06:39PM | 06/02/05
Member Since: 06/01/05
25 lifetime posts
My best guess in this is a plumbing problem, but maybe not.

Every night, from about 9:30 to 10:00 or so, we get a fishy smell in our upstairs hallway, which is near our bathroom. It's very difficult to locate where exactly it's originating from.

Help! I have no idea what this is. A clue might be (hopefully not a red herring) that the water to our downstairs bathroom is shut off b/c of a leaky toilet.

Any ideas what this might be?



05:05AM | 06/09/05
Member Since: 08/29/04
227 lifetime posts
Smells can come from all sorts of problems. You could have a vent thats blocked, which forces sewer gas up into the home every time a toilet is flushed. If you have galvanized piping, you could have a broken vent inside the wall that is leaking sewer gas into the home. You could have a toilet that is not set properly and the gasket is leaking allowing sewer gas into the home. You could have mold growing inside the walls because of the moisture in the bathroom or a leak. You could have a dead rodent inside the walls. The list is endless. It will take some diagnostics on site to find the problem.

Raymond VinZant Plumbing Prof.


05:45AM | 06/09/05
Member Since: 06/01/05
25 lifetime posts
I will look into this. I think I'll have a plumber friend come over and take a look.

It's driving us crazy!

There is a bad seal on a toilet, but it's the one downstairs (another location) and we keep that door closed. I don't smell anything in that room.

We started running our air conditioning. (previously we ran no heat or air)

The smell came in the morning for the 1st time instead of at night once we did this.



06:43PM | 06/11/05
Member Since: 06/10/05
3 lifetime posts
Hi There,

OK, your not very clear here. Does this happen when you run the air conditioning unit or other "high load" appliance?

A fishy smell is most commonly caused by the burning or melting of the outer casing of high current electrical cables. Its often the case with electric showers, cookers or air con units. I would get an electrician to test these units and the connections in your home asap.




07:15PM | 06/11/05
Member Since: 06/01/05
25 lifetime posts
Like I mentioned, we just recently started running the air conditioner and only then the time changed when we smelled it.

We don't notice a correlation between the smell and running anything else.

A friend told me yesterday that some of the new freons smell like fish when mixed with certain gases, and that we might have a leak that is mixing with something else (I forget the technicals) and when the house decompresses the smell comes through one of the vents.

I'll try to get them all checked out.


07:21PM | 06/11/05
Member Since: 06/01/05
25 lifetime posts
Could that fishy smell come from the electric wiring from a hallway ceiling light?


06:21AM | 06/12/05
Member Since: 06/10/05
3 lifetime posts
Yes it could,

Its not just the casing of the cables that can make the smell, if there is a loose connection and this is touching the plastic casing on a ceiling rose, switch or socket this can cause the plastic to get hot, its this that then releases the smell.

Check the ceiling roses, switches etc, and see if any of them appear to be warm, or unscrew the ceiling roses to check for burn marks / damage, remember to turn of the breaker to the relevant circuit first.

If you are unsure, then always consult a competant or qualified electrician.




09:08AM | 06/12/05
Member Since: 06/01/05
25 lifetime posts
I will check that today.

Hopefully there is something a newbie amateur like me can find, otherwise I'll take your advise and get a qualified technician.



05:20PM | 06/12/05
Member Since: 06/01/05
25 lifetime posts
We narrowed it down.

It was the overhead ceiling light in the hallway.

Thanks to God our house hasn't burned down over these past 2 months.

Thanks again everyone!


11:37PM | 06/12/05
Member Since: 06/10/05
3 lifetime posts
Glad I could be of help!




09:37PM | 06/22/13
I have a fishy smell in 2 rooms and the hallway of my house. I notice the A/C vents are dripping water and the ceiling is soft near it.


