Why does my utility room smell like wee? 😭

(22 Posts)
DespairingHomeowner Sun 18-Apr-21 13:56:58

There are no little boys in the house so searching for an explanation!

This is a house I bought around a month ago, the smell is intermittent, mostly at night so I thought maybe mice or rats: pest control have come and said no sign on the house, also no droppings and I cannot see an entry point above ground (this room is an extension, my neighbour kindly allowed me to look from the back and no signs of cracked bricks/air vents etc)

Smell seems to come up through wooden threshold of the doors - particularly on left (a sliding door) - I’ve installed a 1-way valve so rats cannot get in via drains but that doesn’t seem to have made any difference, it was particularly fragrant on Saturday morning!

Pulled out the fridge to look for gaps and found what should have been a skirting board filled with cement... is this an issue previous owners should have declared? I specifically asked about mouse/rat problems prior to my offer and have a no in writing from them

Could this be related to drains in some way? I’d love to know if anyone has any ideas before I start pulling the room apart

Thanks in advance for any ideas!

OP’s posts: |
Iseeyoulookingatme Sun 18-Apr-21 14:02:49

Did the previous owners have a dog or cat that lived in the utility room? I would see if you could maybe remove the flooring and put new flooring down if that was the case.

PotteringAlong Sun 18-Apr-21 14:03:28

Little girls wee too...

Happenchance Sun 18-Apr-21 14:06:34

Does it smell like ammonia?

Orgasmagorical Sun 18-Apr-21 14:09:07

I assume there was no mention of anything in your survey?

The cement where the skirting board should be shows there has been a problem before and this was an attempt to fix it, or hide it.

What type of floor is it?

I love your cupboard with the drawers, BTW smile

DerekMorganswife Sun 18-Apr-21 14:16:02

Are you sure it's not your fridge? We had a strong urine smell at work and we couldn't work out where it was coming from. Over time it got stronger and stronger. It turned out that the smell was coming from the back of the broken fridge (we didn't realise it had broken at the time.)

DespairingHomeowner Sun 18-Apr-21 17:40:51

Thanks for all your replies and ideas

@Happenchance: yes, like ammonia/urine, especially in the mornings when I go downstairs

@PotteringAlong- no little girls either @Iseeyoulookingatme - previous owners did not have pets

@DerekMorganswife: I don’t think it’s my fridge as only a few months old @& it’s the floor of the room which smells -this is slates but the smell comes up via the 2 wooden thresholds into other rooms

@Orgasmagorical: this is it, there is cement where skirting should be so why?? To get into drains (which does not seem right as I don’t think the water supply is in that part of the room), or to fill in a hole where rodents have entered. It’s a big hole which makes me think rats vs mice, and I have seen a rat in the garden outside, plus neighbors report rats in their gardens.

Nothing at all in survey (previous owners had a fridge in same place so surveyor would not have seen)

I asked about rats/mice & damp both prior to my offer, & also via my solicitor: told no on both occasions but I know suspect they were not telling the truth. Am wondering if I can get my costs to fix this issue reimbursed by them via my solicitor?

OP’s posts: |


DespairingHomeowner Sun 18-Apr-21 17:43:11

PS - I’ve never noticed the cement as my fridge was first thing movers put in that spot, so I didn’t ever see the room empty...

@Orgasmagorical: the shelves are IKEA hemmes unit, they still sell it & it’s going strong after 10 years

OP’s posts: |
MojoMoon Sun 18-Apr-21 18:12:21

Leaking refrigerant smells of ammonia.

If you are sure your fridge is fine, then could their old fridge perhaps have been leaking it and it's soaked into the floor where it is?

Orgasmagorical Sun 18-Apr-21 18:14:27

Thank you re the shelves smile

I would certainly speak to your solicitor about the costs of getting this fixed. I think you have a certain amount of time after moving in to flag up any problems so don't hang about. The law will depend on where you are too but it might have changed since I last bought a house so I might be talking rubbish.

But first you need to find out what the problem is. What's on the other side of that wall?

enterparentone Sun 18-Apr-21 18:16:31

Has it recently been painted? We had wee smells for ages in our son's room after painting - apparently a known issue with some paints! It was worse in the sun

SwedishEdith Sun 18-Apr-21 18:19:18

The skirting board that is there goes right into the corner. If they'd just removed it where the cement is now, it'd be some sort of mitre joint, I think. They may have removed skirting board to get the fridge to sit flush against that wall? Could be all sorts of reasons for lack of skirting board.

Whippet Sun 18-Apr-21 18:20:41

Was the room newly painted before you bought the house? I remember reading about some paint that caused rooms to smell of wee!
Google "Valspar paint smells of wee" - there are loads of posts about it.

Do you shut a door to the room at night? Perhaps it just smells worse if it has been enclosed all night?

Happenchance Sun 18-Apr-21 18:23:17

Can other people smell it? I only ask because smelling ammonia is a symptom of some medical conditions.

Vickles20 Sun 18-Apr-21 18:26:29

We had this smell when we moved in to our house 10 years ago. It disappeared over time
However. I do notice it when we go away on holiday for a week. I recognise it when we walk in to the closed up house.
Again. It disappears soon after

Bluntness100 Sun 18-Apr-21 18:28:38


We had this smell when we moved in to our house 10 years ago. It disappeared over time
However. I do notice it when we go away on holiday for a week. I recognise it when we walk in to the closed up house.
Again. It disappears soon after

That’s because you go nose blind to it, not because the smell goes away. The reason you can smell it on returning from holiday is because your nose has adjusted again,

1Logan1 Sun 18-Apr-21 18:45:00

What type of light shade do you have , I had a smell in a bedroom , as if a pet had peed on the carpet , it was only smelly at night , took ages to realise that when the lamp was on and the lampshade got warm that was where the smell was coming from .

Thecazelets Sun 18-Apr-21 19:38:03

Check the electric sockets and light fittings too. Older bits of wiring and lamp sockets can start to smell 'fishy' - the smell disappears when they are off and returns when switched on.

DespairingHomeowner Sun 18-Apr-21 20:42:46

It’s rats ... the cement was one side of a doorway, there is a current /new hole UNDER other side of that door (where door frame meets floor). Next to a built in kitchen unit (handmade by previous owners) & the range cooker ... which might be where they are nesting?

I’m not very happy, especially as I asked about this before offering on the house and absolutely would not have bought it if I’d known!

Also pretty unbelievable that the pest control company I had in to look for this (at £300) didn’t spot anything ... that’s why I was wondering if it was drains or something else

OP’s posts: |
SilverLiningSearching Sun 18-Apr-21 23:36:10

Oh no how awful, is the area known for having a rat problem? I would never think to ask about this when offering,

Could the previous owners be held responsible for denying the issue?

Hope it gets resolved for you soon.

Orgasmagorical Mon 19-Apr-21 06:50:37

Urgh, sorry to hear that, Despairing, but at least you know now and can work on sorting it. Are you going to get back onto the pest control people? It's time for them to earn their £300! angry

Feckfeckfeck123 Mon 19-Apr-21 08:17:17

When you mentioned wee smell my first thought was rats because I have the same issue in my kitchen. Funnily nobody can smell it apart from me. I agree about Pest Control, we have paid 2 companies and neither were able to identify the entry point. We even paid £££s for a cctv drain survey which were all clear. Now we think it may be the roof and waiting for that to be redone. I'm at my wits end and posted about it on MN actually the other week. Have you done a biscuit test to determine it's definitely rodents? I'm glad you have spotted the possible entry point and if it's any comfort it isn't necessary they will be nesting in your house. They come for warmth, food and a nosey then bugger off back home.

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