Don’t Ignore Strange Odors in Your House

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old pungent house

Strange odors are quite common in Salt Lake City. Sulfides from the Great Salt Lake can travel all the way to Millcreek — giving the air a funky smell. However, if strange odors are coming from inside of your home — it might be time to do a little digging. Smells can range from irritating to downright dangerous.

Identifying what they are and where they come from will make your home safer and smell a lot better.

1. Stink Bomb or Rotten Eggs

You can hardly miss the smell of rotten eggs or a stink bomb — which is why the scent is added to detect gas leaks. Natural gas is odorless, so most gas companies add Mercaptan into the mix as a safeguard for leaks. The sulfides from the Great Salt Lake smell similar to Mercaptan — but if you detect more concentrated odors in your kitchen or any part of the house, you might have a gas leak.

Get out of the house as quickly as you can and make sure not to turn on any switches. Open any door or window on your way outside, and then call emergency services. If the rotten egg smells are concentrated in your yard, then it’s probably a leaky (or full) septic tank. Leaks are usually apparent through sunken or wet patches of land. You’ll need a reliable plumbing contractor to deal with it before things get out of hand.

2. Old House Smell

If your home starts to smell old, it’s probably mold. Most people associate the earthy smells associated with mold to older residents, when in fact, it is the other way around. Left unchecked, mold can creep into your walls, floorboards, ceilings, and cabinets. Utah is particularly dry, so mold is probably a sign of undetected leaks or water damage. Brewers beware as releasing ethanol into the air also promotes mold growth.

Smelling like an old person is the least of your worries as mold can cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems. Most homes will require extensive renovations to get rid of mold as treatment can only be done in the earliest stages of mold development.

3. Used Gym Socks

Sweaty clothes smell bad due to bacteria. Moisture in your HVAC systems can cause a build-up of bacteria and that all too familiar gym locker smell. Problems will usually occur during spring or fall, as your system switches back and forth from cooling and heating — allowing moisture to condense and accumulate in the heating coils. Before your home smells like a gym locker, it’s best to call professionals to deal with your HVAC’s dirty evaporator coils.


4. Musk

Musk or coriander are two things you don’t want to smell in the bedroom. These smells are indicators of a bedbug infestation, one that’s already grown to disturbing proportions. Once they grow to a certain number, the sweat and pheromones of a bedbug colony become noticeable through a musky or coriander-like odor.

Bedbug infestation can lead to sleepless nights and constant bedbug bites have been tied to depression, anxiety, and a host of other mental issues. Regular bug spray won’t do the job. Infestations can only be dealt with by exterminators through heat or chemical treatment.

5. Sewer Stench

A dry drain trap is the most likely culprit if your basement smells of sewage. Without water, sewer smells can waft into your basement through the dry piping. Fortunately, a pail of water should be enough to take care of the problem. Just pour it into the drain to fill up the drain trap, and use candles or air fresheners to clear up the sewer scent.

6. Wet Dog

If your home smells like a wet dog and you don’t have one in the house, you might have unwanted residents. Squirrels and raccoons can use your home as a winter lodge, making their way to the attic — or even inside the drywall. The scent can also be a sign of rats. A pair of rats can grow to hundreds in a span of months. Their bites and feces are known vectors of disease. Don’t hesitate to call the exterminators because a few traps might not be enough if you have a colony living in your home.

7. Nauseating Sweetness

The sweet smell of death is no metaphor. Something rotting in your drywall can give off the pungent sweetness. A mouse or rat could have been injured or poisoned and died within your walls or in some obscure place. If you can’t find the carcass in the open, then you might need to hire pest experts. Most exterminators have the equipment to trace dead animals within your walls. Removing them can require some or extensive renovations — depending on the location of the carcass.

The only smell your house should have is baked cookies. Get rid of strange odors by going to the source and protect your home from the dangers that they may entail.


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