What could a sudden strange chemical smell be?
February 17, 2009 11:02 AM Subscribe
A sudden, strong, strange chemical smell in the house. What could it be? And how might we find out?
posted by still_wears_a_hat to home & garden (8 answers total)
Asking for a friend: Last night when he got home, there was a very strong chemical smell in the house. He described it as like silicon-caulk, or maybe spot remover. It's somewhat stronger in one room, but there's nothing in there that seems to be putting out the smell.
No one else lives there, so it's not caused by someone else. It's a freestanding house, and there's no smell detectable outside the house. There was no smell the day before. The heating system is hot water/radiator, so there are no ducts or vents.
He checked all the radiators - there was nothing touching them that could be melting or giving off this kind of smell. He checked all the outlets and electronics for shorts or overheating. There's a radon mitigation system in the crawlspace under half the house, but there was no smell in the crawlspace or the adjoining basement. There's been a lot of work going on in the manholes in the neighborhood and immediate area, but this odor is definitely not sewer gas (we don't know what kind of work they're doing).
The smell was bad enough that he wasn't comfortable staying there, and he's not much of an alarmist. It was still there this morning.
Any ideas of what the smell might be? Or, what kind of professional he'd call to find out?