Latest Discussions : Plumbing

SgtRock

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?

Thanks!

RayVinZant

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.

SgtRock

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.

????

mdj101

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.

Regards,

Mark

SgtRock

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.

SgtRock

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?

mdj101

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.

Regards,

Mark

SgtRock

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.

Thanks!!!

SgtRock

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!

mdj101

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

Regards,

Mark

BV001383

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.

BV003108

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.

BV005815

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.

BV008073

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.

BV010059

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!

BV010126

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

BV010151

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

BV010899

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!!!

BV011853

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

BV012011

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!

BV012517

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.

BV013558

10:35PM | 03/01/17
I just had the HVAC guy come out today with a large quote to not promise me anything. We had some electrical issues right before this occured so this might be hand in hand. If this is the case it will be a huge relief. Thank you all so much!!

Also any advice to ask/say to the electrician? Just telling him my HVAC smells like fish may not be enough :). Thanks again!

BV013720

12:13AM | 04/25/17
fishy smell out of blue in newer home, strong in one room. reading all these posts, we called our electrician and he says he's never heard of such a thing... fishy smell related to anything electrical. hmmm....

BV013853

11:02PM | 05/09/17
Unbelievable! I thew out a $140 heater assuming it was the cause. I was using it (when needed), plugged into a basement outlet for over a year before I started getting the "fish market effect". I switched to a smaller footprint heater that I knew did not smell upstairs, but obviously the same 1500W they all draw. Dam it if it didn't do the same thing. Hopefully it's just the outlet and not the wire going to it. The wife is officially annoyed that I threw out her heater. IMO? 1500W is fifteen-hundred Watts, that thing was just too big.

BV014778

02:48PM | 09/24/17
We have been having this issue of the phantom, what I was describing as wet a formaldehyde odor for the entire 3 years we've been in our current house. The odor would come and go with no apparent cause. You would go I to a room and it would hit you square in the face, like someone sprayed a 'mouse urine soaked insilation' scented air freshener in there. We would give it an hour or so and the smell would slowly fade. Sometimes the smell would stay gone for weeks or months. The issue was predominately in just two rooms of the house, but has made single apearance in a few other rooms, but not all. I tried to figure it out but I couldn't find anything the rooms had in common. One room is on the first floor the others on the second. One rooms is on the east side of the house, the other on the west side. One is a bedroom the other is an office. Neither room is near plumbing. I spent an entire year tracking the smell, recording what room it was in, who smelled it first, who had been in the room last, how many days since our cleaning lady had been there, inside temp, outside temp, cloudy or sunny, humidity, wind direction, wind speed, how many days since the last rain... After all that I couldn't isolate any pattern or specific condition. The only thing I thought they had in common was the HVAC,and the problem only seemed to plaque us during cooling season. We spent $2,500 on a new cooling system only to have the smell come back a week later. The worst part about it is the randomness, there's no way to have a Profesional come out exactly when it's happening. We were defeated. The next step was to tear out the carpet and pad under the assumption the previous owners pet urinated in there and the smell was in the subfloor. Thankfully I tride another round of Internet searching and found this post. After reading this post this morning when the smell had reapeared, I started taking apart and sniffing every outlet and switch in the room. Finally I got to the light fixture and *ding*ding*ding*, we have a winner. The back of the bulb socket smells like the source. I then checked the house and every room we have had the problem in has the same fixture. I'm off to get new fixtures and hope the problem is resolved. Fingers crossed.

BV015147

11:35PM | 11/16/17
I am glad to dind this post and replies. They have helped. Portable heater was melting in the outlet in my son's room.

Climateengineersflorida

10:28AM | 11/19/17
Member Since: 11/19/17
5 lifetime posts
Not the most popular subject of conversation, but the problem can be algae and mold. The two together are undesirable in any home but are apart of a normal operating system. The simple solution to combat the build up of algae and mold is routine seasonal introduction of bleach or recommended all purpose cleaner to the units drain line. Its a part of every spring system maintenance service and should be followed at least once a year. Simple enough, yet, unmaintained drains can cause extensive water damage if not properly accounted for and maintained. FYI, you don't have to be an expert, that's what we're here for.
Climate Engineers of Florida Air Conditioner repair in Crestview, Niceville, Fort Walton Beach, Shalimar, Valparaiso and Destin. Home to the $40 service charge and every job we performed can be financed for low monthly payments! Visit http://www.climateengineersflorida.com for home a/c repair.

