If you notice an unusual smell in your home, DIY solutions such as baking soda or scented candles can be a quick fix. But a persistent odor can indicate more severe problems; overriding the smell doesn’t address the real issue and may lead to things getting worse in the long term. Here are some things you should watch out for.
If you smell sewage odors and notice that water drains slowly, or rises in the toilet when you use the bathroom tap, for instance, there’s a good chance that water flow is blocked or clogged somewhere further below. The standard kitchen sink fix of flushing down baking soda with vinegar may not work here; you should call in sewer line repair services before other factors compound the problem, such as water hardness in Salt Lake City leading to mineral deposits, or pipes freezing in the cold Utah winters.
Bacteria in garbage
The build-up and growth of bacterial colonies create a persistent trash-like smell, and can most commonly be traced to your trash cans or garbage disposal unit. Even after you take out the garbage, trace amounts of organic matter or liquid may remain inside and lead to bacterial growth, so make sure you rinse and air-dry your trash cans frequently and carefully clean and disinfect your garbage disposal.
Damp or musty smells are often associated with old homes, but if the problem lingers, you may be dealing with a leak and possibly mold formation. Prolonged exposure to mold in the house can be a health hazard, and unattended leaks lead to property damage. Trace the trail moisture thoroughly, especially if it’s located in the darker, less-used parts of your home. You may need to call a plumber to address the source of the leak, while moldy areas may need to be repaired or replaced after disinfection.
If you don’t own a pet, but notice the smell of animal feces – or worse, a dead animal stink – around the house, then vermin might be the culprit. Trespassers like opossums, raccoons or squirrels can also take up residence in the attic or crawl spaces. Don’t attempt to handle these on your own; wild animals can be dangerous, and vermin feces may contain many pathogens. Call a pest control professional, and focus on subsequent preventive measures.
If you smell a sulfurous, rotten egg stink around the home, this could indicate a gas leak. Not only does this pose an immediate fire hazard, but it can also put you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and should be immediately reported. Avoid doing anything that could cause sparks, such as toggling power switches; leave the house, and call the gas company as soon as possible.
Faulty electrical wiring
When electrical components overheat, or wires are no longer functioning correctly, the current may arc as it tries to complete the circuit. Combustible materials in the path of this electric zapping could melt or start a fire; the presence of a fishy smell should alert you to this danger. Immediately locate the source, cut the power to the associated area, and call a licensed electrician to fix it.
When something’s amiss inside your home, it might not smell right. Pay attention to what your nose may be telling you, do your best to trace the source, and take the necessary steps to address the root cause and prevent further risks.