Odd skunk smell inside the house

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Raybo
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Odd skunk smell inside the house

Postby Raybo » Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:03 pm

My wife and I have both complained recently of waking up to a skunk smell in our house. I live in San Francisco where there are skunks aplenty. Skunks are nocturnal, so I never see them around the house.

I know that skunks have an odor like their spray. To me, the smell is more the animal's usual odor and not a recent spray (say, against our house).

But, our house is on a cement slab and there are no ways under as far as I know. Thus, I don't think the skunks are actually living under our house.

This morning, I smelled the same odor outside, briefly.

Does anyone have any ideas where this smell might be coming from? It doesn't permeate the house but both my wife and I noticed it in the upstairs hall (2 stories above the ground and inside the house). There is an open window in the bathroom that connects to the hall but the skunk smell isn't in the bathroom.

It has me puzzled.

Ray
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Ever Ready
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Postby Ever Ready » Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:10 pm

Do you have natural gas heat? Could it be a gas leak?

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Swamproot
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Postby Swamproot » Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:32 pm

Something possibly off the wall here but....

Is it possible a neighbor is growing marijuana? You are talking about California, where it is probably as legal as it will ever get. Some very potent grades have a smell similar to a skunk with clever names like "Skunkamungus" and can be extremely pungent.

Don't ask me how I know this. :-)

Sekar
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Postby Sekar » Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:39 pm

Check your attic to see if you have an old boglehead hiding away up there. They often do that to save money on housing. After awhile they can smell like a skunk.

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Raybo
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Postby Raybo » Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:44 pm

I hadn't considered the marijuana angle (which i doubt).

As for the gas leak, I'll check but the odor isn't in a place with any gas pipes (the furnace is in the basement, and the stove is downstairs).

Thanks for the ideas, though.

Ray
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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HueyLD
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Postby HueyLD » Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:44 pm

Do you have a pet?

Might there be a dead skunk near your house?

Have you checked all cracks and gaps around your windows, doors and holes where wiring and plumbing enter the house?

If the smell persists for a few weeks, you may want to call a professional.

Charleville
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Postby Charleville » Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:13 pm

Look up hawks like skunks and may have a kill in a tree or was recently sprayed by a skunk.

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rustymutt
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Postby rustymutt » Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:33 pm

Swamproot wrote:Something possibly off the wall here but....

Is it possible a neighbor is growing marijuana? You are talking about California, where it is probably as legal as it will ever get. Some very potent grades have a smell similar to a skunk with clever names like "Skunkamungus" and can be extremely pungent.

Don't ask me how I know this. :-)


We have a lot of skunk weed growing in Kansas. The seeds fell off trains in the early previous century as the hemp plant was grown for the rope. It's everywhere they're was rails.
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likegarden
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Postby likegarden » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:06 pm

I once bought long life light bulbs which generated a lot of heat. I then had this dead animal smell in one room, and finally found out that this hot light bulb was slowly cooking a lighting fixture. I replaced these light bulbs and the lamp, and no more bad smell.

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roymeo
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Postby roymeo » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:20 pm

We thought someone was just having a party occasionally in our converted build loft space in SF in dogpatch, til someone left the water running: http://www.brokenoffcarantenna.com/roymeo/


If you live in one of those nice residential neighborhoods like the Sunset, you can't have been living there long to not know that many of your neighbors are growing. That nice old lady across the street doesn't have the gardener in once a week to take care of the back yard.
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gailcox
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Postby gailcox » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:29 pm

garlic. Once I had a few bulbs of garlic that were going bad and they had a skunk-like smell. Check your garlic bulbs. Good luck.

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rcshouldis
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Re: Odd skunk smell inside the house

Postby rcshouldis » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:59 pm

Raybo wrote:My wife and I have both complained recently of waking up to a skunk smell in our house. I live in San Francisco where there are skunks aplenty. Skunks are nocturnal, so I never see them around the house.

I know that skunks have an odor like their spray. To me, the smell is more the animal's usual odor and not a recent spray (say, against our house).

But, our house is on a cement slab and there are no ways under as far as I know. Thus, I don't think the skunks are actually living under our house.

This morning, I smelled the same odor outside, briefly.

Does anyone have any ideas where this smell might be coming from? It doesn't permeate the house but both my wife and I noticed it in the upstairs hall (2 stories above the ground and inside the house). There is an open window in the bathroom that connects to the hall but the skunk smell isn't in the bathroom.

It has me puzzled.

Ray


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Grt2bOutdoors
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Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:07 pm

Couple of thoughts - perhaps the wax seal on the toilet has disengaged from the base of the toilet allowing sewer gas to seep out.
Alternatively, do you have an attic? There may be a dead squirrel or raccoon up there that recently departed but left it's carcass for you to find.
One other idea - a local cat has been spraying it's pugent feral scents outside your abode.

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zaplunken
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Postby zaplunken » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:40 pm

Maybe you have an "Odd skunk inside the house" and it smells?

Or maybe someone cracked open a Balentine Ale?

pitt76
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Postby pitt76 » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:54 pm

I had an odor like that , that was permeating the house on both floors. It ended up being 5 dead mice inside the wall in a second floor closet. I called an exterminator who said he didn't handle this sort of thing, but referred me to a guy who takes care of wildlife problems. He came in ,looked around and zeroed right in on the problem. He cut two squares out of the drywall, removed them and repaired the drywall. The odor was stronger on the first floor but somehow, there were mice inside an indoor wall on the second floor. Go figure. The problem never reoccurred. If I were you I would look in the yellow pages under exterminators but get one specializing in wildlife, not guys that just spray.

