Strange dirty trash smell ?

I had a strange request yesterday to help a homeowner track down what he calls a “dirty trash smell”. He says he’s had an HVAC guy check out to check the furnace, a plumber check out the sewer system and crawlspace, and nobody can identify where the smell is coming from. My wife said at her office they found a dead mouse in the cold air return and it turned out to be a source of a similar smell. I’m beginning to think this might be the same and the HVAC guy did not check the cold air return . And that the plumber did not look for anything other than sewer smells and crawlspace. I know there could be a million reasons. I’m going to make me up a checklist before you go next week. Any suggestions ??

Check the ducts as you have mentioned, and also check for water intrusion, could be something growing somewhere.

Possibly a dead critter, somewhere in the walls, attic, under the home, etc…

I hear these batards are worse than squirrels…

check the obvious mice, dead animal but we were at a house that had a package of meet that fell out of a basement refrigerator that after it began to fermente the smell was like nothing else


Yea Jeff, sometimes it makes me reall proud. and we ain’t got no hills here, so you cain’t call us hillbillys…

“Each year, the Douglas Chamber of Commerce also issues thousands of jackalope hunting licenses, despite rules specifying that the hunter cannot have an IQ higher than 72 and can hunt only between midnight and 2 a.m. each June 31st”

I had a refrigerator with a bottom mounted coil and drip catch pan.

A mouse had crawled in the pan and died creating a smell.

This went on for several weeks before we figured it out.

Apparently every time the fan would come on under the refer it would blow stink into the room.

Good luck.

Had it been previously inspected by a member of the mini-minneapolis association? :wink:


I was afraid to ask, Nick, Hey, You & Ben, & Jonas will have to come up sometime & go Jack-A-Lope huntin’ with us…

I had a client that had a bad smell to after she moved in. I went back over and it took a while but I finally found it.

The movers had put frozen meat in her curio cabinet drawer and did not take it out. After about a week or so the bad smell. Rotten meat in the drawer.

That was a first for me.

I know that girl. :mrgreen:

No doubt

Be sure to check around the outside of the home too. We had a situation a few years back with a horrible smell that permeated our kitchen (no it wasn’t the wife’s cooking :wink: ).

The exterior wall of the kitchen is a bump out, which extends about 2 feet over our back patio. I eventually found a snake that had swallowed a golf ball made its way under the overhang and died in the leaves.

And I thought doing septic tank inspections smelled bad. Talk about a smell that would gag a maggot!

thanx for the ideas all.