We're trying to track the origin of a very putrid smell in our condominium. We have a loft type home, which means two floors with a drywall ceiling between the first and second floor.
I first noticed a subtle odor in the kitchen, which is not an uncommon place to notice subtle odors. I checked the usual suspects:
- Something in the bottom of the trash bin
- Something rotting away behind an appliance
- Something putrid stuck in the sink trap
- Something rotting away in a cupboard
While we are guilty of all of the above and have removed the offending artifacts, the odor persists weeks later and grows in intensity. I realized that the odor seems the strongest from the stock room built under our stairway directly facing and adjacent to our kitchen, in which all ceiling joists for the downstairs level arrive unfinished.
I cleaned out the stockroom, expecting to find the remains of a mouse, but to my dismay there was only one partially dead insect that I quickly dispatched. The odor seems to be emanating from something existentially challenged somewhere in our ceiling.
I've done the following:
- 'sniff tested' the end of each joist where I can get access to do so. The smell seems to be coming from everywhere.
- Used a flashlight to peer as far down each joist to joist channel as possible, I can't see anything that could be causing this.
- Removed and replaced some lighting fixtures in in order to get a better view of what might be in the neighborhood
- Sent a fish tape through every opening I can find hoping to reel in, or at least determine the location of the cause
- Duct taped every opening between joists in the pantry area. One by one, eventually all.
The smell keeps getting worse.
What, beyond cutting holes in the ceiling all over my first floor can I do to pinpoint the source of this annoyance? Is there some sort of chemical test or something else I can get to narrow down the location and unfortunate source of this smell?