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Strange house odor only when sun shines through front foyer window

Strange house odor only when sun shines through front foyer window


  #1  
Old 03-07-15, 10:54 AM
R
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Unhappy Strange house odor only when sun shines through front foyer window

Hi, We have been living in our house for 3-1/2 years. About 6 months ago we noticed a strange odor that first appears on the 2nd floor of our foyer as soon as the sun begins to shine brightly through the 2nd story foyer window. The odor goes away as soon as the sun has moved past the window about 5 hours later. On cloudy days there is no odor. The odor first appears and is strongest at the top of the stairs across from the foyer window on the 2nd floor. However, within a few hours the odor moves about the house into the open areas on the first and second floor. The odor is not present in any of the rooms on the 2nd floor or 1st floor with their doors closed and blinds down in all of these rooms. Their is no odor in the basement, garage, or attic. The odor is only present in the open areas of the house. This has been going on every day the sun shines brightly through the foyer window for the past 6 months. The smell has not changed in intensity and we have not done anything differently in the past 6 months. We are terribly frustrated at not being able to locate the source of the odor and greatly appreciate any helpful advice you may be able to provide. Thanks.
 

Last edited by Romie; 03-07-15 at 11:17 AM.
  #2  
Old 03-07-15, 11:19 AM
B
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Hi Romie and welcome to the forum.
Some background, air infiltration during heating season usually comes in somewhere low in the house and leaks back out high. Basement smells get pulled into the living space. Yours seems to be backwards.

Was there when the house was built or has there been any spray foam insulation installed in that front area where you are getting the smell?

Have you repainted that area?

I ran out of questions .

Bud
 
  #3  
Old 03-07-15, 12:30 PM
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Hi Bud,
Thanks for your quick response. In May 2014, about 6 months prior to first noticing the odor in October 2014, I did repaint the front door with a semi-gloss enamel. I also had made a small repair (3" by 4") to an area of rotted trim between the front door and the exterior glass door with DAP plastic wood filler. It gets extremely hot between these 2 doors as you can imagine with the sun beating. However, when I open the front door any time the odor is present, there is absolutely no odor in between the doors, even if I put my nose right over the repaired area. There is also no odor next to the door. Also, it was 6 months after the DAP repair before we first noticed the odor. (and you can't miss it)

I did notice outside of the front door on the exterior porch trim, the prior owner did make a small 4" x 4" repair to some rotted wood trim with some type of hardening material (possibly spray foam). However, that repair outside was at least 3 years prior to the odor first being noticed.
 
  #4  
Old 03-07-15, 12:46 PM
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You mentioned rotted wood twice. If it was repaired, there is the possibility the cause was not. In a 2 story home, that infiltration I spoke about could entering at the front door height and air that leaks in can seep through those areas of rotted wood.

Does the house have a basement below the front entrance?

Next sunny morning you could try leaving the front door open and just leave the glass door closed. If there is a big gap at the bottom of the glass door, jut roll up a towel and block it. That will eliminate that oven between the doors and if the odor is a result of that space heating up, you should notice a difference.

How old is the house?

Bud
 
  #5  
Old 03-07-15, 01:41 PM
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Bud, I believe the cause of the rot was due to rain water getting behind the exterior porch trim so I examined it carefully last spring and caulked anywhere there were gaps for the water to get in. I also checked the rest of the wood and did not find any additional rot other than the exterior small section the previous owner repaired and the small section between the doors that I repaired last spring. (the two sections backed to one another) There are no other areas of rotting wood left that I was able to detect. I have also been monitoring the area for further damage.

There is a full basement and it is below the foyer ( but ends right below front door). The house is just over 12-1/2 years old. The prior owner mentioned on the disclosure about the having a water leak around the front door, however, we had been living in the house for 3 years without any odors.

That is a good idea about leaving front door open. I will try that tomorrow or the next sunny day. Thanks for your helpful advice.
 
  #6  
Old 03-16-15, 07:03 AM
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In our previous house we had a similar situation where the sun shining on the front door which also had a fullview glass storm door in front of it caused it to literally bake. On the days of full sun you could smell also a burning paint smell within the house. I know you said you smelled the door and it you can't locate the issue but what does the odor smell like - paint, wood, rot?
 
 

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