If there are strange smells in your house you may have a bigger problem than just the stink! The top five strange smells are:
1. Dead Animal
If you smell animal pee/poop, or any other pet smells, that’s probably what it is, assuming you have a pet. However, if the smell is a noxious sickly smell, most likely you have an insect nest or dead animal somewhere in your house.
Sometimes, people think they are smelling sewage, but it very possibly could be a dead animal.
It happens. Squirrels and raccoons are ingenious when it comes to finding a way in and if they die in your house they’re going to stink. Snakes, possums, rats and cats are pretty good at finding their way in, too. Short version, if you smell a dead animal, it probably is one.
2. Fish Smell
This one is really critical! Unless it is fish, the smell is probably emanating from a burning electrical component.
Electrical shielding, wires, and other plastic components emit a fish or urine smell when exposed to high heat. If you smell something fishy, go around your home and look for outlets and other electrical equipment that looks burnt or melting.
If there is a sewer smell in your home, this might be caused by a dried up trap. The purpose of a trap is so that water gets trapped, creating an air block for any sewer gases that might rise up. If, however, you have not used your drain in a while, the water could evaporate, clearing the way for noxious sewer gases to infiltrate your home. Simply run water in the drain. Also, see number 5 below.
4. Moldy and Musty smell
If you smell a musty or moldy odor, it is a sign that something is not right. Moldy and musty smells are similar in nature and both are caused by the presence of mold or mildew.
Mold and mildew are both fungi and grow in the presence of moisture or water. Mildew is a powdery or downy surface growth and is most often found on plant materials (fruits and vegetables, flowering or decorative plants).
Molds are usually thicker and can cause more structural damage since they penetrate deeper into the material they are growing on. Molds can grow on plant materials as well, but are also commonly found on building materials like walls and flooring and most home contents (books, cardboard, clothing, etc.)
The primary difference between moldy and musty odors is in the strength of the smell; musty odors are usually not as strong as moldy odors. Since both moldy and musty odors suggest mold growth it’s important to take action quickly when you notice an odor to prevent extensive damage to your home and the lingering musty odor that can penetrate non-moldy materials in your home making eliminating them difficult.
Go around your house and check for water leaks, damp items and moisture to find the source of the problem.
Mold varies in severity from being merely cosmetic to dangerously toxic.
For small areas of mold you can clean it up yourself. However, if the problem is larger than you can handle, you may need to call a plumber.
You may need to re-caulk plumbing fixtures to prevent water from entering the area between the fixture and the wall, which could cause water damage and foster mildew and mold growth. You may also need better ventilation, especially in areas of high moisture like your basement, bathrooms, and kitchen.
5. Rotten Eggs
The smell of rotten eggs is a tell-tale sign that you have a gas leak or a problem with your plumbing. The smell of sewage often smells like rotten eggs. The first thing you should check is if the smell is coming from your drains or when you turn on the water as mentioned in number 3 above.
If you notice the smell more when you have the hot water running, then the problem is probably your water heater.
The other, more dangerous, cause of a rotten egg smell in the house is a gas leak. Manufacturers add a chemical to natural gas and propane to give it a distinctive odor, as they are naturally colorless and odorless. This smell is a safety precaution and it is supposed to bother you. If you suspect a gas leak you should call the gas company or a plumber immediately.
You should be aware that if you call the gas company they will err on the side of safety. They will instruct you to take your pets and lock up and leave immediately. They will bring a locksmith with them to gain entry into your house.