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Machinc, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 920
Experience:  Has written home improvement articles since 2008. Earned South Carolina Residential Builders License in 1991.
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We moved into a house this July. There was a strong chemical

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We moved into a house this July. There was a strong chemical smell in a room that has just been painted. The previous owner said she had smelled the smell but her husband hadn't. We researched the paint possibility. Valspar's reps came out and smelled the paint. Not paint. Not new carpet. I used the room for awhile and became ill. Fatigue nausea general run down feeling and had laryngitis. That would not go away. I could not smell the smell. My husband suggested room is toxic. I moved my things out of the room. I started feeling better the next day. Now we stay out of the room and have a sheet under the door. But now my husband says he thinks the smell is spreading. ? Electrical something being? ?? Any ideas
If the room has duct heat and air remove the
register cover and smell inside the duct work.
If that is where the smell is coming from there may
be mice dead or alive in the duct work.
Also check at the main unit for odor.
If this is the problem duct work will have to be open
and cleaned or replaced depending on type
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I understand what you are saying about the duct and the dead or alive move. However I know the smell of dead animals and this is not it. The smell is much like fingernail polish or remover.

I was thinking more like ammonia.
Possibly a vandal poured something into the duct .
You also mentioned painters.
If a large amount of lacquer thinner was spilled
on the floor and then carpeted over it would smell
like that and would really have been hard for the
person who spilled it to clean it up.
What you have described sounds like it.
You could smell some at a paint store
To confirm.
You may have to smell the carpet to find the
spot . Then pull the carpet up and there should've
an obvious smell and a stain on the floor.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I hear you. But, this is where the mystery comes in. The room was painted by a friend, there is no paint on the carpet nor any spots of ruined carpet. The carpet has not been replaced.

It was the room of a 12 year-old girl. I had wondered about fingernail polish remover? and it reacted with the pad of the carpet? But the carpet would have been eaten by the same acetone that got the pad as it is a non-natural fiber.

My main concern is why is the room toxic!!!!

Do you think the duct work theory with a vandal
or a child throwing something in it .
I know you must have checked everything
How about something that spilled In the attic insulation.
Possibly in the ceiling light fixture.
Inside closet upper shelf at the back.
I'm just throwing out areas where we have found
weird stuff.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

David, I don't know how this just answer works, however to check out these possibilities will take some time. Meanwhile, could this cause a toxic reaction?

There is no ductwork on the floor, only in the ceiling.

Nor is there a closet uppershelf in the back. why would the smell seem to go away with the window open, but the toxic is still there?



The air would dilute the odor wherever it is coming from
with the windows open but when closed it would build back
Since there is a duct in the ceiling I would
go the source of the duct work at the furnace or
AC and see if there is any odor there.
You can take your time there is no rush .
I will be glad to answer any questions you
may have.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We will check out the duct in the ceiling.I have a question would not the ductwork effect the whole house?

If the source is in the attic probably not.
Did you say it is starting to creep into other parts of
the house.
It could be a variety of things.
Plastic ductwork could have been eaten by something
spilled on it in the attic. Metal duct work wouldn't melt but something
sitting on it could have spilled and leaked into it.
Smelling the duct at either end
might help to find the source.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

nothing has turned up yet.

This is quite a mystery but it has to be somewhere
. Don't give up ,
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

the 15 dollars is spent.

the solution that we have decided on so far is close the room a sheet under the door and move when our lease is up.

and hope the smell does not show up anywhere else. If it does we will break the lease and find another home.

without a smell.

Thank you for your time, David

Sorry we did not do better.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

One other thought, who might we have come by and Figure out our mystery . Some type of Contractor but what?


You would need a haz mat expert.
Hazardous Material Expert
They should be in your local area.


This would be one of the companies that removes
asbestos. Since you are renting seems your landlord
would be handling this problem.
I will be glad to answer any other questions you may have.

Please remember the way experts receive any credit for spending time with customers is if you click on OK, GOOD or EXCELLENT. Thanks

Just checking back to see if you have had any
positive results with your problem


Machinc and other Home Improvement Specialists are ready to help you
If you have any other questions I will be glad to help.

Hoping by now the problem with the chemical odor in your
place has been resolved.


Please remember the way experts receive any credit for spending time with customers is if you click on OK, GOOD or EXCELLENT. Thanks

I will be glad to answer any other problems you may have.'