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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    2

    Default Brand new home and unbearable smell

    Hi Guys,

    We moved into our brand new house in Charlotte, NC 4 months ago. There are 2 really strange smells going on and not sure if they are related. Whenever the heat or a/c is on the smell coming from all the vents (closed system) has a somewhat burnt ashes quality to it. Not like burning plastic or anything. I'm not talking about the kind of smell when heat first comes on. The other thing that is strange and I don't think related but when I open any of the windows the house gets a gnarly indescribable smell. But the air outside is fine. However if you dug up the dirt you would find it stinks really badly. We live on a former cow farm, back up to fairly dry wetlands, and the dirt is charcoal gray and yellowish brown. I've gotten a Remi Halo air purifier installed which doesn't help, and had the crawl encapsulated all to no avail. I'm desperate. We are going to a duct cleaning in 2 weeks but if that doesn't work we are going to have to move. We are still under warranty and have had all the trades come out but nobody can find anything wrong. Not a cracked pipe, nor is there a vent stack on the roof. So all I can think of is to clean the ducts. But I'm not too hopeful and can't really take it another day, I'm constantly having to go outside for fresh air. Thank you so much for helping me.

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    Last edited by Jackie Hayes; 08-29-2020 at 05:41 PM.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    2,934

    Default Re: Brand new home and unbearable smell

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackie Hayes View Post
    Hi Guys,

    We moved into our brand new house in Charlotte, NC 4 months ago. There are 2 really strange smells going on and not sure if they are related. Whenever the heat or a/c is on the smell coming from all the vents (closed system) has a somewhat burnt ashes quality to it. Not like burning plastic or anything. I'm not talking about the kind of smell when heat first comes on. The other thing that is strange and I don't think related but when I open any of the windows the house gets a gnarly indescribable smell. But the air outside is fine. However if you dug up the dirt you would find it stinks really badly. We live on a former cow farm, back up to fairly dry wetlands, and the dirt is charcoal gray and yellowish brown. I've gotten a Remi Halo air purifier installed which doesn't help, and had the crawl encapsulated all to no avail. I'm desperate. We are going to a duct cleaning in 2 weeks but if that doesn't work we are going to have to move. We are still under warranty and have had all the trades come out but nobody can find anything wrong. Not a cracked pipe, nor is there a vent stack on the roof. So all I can think of is to clean the ducts. But I'm not too hopeful and can't really take it another day, I'm constantly having to go outside for fresh air. Thank you so much for helping me.

    Jackie,

    That is a difficult one. We are home inspectors and are probably not going to be able to give you much information. Home inspectors are generalists, and this is outside the scope of our knowledge. I do know that interior paint and some floor coverings (pre-finished wood, carpet, laminate) will off-gas some unpleasant odors, but not to the level that you describe. Presumably, you are familiar with many of those odors already and would not be posting here in that case. In addition, the suspected source being at the exterior for one of the odors would rule-out interior pollutant sources.

    Do you have neighbors that have experienced anything similar?

    The only suggestion that I have at this point is to contact an industrial hygienist and see if he/she has any ideas. It seems to me that taking samples of interior air to test for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other pollutants would be a starting point. They should also be able to take soil samples as well as evaluate the ducting for contaminants.

    This type of survey does not come inexpensively though.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Brand new home and unbearable smell

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Jackie,

    That is a difficult one. We are home inspectors and are probably not going to be able to give you much information. Home inspectors are generalists, and this is outside the scope of our knowledge. I do know that interior paint and some floor coverings (pre-finished wood, carpet, laminate) will off-gas some unpleasant odors, but not to the level that you describe. Presumably, you are familiar with many of those odors already and would not be posting here in that case. In addition, the suspected source being at the exterior for one of the odors would rule-out interior pollutant sources.

    Do you have neighbors that have experienced anything similar?

    The only suggestion that I have at this point is to contact an industrial hygienist and see if he/she has any ideas. It seems to me that taking samples of interior air to test for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other pollutants would be a starting point. They should also be able to take soil samples as well as evaluate the ducting for contaminants.

    This type of survey does not come inexpensively though.
    That is a fantastic idea. I'm googling for some near me right now. Thank you so much!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    597

    Default Re: Brand new home and unbearable smell

    Curious if the home has any spray foam insulation.


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