01:43PM | 01/25/14
Fish Smell Problem Solved, look no further! I would like to save you the hours of research I had to spend on resolving my "fish smell" problem coming from my air vents. Know that 9 out of 10 times the strange fish smell is coming from a burning electrical outlet or wire or a circuit somewhere in the house. I know it sounds strange, but I've learned that most electronic shielding and plastic components are made with a certain kind of chemical that makes it high heat resistant. This chemical in the plastic releases a strange "fish" or "urine" smell when it's cooking. I spent hours researching this and found that almost every single person that mentioned the "fish smell" all came to the conclusion that there was a cooking electrical outlet, wire or circuit somewhere in the house. In my case, the odor smelled like a combination of fish and urine. It was horrible. I was convinced that a mouse got into my air ducts and either urinated or died. No one could talk me out of this theory at the time. I read many posts and laughed at the people claiming it was an electrical problem because I'm familiar with the unmistakable odor that comes from burning electronics that has no similarity to fish or urine. Well sure enough, I found the problem. It was a cooking circuit breaker in my circuit board cabinet. Apparently, my central air HVAC system was working extra hard to keep the house warm during a brutal cold front for several days. This caused the circuit breaker to overhead and cook. I had an electrician swap it out for a new one and the smell was gone. Total cost $65.00. Before finding where the smell was coming from, I was ready to spend thousands on exterminators, air-duct cleaning and air-conditioning heating company to service my unit. Wow was I relieved the problem cost me so little. My advice to anyone with the infamous "Fish Smell" should start by smelling the breakers in the circuit board and then work your way to smelling every single electrical outlet in the home including light fixtures on the ceiling. There's definitely something cooking somewhere and you'll find it. If not, then that's not good because you probably have an electrical wire cooking somewhere in the wall and that can cause a fire. Well, hope my story and advice will come in handy to someone out there with the same problem.


10:27AM | 09/26/14
OMG... thank u for your post! We as well thought it was a dead animal under my house. It ended up being the outlet next to my dresser 2 hot wires were running in it with 1 neutral and it could have started an electrical fire.We are in the process of updating our panel. We still cant believe it. Again thank you.


12:31AM | 06/14/15
Thank you! The kids room smelt so bad. I thought they had snuck something into the room and left it there to rot, or that something got into the window AC and died. After reading this I realized the window AC was plugged into the same outlet. I took the sleeping kids out of the room and unplugged everything from the outlet. This post could have prevented a disaster! I'm calling an electrition first thing tomorrow.


02:13AM | 01/09/16
Thank you so much for the post. All of a sudden a fishy smell in the hallway. When my Husband gave up, I went online and found your post. We could of had a fire if not for this post. It was an outlet. Funny thing the Electirian is coming tomorrow. What a blessing. Thank you again!


12:58PM | 01/14/16
When was the last time the women in your home saw a GYN??

Fishy smells and women go hand in hand


12:29PM | 01/16/16
Really? How old are you?


11:20PM | 03/15/16
Thank you so much for your post! I work at a hotel and we were having the worst time with a "fishy" smell in the lobby. After tearing EVERYTHING apart and cleaning, we still couldn't find anything. I never would have thought burning plastic or hot wire would smell like fish! It never even crossed my mind. It wasn't until coming across this post that we started inspecting all the electrical outlets. The culprit: a small space heater plugged in behind the desk! Upon removing the outlet, we found it had completely burned through, we just narrowly missed having a major electrical fire at the hotel!!!


08:46PM | 06/06/16
I can't figure out what or where this horrible fish smell is coming from. I starting smelling it in my kids room, I thought they had left food in there but no. It comes amd goes though, one day it'll be umbareable around 12pm,2pm and if it's hot out.Then the next day nothing. I checked all the outlets and light fixture nothing is hot or smells or smoking. I just went to put my central ac on today and as soon as I did the smell came pouring into my room from the ac vent in the ceiling and by the way the rooms are separated with a bathroom in between them. It was so horrible I shut it off immediately but then I went in their room and it didn't smell. This has been going on for at least amonth now and it'll happen during f the day when the kids r in school and nothing electronically is on in the room. And it happened way before the ac incident. Please help me I need to figure this out


01:27AM | 06/21/16
This post is a total blessing! Wow thank God I found this because it was my ceiling fan light over heating and causing the smell. Thank you!


07:25AM | 08/11/16
Thanks to your post, you saved me from a house fire which would've started in the walls. I was going around on my hands and knees sniffing each plug, like I was a K-9 looking for narcotics. Called fire department and sure enough, that was the problem. Thank you and I'm going to dance at your wedding if your not married yet.
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