10 Strange House Smells You Should NEVER Ignore

5 min read

When you have lived at a place long enough, you become accustomed to the various smells around you.  It can be the smell of cigarettes for those who smoke or the smell of bleach and detergent you use to clean. You may burn incense or use a humidifier.

The point is, you know your smells, so anything out of the ordinary, your nose knows. Whether it’s in your house or coming from your neighbors, don’t ignore any strange odors in your atmosphere. Let’s take a look at the strange house smells you should NEVER ignore.

10. Gas Smell

I don’t know about you, but when I smell gas or hear of a gas leak, I think of explosions! If you smell gas in your house, you should leave the house pronto!

Do not turn on and off light switches or appliances, don’t light a fire and definitely don’t start your car–all of which can spark a fire. Call the gas company on your mobile phone, and do not attempt to solve any problems yourself.

9. The Gross Smell Coming From the Bathroom

A smelly toilet could mean that you have a sewage problem. Sewage gas leaks are not only stifling but also dangerous. These leaks can cause an explosion, with all that explosive component, like hydrogen sulfide. This can affect your eyes, nasal passage and lead to unconsciousness.

There is also the emission of methane, which can remove your oxygen, leading to asphyxia. The source of your problem could be a blocked or broken vent pipe, which directs the sewer gas through to the roof. In this case, call a plumber or home inspector. But you may have a guest bathroom that you use randomly.

The pipes under the shower and sink have a U-shaped trap. This has a small amount of water that prevents sewer gas from going back into the house. The water will evaporate if the bathroom is out of use. Pour a cup of water down the drain and pour a tablespoon of veggie oil to prevent evaporation.

8. Fishy Appliance

If you smell a fishy odor in the house, especially when you did not purchase fish, it’s cause for alarm! An electrical fixture may be overheating on an appliance. The plastic on the appliance may be melting when you have that fishy smell, and this can cause a fire if ignored.

Use your sniffer to identify where the acrid smell is located. If it’s the appliance, call the repair expert to determine your next move. If the odor is coming from the socket that the appliance is plugged into or the electrical switch, shut off everything and call an electrical technician.

7. Rodents in the Attic or Dirty Dog?

You keep smelling a dirty dog in the house, and you know you don’t own a dog! That raunchy, wild smell of a dog needing a bath could mean that there could be raccoons, squirrels or rats in your attic.

These squatters will use your attic for their bathroom and make your house smell of critters. According to the CDC, raccoons have roundworms in their feces and pose a problem to humans. If there are feces in your attic, call pest control to be on the safe side.

6. Cigarette Smell

Second-hand smoke is a bomber, we know, but third-hand smoke is occupying researches of late. The risk of third-hand smoke emerged because of the particles associated with the combustion of tobacco. These particles settle on surfaces like counters, tabletops and bed linen.

These old smoke smells are mostly found in hotels or vacation rentals occupied by smokers. Since it’s a new area of study, it is not clear how significant the risk is, but children are vulnerable. They love to roll on carpets and touch surfaces, then stick their fingers in their mouths. So, it’s best to clean up where smokers have been before staying there.

5. Ammonia or Cat Pee?

Although you may use ammonia to clean, if you smell it even when you don’t clean, and you don’t own a cat, you shouldn’t ignore the smell. If you have older appliances that use ammonia-based coolant, it may be a sign that it’s leaking and should get immediate attention.

Aside from that, an ammonia smell could mean that something has died in your walls, or you could have molds. While that might not be as dangerous as inhaling ammonia, you may have a pest problem. That’s a whole other smelly problem!

4. The New House Smell 

For those giving your house a new coat of paint, that’s a good facelift. But beware of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, VOCs can cause a range of problems, including headaches, the burning of the throat, damage to the nervous system or even cancer. They recommend that you buy no-VOC paint brands and ventilate when you paint.

 3. Musty Smell

A musty smell in the house can indicate that you have a leaking sink or a broken pipe. Mold will then be a problem and especially for those people with allergies or who suffer from asthma. Mold loves damp, dark places.

Disinfect mold with a ten percent bleach water solution and let it sit for ten minutes before wiping off. If you have porous drywall, call in the experts, like the home inspector or your local health department.

2. Smokey Smell

The smoke smell in the house is always a cause for concern. If you smell smoke only occasionally when you plug in a particular appliance, you could have electrical smoke behind a wall. It could also be in your ceiling fixtures. Call the fire department or an electrician immediately.

1. Sweaty Gym Smell

If your home has a sweaty locker-room smell and there is no gym at home, there could be bacteria growth in the HVAC system. During the spring and fall months especially, the temperatures change, and condensation breeds bacteria. You should call an HVAC expert or use a cleaning substance designed for the HVAC system.

Always trust your nose to pick up unusual smells around the home. No matter how faint the smell might be, look into it before something deadly develops from that one faint odor that you ignored.

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