10 home odors you should never ignore

Home & GardenLifestyle

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When you’re at home and something smells off, don’t ignore it. Any weird smell should set off alarm bells – remember, your nose, with just a sniff, can be more sensitive than even the most sophisticated scientific equipment. It’s your best tool to prevent a household catastrophe.

Whether you’re house hunting or in your own home, here are 10 home odors you should never ignore.

1. Something smells fishy

If you suddenly notice a fishy smell in your home and you’re sure no fish has been cooked, call your electrician right away — this could be a sign of an electrical fire. In nine out of 10 cases, a fishy odor suggests the overheating of electrical components. The plastics and heat-resistant chemicals used in sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring insulation often emit this distinct fishy or urine-like smell when they’re overheating due to a circuit fault.

2. Who’s been cooking eggs?

Scent of sulfur which is very similiar to those of rotten eggs can signal two issues in your home, and neither of them is good news —gas leak or sewer gas escape. Gas in its pure form is odorless, so to detect leaks, utility companies add mercapatan, which has a recognizable sulfur smell.

If you smell a strong odor of rotten eggs, it’s most likely a natural gas leak. In this case, leave your home immediately and call 911 from a safe place. Remember, natural gas is flammable, so avoid smoking or using open flames like matches or lighters.

On the other hand, if you smell a faint rotten egg odor, it might be a sign of sewer gas leaking, which contains harmful elements such as hydrogen sulfide and methane. Often, the source of this type of leak is a less frequently used bathroom.

3. Smells like dirty socks in here

An unpleasant, overpoweing musty odor can signal a mold problem in your house. Some people compare the smell of mold to that of dirty socks or feet. While mold can vary in its severity from being merely an annoyance to dangerously toxc, it’s important to address the issue right away. People with alergies and asthma are more sensitive to exposure of mold.

In case you cannot see the mold, it could be inside the walls or the celling—call a home inspector to locate the culprit.

4. Why does it smell like cat pee?

If you’ve been noticing a pungent smell of cat urine, and you don’t have a pet, chances are there is ammonia present in your indoor air. Ammonia is a colorless gas used in cleaning products and has a strong odor. Cats have ammonia in their urine, but so do rodents. So an ammonia smell in your home can indicate there is a rodent somewhere in your house and is probably passed away. It might also indicate that some your cleaning products are leaking. It’s important to inspect your home before you call animal control.

5. Gross potty smell in your house

If your house smells like a sewage plant, out of sudded, you might be dealing with sewer gas leak. This gas is highly toxic and flambable containting hydrogen sulfide, which can cause anything from eye irritation to knocking you out, and methane, which is risky because it can lead to asphyxiation. A common reason for this is a bathroom that’s not used much. Under your shower or sink, there’s this U-shaped pipe that traps a bit of water to keep sewer gas out. If the bathroom’s not used, the water dries up, and the stink gets in. The fix? Just pour a cup of water down the drain. Adding a teaspoon of vegetable oil helps, as it keeps the water from drying out too fast. But if you can’t find where the smell’s coming from, it might be a vent pipe that’s supposed to send the gas out through your roof, but it’s broken or blocked. That’s when you should call a pro, like a home inspector or plumber, to check it out.

6. ‘New house’ smell

That “new home smell” might seem nice, but it’s actually mostly from volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) coming off new furniture, paint, and carpets.VOC can cause everything from a sore throat and headaches to more serious stuff like damage to your nervous system and even cancer.

7. A sweaty stench

If your home suddenly starts to smell like a gym, it could be due to bacteria growing in your HVAC system. This often happens in the fall and spring, when fluctuating temperatures cause condensation inside the system, creating an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. If that’s the case in your place, you might need to call an HVAC pro or get a cleaning product made just for HVAC coils.

8. Smoke smell

Even a slight, intermittent smoke smell shouldn’t be ignored, as it could indicate a serious problem. If the scent of smoke becomes stronger when you are using a specific light or appliance, it might be electrical smoke hidden behind a wall or inside a ceiling light fixture, and that’s really dangerous.  In such cases, it’s best to call your fire department or an electrician immediately.

9. A Sweet, yeasty smell

While a sweet scent in your home might initially bring to mind pancakes and syrup, it’s important to be aware of more serious causes. A sweet syrupy smell could be a result of mold or mildew in damp spots, or refrigerant leak. But the most concerning is a sweet smell from a furnace leak hinting at a carbon monoxide risk. Ensure your carbon monoxide detectors are active and call a home inspector immediately. Carbon monoxide is extremely toxic and can cause severe health issues and in some cases, death.

10. Dirty dog smell

If your house has a strong, unpleasant smell, like a dog that’s way overdue for a bath, but you don’t own a dog, it might be time to check for uninvited guests like rodents, raccoons, or squirrels in your attic. These critters often turn your rafters into their personal bathroom. The CDC warns that this is particularly concerning with raccoons, as their feces can contain roundworm eggs, which are harmful to humans.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.