Help me destink my parents' newly-bought house
February 17, 2010 6:56 PM Subscribe
My parents have just bought a house and now realize it has a smell of unknown origin. Ideas on things to do or people to contact to help get rid of it?
posted by geekgirl397 to home & garden (12 answers total)
My parents have just bought a house in Bellingham, Washington.
They were aware of a few ... odor ... problems with the property but now the sale has closed they are extremely aware of a very bad smell indeed that seems to be coming from the (attached) garage.
Luckily they have a few more weeks on their rental so they have some space to take remedial action.
They've gone over the whole place with a UV light and found a few minor spots on the carpets inside the house (which they intend to replace anyway) but the epicenter of the awful pong does seem to be the concrete-floored garage. Nothing shows up under UV in there.
The house has been vacant for a little while and owned by various realtors. The last residents did apparently have some combination of cats and dogs and the first thought was that a dog had been kept in the garage and allowed to relieve itself in there. But the lack of evidence under UV would appear to belie that.
Another possibility is one or more dead rodents trapped somewhere or other ... prior to the sale, rat poison had been left around and the property inspector made a comment to the effect that it wasn't a good idea as the rats would eat it and then go off to die and rot inside the house.
I guess my question is threefold:
1.) Any suggestions on better ways of tracking down the source of the smell?
2.) Assuming the source can't be found, are there ways of remediating an unknown odor? (I'm thinking air purifiers, activated charcoal ...what else?)
3.) I imagine there must be some "stink professionals" out there somewhere that could help with this situation. If the alternative is demolition/reconstruction, hiring even a spendy third party might make financial sense. Anyone aware of anyone in the Bellingham/PNW area that could help with this?
The sale has already gone through and as I mentioned my parents were aware of the problem beforehand - it's just a bit worse than they realized. They really like the house otherwise and are very secure, financially, so it's really a question of resolving this in the best way without hurrying into anything or cutting unnecessary corners.
(I really don't want to hear that they made a mistake: that may be so, but it's done now and I'm looking for solutions).