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  • Home Smells You Should Look Out For


  • December 15, 2022

    What are some of the smells that could indicate there is something fishy going on in your home? The typical home smells pretty good most of the time, and if you are fastidious about keeping things clean and tidy, it might even smell fabulous. 

    But there are times when your interior may not exactly smell like roses despite your best efforts. And then there are houses that smell pretty bad no matter how much cleaning or sanitizing you do. 

    The Hazards of Foul Smells 

    Some odors are more than just unpleasant. Some indicate a more serious air quality issue that could put you and your family at risk. Many of these hidden dangers can be difficult to fix, which means the clock could be ticking while you come up with a remedy. 

    Identifying Foul Smells and Getting Rid of Them 

    Some odors are difficult to identify, which makes it even more challenging to do anything about them. Thankfully, most unpleasant smells that affect the typical home are caused by fairly minor issues. 

    Even so, it is important to know what smells to look out for to safeguard your family’s health. Whether it comes from your kitchen, bathroom, or fireplace, here are some of the most common household odors and what you can do about them. 

    Fishy Odors 

    Fish odors are some of the most common unpleasant smells in households. But more often than not, the smell isn’t actually coming from fish. 

    If you haven’t had a fish fry recently, the problem could be electrical. Check to see if you have any wires or power cords with melted insulation. If so, you will have to repair or replace them to avoid causing a fire. If the problem is with a switch, wall outlet, or your wiring, call an electrician to check it out immediately. 

    Ammonia-Like Smell 

    The smell of ammonia is often associated with decomposition. Unless you’ve spilled a bottle of the stuff in your home, there is a good chance that a mouse or some other rodent has recently perished somewhere in the house. 

    You will probably have to hunt around to find the dead animal. Because of their nocturnal and furtive nature, they would have likely died in a hard-to-reach area in your ceiling, walls, or floor. 

    Damp and Musty Odors 

    Damp and musty odors are almost certainly due to the presence of mold or mildew, sometimes both. Inspect your home for leaks, moisture, and collected pools of water and fix the problem before it could worsen. Other remedies include running a dehumidifier and applying antimicrobial sprays to the carpets and curtains where the odor is most apparent.

    Chemical Odors From Furniture 

    New furniture, carpets, and paint can sometimes give off a chemical odor. These are due to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be quite unpleasant. But more than just smelling bad, these substances also pose a health risk. 

    To prevent these smells from filling your home, unpack wood furniture and carpets as soon as they arrive at your home. Leave them in your garage to air out for an hour or more, or overnight if possible. If you don’t have a garage or any other storage option, place them in an unused room and keep the windows open and a fan circulating for several hours. 

    Rotten-Egg Smells

    Rotten-egg smells could be caused by odorous sulfur in your water heater tank. This is probably the case if you only notice the smell when running the water hot. The problem is often easily remedied by draining and refilling the water heater tank. 

    The smell might also be caused by a leak in your natural gas line. This is a much more serious problem that could lead to severe burns and injuries. When this happens, you should go outside immediately and call the gas company to report the incident. 

    Sewage Smells

    Sewage odors have a similar quality as rotten-egg smells, but not quite as powerful. They are more reminiscent of outhouses and portable toilets, with a less “eggy” character than rotten eggs. 

    In most households, these smells usually come from one or more drains. You will have to sniff it out and determine whether it is from the toilet, tub, shower, or sink.

    Bad Smells In Your Home?

    Identifying foul odors is more than just about getting your home smelling fresh and clean. In some cases, it could be a matter of great importance to your health. Hopefully, this guide will have clued you in on some of the most common home smells to be on guard against. With ample awareness and appropriate action, you should be able to find the cause and take measures to remedy the situation. 

    J.A. Bertsch

    J.A. Bertsch Heating & Cooling offers professional residential air purification services throughout Kootenai County. Our licensed A/C technicians cover all of North Idaho and our neighboring cities. Experience superior, award-winning service 24/7. Call us at 208-635-5480 to schedule an appointment.