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  1. #1
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    Burnt toast odor?

    Has anyone ever dealt with this smell inside their house? I came home to this smell after only being away from the house about an hour. I hadn't cooked anything all day. The smell was coming from my kitchen, so I checked my plugged in appliances, inside the dishwasher, stove, microwave, underneath the sink - nothing. It was limited to my kitchen. After checking around the rest of the house, I finally gave in and called the fire department because I didn't want to deal with the smoke detectors or security system later.

    The first question they asked after I explained the situation was if I had turned on my heat/furnace today to which I answered no because our a/c was actually still coming on upstairs in the afternoon. So they sent a unit out.

    They immediately determined there wasn't any smoke and that it wasn't smoke related and one likened the smell to Subway and the other to something spoiled or dead. I explained that we had had leaky plumbing problem in the bathroom above and the ceiling had been patched recently but that I was about to call in a work order with the builders to take care of the wall in the bathroom that had had the problem before our 1 year warranty, which is coming up. I also mentioned that our neighbor had just had their 1 year warranty inspection and the inspector had found standing water under their house. Anyway, the firefighters were great went in the lowcrawl space for nothing - didn't find any moisture or anything dead! Just sorry they had to come out for something that turned out to be non-firerelated.

    When I googled the burnt toast smell I found some interesting descriptions on metafilter from some people that lived in an industrial area in LA. It's amazing how perception of smell differs. I think that's why it's so hard to find information about it on google. Anyway here are some of the examples: hotdog water, skunks, whiskey distillery, coffee roasting, a cross between toast and puke, hot metal, welding, compost.

    Sorry this was so long. This has been driving me crazy. I'm not even sure how to bring it up to the builders, since smell is kind of relative and can kind of come and go. Will they just think I'm crazy?!

    TIA

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    My guess is that the builder will say he doesn't smell a thing, even if it smells like a garbage pit in your house. He's not going to look around for things to fix. You are going to have to show him the problem.

    Is there any food around your house that might be causing the odor? I had a bag of potatos that were hidden under a pile of grocery bags in my pantry. It took me forever to find that weird smell.

    You could have a mold inspector check out your house. Leaks and mold can smell really odd depending on what is getting wet - drywall, insulation, wood, etc.

    Electrical issues can smell weird too, but I think the fireman would have mentioned if it smelled electrical.

    Weird smells. One of the many joys of being a homeowner.

  3. #3
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    Hmmmmm.....Now you've got me thinking.

    This time of year, the nights can get very cool, about 35 degrees F, and midday 65-70 F and the sun very strong. I've noticed a burnt toast/slightly metallic-like smell for a couple of hours only in the late afternoon and only when the sun is out; it doesn't occur on cloudy days with similar temps. It subsides around sunset time.

    The odor seems to be coming from two heating units. My guess is some material does not like to be brought down to a low temperature only to be essentially "heated up" hours later.

    When I do turn the heating on, usually in November, the problem goes away. The smell also does not occur in the summer when it's always hot. Not sure about the spring, it was too long ago.

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    I thought it meant you were having a seizure. I sense it the odd time and always wondered if it was this:

    In Canada there used to be this little segment that would air on tv. It was a 'heritage moment' thing...that the doctor in it was Canadian. Anyway, this woman would have seizures and just before she would smell burnt toast.

    That's the big quote here..."I smell...burnt toast!" Anyway, in the segment he performs surgery on her. Removes part of her skull (she's conscious) and touches parts of her brain until he finds the section where she says "Dr. Penfield...I smell...burnt toast!"


    http://www.histori.ca/minutes/minute.do?ID=10211

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auntie View Post
    My guess is that the builder will say he doesn't smell a thing, even if it smells like a garbage pit in your house. He's not going to look around for things to fix. You are going to have to show him the problem.

    Is there any food around your house that might be causing the odor? I had a bag of potatos that were hidden under a pile of grocery bags in my pantry. It took me forever to find that weird smell.

    You could have a mold inspector check out your house. Leaks and mold can smell really odd depending on what is getting wet - drywall, insulation, wood, etc.

    Electrical issues can smell weird too, but I think the fireman would have mentioned if it smelled electrical.

    Weird smells. One of the many joys of being a homeowner.
    Auntie, I did check the pantry, for old potatoes or onions, that was actually the reason I went to the grocery store. It's just me and the kids now as my husband is out of the country for the year so I've been shopping like a European.

    I suspect you are right in regard to the builder situation so I am just sucking up the inspector fees to get it over with and hopefully get it done right.

    Quote Originally Posted by soxxy View Post
    Hmmmmm.....Now you've got me thinking.

