My wife told me a few weeks ago that there was a funny smell in the wall near our kitchen table. I had an upper respiratory infection at the time, so I couldn’t smell it. And then it was finals week, my new job started, and general life happening, so I had no time to address the issue. But we’re coming up on Nathan’s birthday (and mine), so we are going to have people in the house, and the smell was obvious even to me by this point. As my dad would say, “Something died, and did NOT go to heaven!”
Today was my last day of adult health clinicals (yaay!), and I got home around 3pm. When I got home, I noticed our kitchen whiteboard (which we use as a general “to do list” looked like this:
I got my extra large X-acto knife, my hammer, my iPhone flashlight, and I got busy. First I smelled along the wall for where the smell was strongest. I unscrewed the electrical outlet box to see if I could get to it through that hole, but there was no smell inside the box. Next I used my stud finder to locate the studs in the general area of the smell, and cut a hole in the drywall between those two vertical studs. As I lifted the drywall rectangle away, the smell was stronger, and the insulation looked “lived in” if you know what I mean. I pulled the insulation out, and sure enough, there was a bunch of black “stuff” at the base of the frame inside the wall. After pulling that stuff out, I noticed the hole in the corner of the outer insulation sheet that the animal (mouse? Vole? Whatever) used to get in.
I washed the studs a few times with lysol, soap, and water, and then caulked the hole shut. There is now a fan pointed at the hole to dry the boards and set the caulking.
Tomorrow I will nail some 2×4’s in place and replace the drywall, plaster, sand, and paint.
I am happy to say that the stench is no more.