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roymeo
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Postby roymeo » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:57 pm

pitt76 wrote: If I were you I would look in the yellow pages under exterminators


...after making sure it's just not the neighbors who share a light-well with you smoking up before bed.
The sewer system is a form of welfare state. | | -- "Libra", Don DeLillo

paulsiu
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Postby paulsiu » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:01 pm

As other mentioned, check for gas, leaking from cracks in the ground.

If it's not skunks, it could be stray cats peeing near your house.

Paul

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Sunflower
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Postby Sunflower » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:59 pm

I used to wake up in the morning smelling a heavy skunk smell. Turns out a skunk was passing by my window at that time each day. Do you have a tunnel entrance and it's passing through?

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Dan Moroboshi
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Postby Dan Moroboshi » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:47 pm

Maybe it's a dead critter in a wall.

This happened to us. We located the area where the smell was strongest, and cut a hole in the drywall.

Inside was a dessicated, decaying bird carcass. We never figured out exactly how it got in there, but it must have gotten into the attic and somehow made its way into the wall.

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TxAg
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Postby TxAg » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:13 pm

It's the beginning of skunk mating season. Sometimes males will spray other males while fighting over a female. Sometimes they'll spray at a dog, cat, etc. Could just be that you have an active backyard...the smell is certainly strong enough to get inside the house.

powyccommodore
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Skunk smell in San Francisco

Postby powyccommodore » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:46 pm

We moved to San Francisco in December 2010 and almost every time we walk around the city we get whiffs of a skunk smell. I'm from the mid-west and south and I KNOW the smell. It's not gas. It's not dead mice. It's not marijuana-- well, I'm not real up on weed smells. I think it's SKUNK.

I read here that skunks live in this urban area. Any confirmation of that? I
know I have seen foxes in downtown Washington, DC so I could believe skunks.

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Sunflower
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Re: Skunk smell in San Francisco

Postby Sunflower » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:00 pm

powyccommodore wrote:We moved to San Francisco in December 2010 and almost every time we walk around the city we get whiffs of a skunk smell. I'm from the mid-west and south and I KNOW the smell. It's not gas. It's not dead mice. It's not marijuana-- well, I'm not real up on weed smells. I think it's SKUNK.

I read here that skunks live in this urban area. Any confirmation of that? I
know I have seen foxes in downtown Washington, DC so I could believe skunks.


Confirmation that skunks are in San Francisco? Absolutely. I've had couple personal encounters with live skunks. A friend of mine has a skunk family living in his backyard. There are also raccoons, possums, and even coyotes and foxes (rarely see them though). But skunks and raccoons are definitely not an unusual sight -- particularly if you live near a park/greenbelt.

powyccommodore
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Re: Odd skunk smell inside the house

Postby powyccommodore » Sat Aug 01, 2015 4:46 pm

I noticed I posted a comment on this skunk smell 5 years ago. For what it's worth, I've never heard (except here) about skunks in downtown San Francisco in the 5 years I've been here. However, I HAVE heard of the marijuana that smells like a skunk. My urban skunk is definitely something smoked, not a spooked skunk. It's especially strong when passing someone who appears to be smoking a cigarette or passing a medical marijuana store. Absolutely no question about it...the urban skunk is weed.

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roymeo
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Re: Odd skunk smell inside the house

Postby roymeo » Sat Aug 01, 2015 5:13 pm

We definitely had real skunks around Dogpatch (the SF neighborhood east of Potrero Hill).
The sewer system is a form of welfare state. | | -- "Libra", Don DeLillo

JW-Retired
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Re: Odd skunk smell inside the house

Postby JW-Retired » Sat Aug 01, 2015 5:24 pm

Skunks in SF? Yep, probably. We live in Silicon Valley and had never ever seen a skunk around here for as long as we can recall. Raccoons and possums yes, but not skunks. Then I bought a critter camera to use at our cabin and tried it out at home first. Yikes. Skunks are traipsing through the yard every 3 or 4 nights! Much of the digging we thought was squirrels burying nuts was skunks digging for something.

They never seem to spray nearby. Also, they have to be living in someone's back yard as it's a long walk to the edge of town.
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scouter
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Re: Odd skunk smell inside the house

Postby scouter » Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:01 pm

Examine the area around your HVAC unit(s). Skunks like to burrow under the units, (even under a cement slab under the unit) to get under the house. They can get in through a tiny hole that doesn't look big enough for a squirrel. They're quiet, you might not hear them under there.

Dolob
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Re: Odd skunk smell inside the house

Postby Dolob » Sat Aug 01, 2015 10:31 pm

Have a toilet or shower you don't use? Water in the trap dissipates allowing sewer smell to come back up. Also, like someone mentioned above, check the toilet seals.

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BTDT
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Re: Odd skunk smell inside the house

Postby BTDT » Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:44 am

We had the smell coming from our porch. I threw a bunch of mothballs under the porch and that night mama skunk was seen hauling her two babies towards our neighbor's house. :D
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SimonJester
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Re: Odd skunk smell inside the house

Postby SimonJester » Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:40 am

Yes skunks live in urban areas. Also their smell travels a long way, our house was filled with skunk stink the other night we had to close up the windows. The next day we discovered the skunk, it had been run over by a car about a mile away from the house.

I found a dead one in the back yard (attacked by another animal) by far that was the worse smell ever. So bad in the house your eyes water and it becomes hard to breath. I cannot imagine getting sprayed by one.

Last years the wife and I were relaxing sitting in our yard swing with the dog quietly resting next to us, when all of the sudden a little black and white friend came trotting straight towards us. I jumped up grabbed the dog and ran back in towards the house, leaving my wife behind. Shortly she came running in behind me. Now as she tells the story I left her behind to fend for herself. As I see if I rescued her from certain doom, if the dog had seen the skunk he would have ran towards it to chance it and we would have all gotten it...
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin


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