Our sense of smell allows us to enjoy a meal, detect burning food, and enjoy freshly cut herbs from the garden. If you notice unpleasant odors, this may be a cause for concern. A musty odor in the basement or an acrid smell near an electrical outlet are signs of a problem. Some scents are simply unpleasant; others indicate a hazardous situation. Here are tips on identifying odors in the home.
A Sulfurous Smell May be a Sign of a Gas Leak
Millions of homes use natural gas for cooking, drying clothes, heating water, and heating the home in winter. Natural gas is dangerous because a leak can lead to a fire. Companies add a chemical to the gas to help homeowners detect leaks. This additive, mercaptan, has a sulfurous smell, so you will notice when there is a natural gas leak. If your home smells like rotten eggs, evacuate immediately and call the gas company.
Sewage Odors in Your Home
Sewage is dangerous for your health, and it smells terrible. Call a plumber if you notice a sewage smell in the basement or bathroom. This could result from a broken sewage pipe, a clog in a bathroom pipe, or a dried-out p-trap. A plumber can identify the source of the odor and make appropriate repairs.
Musty Smell Indicates Mold
When you notice a damp or musty smell, this could signify mold growth. Mold can cause staining and damage to the property, and many people have allergies to mold spores. The odor is sometimes described as “woodsy” or smelling like dirty socks. If you notice this smell, check your home for areas of mold. It often appears in kitchens, bathrooms, and basements, areas that are prone to moisture. Clean the mold to remove it and increase ventilation to reduce the chance of mold forming there again.
Odors in Your Home: Burning Smell
If you notice a burning smell near an electrical outlet or light switch, this is a sign of an electrical problem. The insulation around wires can begin to melt if the wire overheats, producing a sharp odor. You might notice a smell like fish or burning rubber. Call an electrician to troubleshoot and make repairs. If you can pinpoint the switch or outlet, turn off the breaker to that area until the problem is remedied.
Wet Dog Odor
A smell like a wet dog might indicate rodents in your home. Squirrels, rats, and mice may be living in the walls or attic. Especially if you don’t have pets and detect this odor, call a pest control company. They will be able to assess the home for signs of rodent activity and can make recommendations to handle the infestation.