    This time of year, the nights can get very cool, about 35 degrees F, and midday 65-70 F and the sun very strong. I've noticed a burnt toast/slightly metallic-like smell for a couple of hours only in the late afternoon and only when the sun is out; it doesn't occur on cloudy days with similar temps. It subsides around sunset time.

    The odor seems to be coming from two heating units. My guess is some material does not like to be brought down to a low temperature only to be essentially "heated up" hours later.

    When I do turn the heating on, usually in November, the problem goes away. The smell also does not occur in the summer when it's always hot. Not sure about the spring, it was too long ago.
    The temperatures have been kind of crazy here. One week no a/c at all needing to wear a cardigan in the house and then the following week low temperatures in the morning with the house in the low 60's downstairs, low
    70's upstairs and high 80's outside, then later on a/c kicks on downstairs. I think the smell might be related to how the one person at the Metafilter site described "compost". Since maybe everything outside is dying, wet and becoming moldy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Castlerock View Post
    I thought it meant you were having a seizure. I sense it the odd time and always wondered if it was this:

    In Canada there used to be this little segment that would air on tv. It was a 'heritage moment' thing...that the doctor in it was Canadian. Anyway, this woman would have seizures and just before she would smell burnt toast.

    That's the big quote here..."I smell...burnt toast!" Anyway, in the segment he performs surgery on her. Removes part of her skull (she's conscious) and touches parts of her brain until he finds the section where she says "Dr. Penfield...I smell...burnt toast!"


    http://www.histori.ca/minutes/minute.do?ID=10211
    Castlerock, when I did a search for the smell, early warning signs of a seizure, stroke, and menopause were some of my first hits. Fortunately, I wasn't the only one that noticed the smell! The sense of smell is truly amazing. I would really like to read further into this aspect of this phenomenon once I tackle this issue!

    Thanks everyone for your input!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Castlerock View Post
    I thought it meant you were having a seizure. I sense it the odd time and always wondered if it was this:

    In Canada there used to be this little segment that would air on tv. It was a 'heritage moment' thing...that the doctor in it was Canadian. Anyway, this woman would have seizures and just before she would smell burnt toast.

    That's the big quote here..."I smell...burnt toast!" Anyway, in the segment he performs surgery on her. Removes part of her skull (she's conscious) and touches parts of her brain until he finds the section where she says "Dr. Penfield...I smell...burnt toast!"


    http://www.histori.ca/minutes/minute.do?ID=10211
    That's immediately what I thought of too.
    "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better." -- Samuel Beckett

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by made_in_canada View Post
    That's immediately what I thought of too.
    Me too.

    I smell...burnt toast!

    I bought my 25 year old daughter the Historica series as a Christmas gift last year. Those were really good TV spots.

    (My baseboard heaters always give off an odd smell if they have a day or two of dust on them, but it is more metallic than food-like.)
    ‎"You emerge victorious from the maze you've been travelling in." Oct 21,2012- Best Fortune Cookie Ever!

  8. #8

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    Just be very, very grateful you don't have this problem:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/19/he...ws/19case.html

    With respect to funky smells, we had one that took weeks to find -- a teabag had gotten lodged in the filter area of my dishwasher, and the smell really permeated the kitchen.

  9. #9
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    Another who thought instantly of a seizure. That and the Log Driver's waltz.... both such wonderful pieces of Canadiana...

  10. #10

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    Yep, I thought of a seizure right away when I read the thread title too.
    I'm not spoiled...I deserve all my stuff.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbk View Post
    Just be very, very grateful you don't have this problem:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/19/he...ws/19case.html

    With respect to funky smells, we had one that took weeks to find -- a teabag had gotten lodged in the filter area of my dishwasher, and the smell really permeated the kitchen.
    That poor lady in the article! I have a sensitive nose, even when my allergies are acting up I still seem to smell very well, but could you being able to tell when people have just had sex?!

    How did you end up tracking the teabag?

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    Quote Originally Posted by zhenya271 View Post
    That poor lady in the article! I have a sensitive nose, even when my allergies are acting up I still seem to smell very well, but could you being able to tell when people have just had sex?!

    How did you end up tracking the teabag?
    I noticed that the glasses smelled funky when I was putting them away one day. Then I started smelling the plates, and they smelled too. So then Mr. Barbk went fishing, and found the nasty teabag. At which point I ran the dishwasher with bleach, and then ran it again several times to rewash all our dishes and glassware and cutlery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barbk View Post
    Just be very, very grateful you don't have this problem:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/19/he...ws/19case.html
    The link provides the address to the author's blog. It's interesting. The sense of smell is so fascinating.

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