There could be an underlying problem if you detect a strange odor in your home that doesn’t go away with cleaning. Foul odors are unpleasant and may signify something hazardous in your living spaces. Here are a few common causes of odors in the home.

1. Home Smells Like Rotten Eggs

Natural gas is odorless, but a chemical that smells like rotten egg, mercaptan, is added so that you can tell when there is a gas leak. If your home has a rotten egg odor, this might indicate that your gas line is leaking. Exit the house and call your gas company immediately to make repairs. If you notice this odor, turn all appliances off and don’t cook to avoid a fire or explosion.

2. Unpleasant Bathroom Odors in the Home

Does your home smell like a waste treatment plant even after housecleaning and clearing the drains? Sewer gas from the kitchen or bathroom could be seeping into the house. Sewer gas contains hydrogen sulfide, which smells terrible and has toxic components that could cause eye irritation.

Hydrogen sulfide also has the potential to be explosive. Some plumbing pipes have a U-shaped trap that holds water to block sewer gas from leaking into the house. If you haven’t used your bathroom in a while, this water could evaporate and allow sewer gas to seep into your home. Hire a plumber to investigate the source of the odor and resolve the problem.

3. Musty Odors in the Home

A musty smell might indicate a leak in the plumbing pipes or roofing. Leaks lead to water damage and mold growth in dark, damp areas of the house. If you notice a musty smell but cannot see the mold, it may be growing inside the walls. Clean visible mold from any place you see it. When mold is on a porous surface like drywall, it’s better to replace the material.

4. An Ammonia Odor

Often associated with some cleaning products, your home may have an ammonia odor if your pet has an accident indoors and you don’t thoroughly clean up the urine. However, if you don’t have pets and still notice a strong odor, don’t ignore it.

You might have an older appliance that uses ammonia as a coolant that might be starting to fail. It could also indicate a dead rodent that may have become trapped in the walls, mold growth, or a pest problem.

5. Odors in the Home: Fishy Smells

A fishy smell in your home could be a sign of electrical failure. For example, if an appliance in your home overheats, it produces an acrid odor that smells like fish as the rubber, plastic, or other material melts.

Ignoring this odor could result in an electrical fire. If you can trace the source to a specific appliance, have that machine repaired or replace it. If the smell seems to be coming from an electrical outlet, switch off the electricity at the circuit breaker and call a professional to assess the situation and make repairs.

Rambo Inspection Services offers inspections to home buyers and sellers in the Chicagoland area. Contact us to request our services.