Sometimes it’s hard to track down where an unpleasant smell is coming from. That can make them tough to eliminate! Here are some common household odor offenders to help you narrow it down.
If you notice something that smells:
- Dank or Musty. Areas of moisture in your home allow mold/mildew to form. Take care of any water leaks, hang damp items to dry, etc. to keep them from forming. Look for signs of moisture coming through drywall to find hidden leaks. Another source could be exposed earth in a crawlspace or basement. Sealing the crawlspace with plastic can help. You can also use a dehumidifier to keep your humidity levels below 55%, especially during rainy months.
- Stale Smelling Air. Homeowners have noticed a “stale” smell that was intermittent. It frequently turns out to be attic air that is being drawn into their home through recessed lights. This type of light is frequently leaky.
- Rotten Eggs. A sulfur or rotten egg smell in your home could be coming from a couple of sources. They add sulfur to odorless natural gas so you can smell if there is a leak. If you smell rotten eggs you should call the gas company to first make sure you don’t have a leak. Once that is ruled out, see if the smell is stronger when running hot water. If that’s the case, it could be caused by the anode rod in your hot water heater. This happens when a tank is replaced with one with a different type of anode rod. The dynamics are kind of involved but the new anode rod is reacting with naturally occurring bacteria in the water.
- Dirty Sock Smell. If your air conditioning coil has aluminum fins you may have smelled this one. It is a sign that your coil needs to be cleaned. Your HVAC contractor can safely clean your coil for you.
- Sewer Smell. There are pockets of sewer gas in your plumbing, which is why we have P-traps on the drains. The trap holds water, blocking the sewer gasses behind it. If you don’t use a drain very often, the water can evaporate and allow the sewer gasses to leak into your home. Make sure to run water down each drain in the house once a month or so.
- Fishy. Unless you prepared fish recently, this odor is frequently coming from burnt or melting wiring or some other plastic melting. If you smell something fishy, make sure your outlets and light fixtures aren’t overheating and make sure plastic items aren’t too close to a heat source or light bulb.
For help with removing odors in your heating and air conditioning system, contact the experts at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. They have been serving clients in the greater Cleveland area since 1936.
Kim Nemecek works at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. After growing up in Cleveland, she lived in Florida for many years, working at an air conditioning company there. Kim has four grown children, two grandchildren and two spoiled dogs. She lives in Solon with her husband, Todd.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.