Any ideas what could cause penicillin smell in open windows? UPDATE

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Posted 4/10/2011 by Sarah*H in NSBR Board
 

Sarah*H
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Posted: 4/10/2011 12:08:06 PM
I continue to get peamails from people with a similar problem who google and see this thread and want to know if we found a solution.

The end result is that it seems like it was something in the paint. The contractor repainted the first floor and we no longer have the problem on that floor. This was my husband's suspicion from the beginning (he used to own a paint company and believed that the painters did something bad in the thinner used for the paint sprayer) but it took awhile to finally come to agreement on a solution.

We did lots of trial and error, considered the laminate flooring, something in the window sealant, insulation, water proofing outside. We had an environmental testing person come out several times and had industrial air cleaners brought in. Repainting finally fixed the problem.

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Our house was built over the winter. Once the days started warming up and we would occasionally have the windows open, we noticed a pencillin smell. We are now certain the penicillin smell happens whenever a window is opened in the house.

It does not smell outside. If you stand on the outside of the open window, you can't smell it. The windows themselves don't smell. The walls don't smell. But the odor when the window is open is overwhelming.

We had our construction manager in here on Friday to smell it and he is baffled; says he's built 190 homes and never had anything like this before. He's going to call in some other people to smell it and see if they can figure it out.

I've googled, checked out the complaints website for this builder - our problem really seems to be unique. Have any of you heard of something like this or have some idea what might be causing it?



scoobers
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Posted: 4/10/2011 12:13:34 PM
Black mold?



schooby
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Posted: 4/10/2011 12:13:49 PM
Penicillin is mold??? maybe when you open the windows, you are breaking the seal and mold from inside the walls is being released??

Sarah*H
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Posted: 4/10/2011 12:19:58 PM
Mold inside the wall cavity does seem to be a possibility but I'd be surprised if it's already in every wall of the house. I'm wondering about the insulation. Still, those windows are air tight - we had that energy seal testing done - so I'm not sure why we'd smell something from the wall cavity when they were open and not any other time.



marycain
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Posted: 4/10/2011 12:24:48 PM
Do you have any plants or new landscaping right outside that window? We did some landscaping last fall, and the mulch we used had a yucky, strong smell that we noticed when we opened the windows over that side of the house. The smell wasn't noticeable outside - I guess the open air dissipated the odor - but the air coming in through the window stunk. We ended up taking up all that mulch and replacing it.

Sarah*H
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Posted: 4/10/2011 12:35:40 PM
No, our yard hasn't been graded or seeded yet. Just mud.



*Michelley*
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Posted: 4/10/2011 2:40:46 PM
Like others, my first guess would be mold. Hope you are able to get it figured out.


Michelle
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someone whose life has given them vodka...and have a party" - Ron White


PghScrapper
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Posted: 4/10/2011 3:36:36 PM

Do you have any plants or new landscaping right outside that window? We did some landscaping last fall, and the mulch we used had a yucky, strong smell that we noticed when we opened the windows over that side of the house. The smell wasn't noticeable outside - I guess the open air dissipated the odor - but the air coming in through the window stunk. We ended up taking up all that mulch and replacing it.

This is similar to what I was thinking - another organic from outside that can smell bad like that is mushroom manure - and that's a strong smell that can carry some distance.

How close are the neighbors, and do they have relatively new landscaping??


-----------------------------------------
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. -Eleanor Roosevelt

schooby
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Posted: 4/10/2011 3:48:05 PM
another thought - Chinese drywall?? it was a BIG problem in Louisiana & Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina

Sarah*H
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Posted: 6/4/2012 8:25:37 PM
I am bumping this to update because I still get peamails from people with the same problem!



Nicole in TX
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Posted: 6/4/2012 9:27:24 PM
Interesting. I am glad you figured it out. Nothing worse than a new house with something wrong so that you can't enjoy it.


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