Why You Can’t Ignore Odors in Your Home

Your nose knows. While high-tech gadgets can often determine the cause of issues around the house, your sense of smell may be able to alert you to problems sooner. Plus, while there are certain odors or smells that come with being a homeowner, there are a few that you shouldn’t ignore.

Whether it’s a musty odor that seems to linger in the air or even the telltale smell of gas, here are some reasons why you need to trust your sense of smell around the house.

Rotten egg smells might indicate a gas leak.

On its own, natural gas doesn’t give off any particular odor. That’s why gas companies add a chemical called mercaptan. This gives the gas a scent that many people compare to rotten eggs. While that rotten egg smell could be a holdover from Easter, it’s also possible that your home has a gas leak, especially if you use a gas furnace. If your nasal receptors pick up this telltale scent, it’s best to call your local gas company or provider. Gas leaks put you at risk for a fire or explosion. Not only are gas leaks hazardous, but they can also cause large amounts of property damage. Plus, gas leaks can cause headaches. These odors give you a clue into problems around the home, and you shouldn’t ignore them.

Musty scents often mean your house has mold.


Every homeowner hears warnings about mold and the damage it can do to a home. Removing small amounts of mold is often as simple as using vinegar. However, if you have leaky pipes or bad plumbing that causes a larger outbreak, removing the mold is a time-consuming, frequently expensive process. One of the easiest ways of detecting mold is with your nose. If your home smells damp, musty, or, as some would say, “old,” it could be a sign that you need to check for a mold issue. The fungi enjoy damp, dark spots, so that’s where you should start. If you can’t spot the mold, it could be a clue that the issue lies within your walls. In that case, it’s best to call a professional.

Fishy scents point to electrical overheating.

If your home has a peculiar fishy smell and you don’t remember buying any seafood at the grocery store, it could mean that an electrical appliance is overheating. That fishy smell may mean that your electronics have collected too much moisture or are overheating and melting plastic components. If your devices don’t have proper ventilation or are prone to overheating, you’re more likely to experience this issue. If left unchecked, this can cause a fire. Sometimes, ventilation can help. When ventilation doesn’t work, however, you should call a repair specialist.

Smokey smells might be the result of electrical fires.


While strong smoke-like smells are often cause for alarm, smaller, less-frequent scents still require attention. If you only smell smoke now and then, particularly when you turn lights or appliances on and off, it could mean that your fixtures are producing electrical smoke. Electrical fires are hazardous, so you can’t afford to ignore these smells when you pick them up in your home. If you’re interested in preventive steps, it’s a good idea to have an electrician inspect your wiring at least once a year.

Of course, there are plenty of other unique smells in and around homes. From the scent of ammonia to the acrid smell of a nearby skunk, strange odors are part of homeownership. However, that doesn’t mean you can ignore them. By paying attention to what your nose is trying to tell you, you can prevent issues from the jump and keep your home safe for everyone.