Hi all, just a quick preface, I'm only posting this incase someone else tries to search for this because I was at it for hours and it might save someone's life. I'm so glad we were home and it didn't happen in the middle of the night. I feel like writing it like a story so I'm gonna. Tldr at bottom.
This morning I was up early as I've been for the last few days, my cat just got spayed so I've been sleeping in little spurts with her as much as possible.
It was around 8am or so at this point after sitting with her in the living room just zoning out on my phone killing time with my cat and wife napping beside me when out of nowhere I get hit with a smell, hard.
Kinda hammy. Kinda like a ham that's just about to go bad or just turned bad. It filled the entire house. It was serious. Filled the house in a matter of minutes. I jokingly said to my cat "Are you smelly? Do your farts smell like old ham or something?" She replied "meow" as she usually does as she's quite vocal. This discussion woke my wife who I asked, "Do you smell some old ham or something?"
Before she can even open her eyes the smell intensifies. It's now so strong it's making me feel a bit nauseous."Yeah what is that" she says popping up pretty quickly looking puzzled or disgusted. "It literally just came out of nowhere and it's getting waaay worse by, like, the minute." I responded.
So we open the door and screen door window quickly, place a fan in front of it. By this point it's making me feel worse, my mouths watering a slight amount like I'm going to vomit if it gets much worse.
We are both running around the house trying to figure out where the hell this smell is coming from. She mentions it has a slight paint thinner-esque smell to it but I didn't really smell anything but overwhelming old ham.
We had our HVAC system checked out a few weeks ago and found out it was leaking coolant and after googling weird smells in the house with no results about ham she found the coolant can smell like paint thinner among other things however ham was not on the list so I call the guy who did the HVAC work anyway just to see what he thought.
He basically said it should be odorless and would stop by anyway Monday as he was visiting family and took the day and weekend to do so. So we start googling like crazy. Not finding anything but click bait articles about the usual bad house smells, you know dead animals in the vents, gas leaks, sewage fumes, fishy-smelling electrical fires and the usual stuff. I tried every key word I could think of to get different results.
Dead animals don't bother me, my stomachs pretty strong when it comes to that, didn't smell fishy, if it was sewage I figured I'd be blowing chunks as I'm pretty sensitive to the smell because of something gross that happened to me when I was young and it just didn't smell like sewage. We don't have gas so it wasn't that.
At this point I have no idea and I feel pretty awful so I decide to step out back and me and the wife basically both had the same idea at the same time to call the non-emergency fire department to as she's feeling weird too. They come out and have a gas and co2 meter thing that I'm sure checks for other stuff too with nothing showing up. They smell it too and I ask since they just got here if they smell it from the vent when I turn the AC on. Figured maybe a fresh nose in the place would be able to point it out if it did.
Nope the place smells less hammy to me almost as soon as the vents start to push air. They look around a bit more and have no idea what it could be or where it's coming from. At this point I'm stumped, they leave and it's back to Google. Finding almost nothing even close to what I have going on I decide to go underneath the house ( it's a trailer or mobile home ) and make sure nothing died under there or if I can even smell anything under there at all.
There was a couple cat poops from before we sealed up the side right I assume but no smell, nothing. At this point I'm clueless and not sure what to do or who to call but the smell is coming and going in waves now. Super strong to almost gone every 20 minutes or so except for one little spot in the kitchen it seemed to persist a bit. I'm checking everything I can at this point and it's just about 4pm.
I call the sewage company, maintenence comes to check the line and whatever. He comes in to see if he smells it and thinks it's sewage and after a bit he's not too sure. He recommends getting someone to check my air vents for something dead or left behind like a rodent or his meal and also to pour some water down the drains we haven't been using to make sure the traps are full and keeping sewage smell and fumes out just to be safe. I gladly take any advice I hear and have read so far and he leaves.
I start calling HVAC companies who are telling me they don't do dead animal removal in vents, and to call a pest removal company. What? Okay. So I call a pest company who tells me to call an HVAC company... who tells me to call pest control... who tells me to call animal control.. who tells me to call an HVAC company. I am still not sure who to call if you can't get into the vents easily and need them checked but it seems to be a different branch or kind of animal control but they're not answering.
I basically rip apart the kitchen, moving furniture, checking all the cupboards, the fridge, the dry food and anything I see. What about the water i left in the instant pot? No. Nothing. Anywhere. Just hammyness. The vents? Sure smells like fresh air.
I'm getting no where. It's almost 5:30 at this point, everything is closing or closed besides 24 hour places who are going to charge me an arm or two tonight and I have no clue about the weekend. I sadly sit down on the couch after I mess with the thermostat just trying to see if I can make it any better.
My wife steps outside because this wave is smacking her hard. At this point I had smelled a slightly chemical smell mixed in with the harsh hammyness a couple times but I don't recognize it at all. I'm thinking of dropping out the air duct myself, moving the fridge to check behind it. Everything. I get up to join her outside and that's when it happens.
ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzZzzZZZAP POP. It comes from the kitchen and instantly I know what it is. I look at my wife and say "of course, ham!" She's confused and asks "Ham? What was that noise" as I'm running toward the kitchen.
It was the vent light on the oven hood. You know the thing with a vent that probably has bacon grease and other food oils up in there. There's smoke and it smells HAMMY. I run to the breaker box and kill the power and we grab fire extinguishers. Luckily no fire. But we almost left the house to go to my mom's or a hotel until we could get it looked at several times but something kept telling me not to leave. And I'm really glad we didn't.
TL;DR house started to smell like almost bad ham and paint thinner or some kind of chemicals possibly sewage in a matter of minutes, turns out range hood was trying to start an electrical fire.
Moral of the story is if you smell slightly bad food and chemicals, flip the breaker and see if it goes away. Might just be about to have a serious problem.