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8 Household Smells Explained

Having bad odors in your home is not only embarrassing, but it may also be a sign that something is seriously amiss at your residence. You'll never know if the smell reflects a skipped housekeeping chore or a more critical problem until you get to the root of the matter. Here are eight examples of strange odors and their possible sources.

8 Strange Household Smells You May Encounter

1. Cat Urine Smell

You smell the distinctly unpleasant odor of cat urine, but you don't have a cat. After ruling out cat "accidents" on flooring or walls from previous owners, you'll need to inspect your home for mold. Mold overgrowth is toxic to human lungs, and some mold varieties happen to smell like feline urine.

2. Decomposition Odor

You've pulled out every kitchen appliance and looked under every sofa cushion, but you still haven't discovered the source of the rotten food odor that you smell. The problem may be that a small animal has passed away behind your walls, in your ductwork, or your chimney.

3. Fishy Smell

You turn on your lights or bathroom fan and smell a strange, fishy odor. This could be a sign that your home's wiring is faulty. Burning or overheated electrical components give off fishy odors. The issue should be addressed quickly to avoid an electrical fire.

4. Wet Dog Stench

It's not Fido's bath day, but something in your home smells like a wet dog. Rodents, such as squirrels and rats, emit the same scent. Rodents carry dangerous pathogens and should be removed from your home by professionals right away.

5. Locker Room Odor

An overgrowth of bacteria causes the infamous "gym sock" odor. The same bacterial overgrowth can happen on your HVAC system's coils and send that distinct odor throughout your home. Get rid of the smell and extend the life of your HVAC system with regular maintenance appointments every spring and fall.

6. Rotten Egg Smell

A chemical that smells like rotten eggs was added to natural gas to alert users of a gas leak in their home. If you smell rotten eggs, leave your house immediately and call the gas company.

7. Musty and Dusty Smell

Musty and dusty smells around your home can indicate mold or mildew issues. These organisms can cause severe respiratory problems when left unchecked. Homeowners can clean small amounts, but professional mold remediation contractors must remove mold that has invaded large areas of a house.

8. Sewage Odor

The source of sewage odors in your home could be broken or clogged pipes. If you smell a sewage odor when you run hot water, the source could be your water heater. A corroded anode rod in your water heater can cause it to give off a sewage or sulfuric smell.

Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Services in Knoxville, TN

Whether it's the stench coming from your teenage son's week-old laundry hamper or the sweet smell of success coming from your favorite cake recipe, busy households experience a lot of smells. That's life. However, paying close attention to the odors on this list can save the day for you and your family.

If you suspect that odors in your home are caused by a plumbing or ventilation issue, contact Pipe Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Inc. at (865) 518-7008. We can help you to identify the problem and provide an effective solution.