Climateengineersflorida

10:32AM | 11/19/17
Member Since: 11/19/17
5 lifetime posts
This build here in the photo was in the condensate drain line and was causing a horrible fishy smell.
www.climateengineersflorida.com

BV015252

04:49PM | 12/04/17
Thank you so much! I found the outlet in less than a minute
Me and housemates thought it was our upstairs neighbours cooking really smelly fish haha

BV015370

11:43PM | 12/27/17
Wow, thank you a bunch! I noticed a fish smell a couple days after some fish being cooked in the house. Strangely, it was in the family room so I went all over the room looking for piece a fish the cats may have dragged from the kitchen trash. Read your post and went directly to the spot the smell was the strongest, felt the nearest electrical outlet and it was extremely hot to touch with a bare hand! I've now got the breaker off in the room and headed to the hardware store to buy a new outlet. Thank you for pointing this out....very true correlation between fishy smell and bad electrical outlet....may have saved a house fire!

BV015819

02:55PM | 03/01/18
Had this smell for a few days smell got worse I read this post checked my outlet where it was strongest and the outlet was half melted we were just about to go out too for an extended period of time

Daryl

08:37PM | 09/11/18
Member Since: 09/11/18
1 lifetime posts
Good info, I have done a few inspections for homeowners complaining of odors and found in a few cases that the source of fish odors was overheating breaker panels. Here is my info on the subject.

https://www.floridamoldtesting.net/florida-mold-articles/fish-odors-in-homes/

BV017695

10:26PM | 10/15/18
Wow....this post thread may have saved my family’s life. Came home from work and house smelled like a fish fry. Looked all over and couldn’t find the source. Was getting ready for a Halloween season with decorations so I smelled all the totes and baskets. No luck.
Opened windows. Lit candles. Checked air duct return vents. Smell slightly improved but was still a bit worried about this strange odor.
That’s when I googled this issue. Found this site and this thread. With other decorations yesterday, I installed a few black lights. Have installed them in previous years, but this was a bit earlier. After reading the post, I decided to check the one flood light. The inside plastic baffle was completely turning brown and burn colored. Smelled like......yup......fish. Yikes. So thank goodness it smelled but how scary that the house could have burned down. We have used this black light in the past but usually only for the party. I am officially guilty of being too prepared and installing in too quickly. Either way, we’re done with black lights in our house. Just thought it was my duty to post this in case this story might help someone else the way the one post helped/saved my house and family.

BV017879

12:33PM | 11/05/18
I lived in a rental property for about six months before I noticed an intermittent fishy, rancid oil odor. I could not pin down the source. I have moved and noticed the same odor after being in the new property for two weeks. There are two items of furniture in the room in which I smell the odor now that were also in the same room where I smelled the odor in the rental property. One of which is a table lamp. Also, the electrical panels in the old and new place were/are both located in closets in the rooms where I noticed the odor. Any ideas?

BV018165

05:33AM | 12/09/18
Yep! Smelled fish, read this, and sure enough it was a space heater and the slow browning/ burning electrical outlet that it was plugged into causing the smell. Thank you very much for this post.

BV019247

07:56PM | 05/06/19
We only smell it under the sink in one bathroom, like a dead animal. We checked the outlets and light but all wires look good and no problems. Could it be an actual dead animal for us? Seems to get worse when it warms up too. Any thoughts would be very appreciated as I cant sleep with worry and cant afford an electrician right now :( fangedfem@yahoo.com

BV019800

09:43PM | 07/19/19
So glad I came across these posts. We had occasional fishy/urine smell in one room more noticable on hot/humid days. Also, seemed stronger towards ceiling area. We feared It might be rodents or something dead in the ceiling, then I stumbled across the many replies concerning wiring. I was very sceptical, but figured I'd give it it try. Went and took down the ceiling light and sniffed it, SURE ENOUGH THE SOCKETS SMELLED LIKE FISHY/URINE! Couldn't believe it.


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