We built a 3500 s.f. home about three years ago and are having problems with the indoor air quality. It was especially bad in the closets, which were unpainted textured drywall. We have since painted the closets which seems to have helped some, but not entirely.
My big concern now is the room that my daughter used to sleep in (we have moved her to another bedroom). It has a very distinct "new house" odor, although as I've said the house is now three years old. It even seems to be getting worse!
We had an Indoor Air Quality inspector out and tests showed nothing in any unusual quantity. The inspector said that he felt the odor may actually be coming from the basement, because our ductwork was poorly installed, with many gaps. He thinks the furnace is sucking air from the basement, thereby causing a negative pressure and sucking in even more bad odors. The odor has a very strong chemical smell. It does NOT smell like mold and tests on the closet drywall proved that it is very dry.
He proposes sealing all the gaps in the ductwork, "balancing the system," and installing two (we have two furnaces) air-to-air heat exchangers.
Have any of you encountered a similar situation and do you feel that he may have hit upon the solution? The estimate is $12,000 which I would be more than willing to spend if it actually solves the problem, however I'm just not sure that it will. BTW, the inspector said that he has never seen a house built as tightly as ours.
I do not understand why one room and the closets have such a marked increase in the odor. Wouldn't it affect every room the same?
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Personally, I wonder if it is the cellulose insulation causing the odor. I read in another post that someone had recessed lighting which was not sealed and was drawing in the cellulose insulation from the attic.