that bothers her a lot and yet I can't smell it at all (though I CAN smell all of the deodorizers she uses in the house to cover whatever SHE smells)...
0
 

Author Comment

by:MisfitDevil99
ID: 19777030
So sorry i've been gone for so long. I tend to wonder off into the desert for weeks at a time now and then. Like grandpa used to always say, "civilization isn't a necessity, it's an addiction." Anyhoot,  whatever it is, it has not weakened over time. It is definitely not anything dead, thats for sure. If it were building materials, then the only material used in the frontroom that was not used in the rest of the house is.... i dont know??? The frontroom was just a huge open square with cathedral ceilings, ceramic tiles, and a gas fireplace (definitely not gas i smell) when i moved in, and i smelled it that first day. And i swear it's gotten worse since then!

Thank you all so much for giving so much of your time for this less than worthy question. I really appreciate everyones comments.

dagesi, yes other people have smelled it. But i don't think it bothers them as much as it does me, because like i said, it's not a completely unpleasant smell. Like cinnamon cool dirt is a good way to describe it. Just for some reason i feel that it's not a good smell, meaning its not coming from something good or natural, i feel like its coming from something possible not good for me is why its bothers me so much i think. Sometimes the air in the frontroom feels thick with it.
0
 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:dagesi
ID: 19777218
Depending on the type of venting used to heat/cool your house, have you tried to close (and leave closed) all of those in that room and see if eventually the smell starts to show up elsewhere...?

"Cathedral ceiling"... is it open wood as part of the ceiling/walls in that room?  A large enough room could have necessitated using beams that, in fact, ARE only used in that room...
0
 
LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 19980898
Thanks for the points but if it's not the AC wouldn't it be fairer to split them amongst the contributors here?

M :o)
0

Featured Post

Free Tool: Path Explorer

An intuitive utility to help find the CSS path to UI elements on a webpage. These paths are used frequently in a variety of front-end development and QA automation tasks.

One of a set of tools we're offering as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Machine Learning is one of the profound applications of AI and therefore, just like AI, it is surrounded by myths and fears. Check out these facts about ML that demystify the related myths.
A recent study by Google illustrates that almost 84% of patients go for both online and offline sources for hospital research. What do you think, “Is the Healthcare Industry the next to be disrupted by Digital Marketing?”
Notifications on Experts Exchange help you keep track of your activity and updates in one place. Watch this video to learn how to use them on the site to quickly access the content that matters to you.
Saved searches can save you time by quickly referencing commonly searched terms on any topic. Whether you are looking for questions you can answer or hoping to learn about a specific issue, a saved search can help you get the most out of your time o…
Suggested Courses

591 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question