Common Sources of Foul Odors in a Home
- Mold is one of the most common causes of foul odors in the home. Signs of mold include black, green, or bronze stains on walls, ceilings and cabinets. The telltale sign of mold is the distinctive musty smell. If you do not see the mold visibly it may be required for you to have an IH (Industrial Hygienist) come out to take samples for mold testing.
Tip: The first step in addressing a mold issue is to identify and resolve any moisture issues. Leaky pipes must be repaired. Exhaust fans in the bathrooms and kitchen must be functional and adequate to remove excessive moisture. A home dehumidifier may need to be installed to reduce overall air moisture, and the crawl space may need to be encapsulated with a moisture barrier. A sump pump and a dehumidifier can eliminate moisture in the basement and crawl space.
- Natural gas may be causing a foul odor in the home. The rotten-egg smell is added as a safety precaution since natural gas is odorless.
Tip: If the smell of gas is detected, inspect the stove and any pilot lights for leaks. Open doors and windows to allow fresh air into the home, and call the utility company or a professional for assistance. Take all necessary safety precautions, including evacuating the house.
- Sewer Odors if there is a sulfuric or rotten-egg smell in the home, the source may be one or more unused sinks in the guest bathroom. Drains have a u-shaped joint just below the drain hole. The curved pipe captures water which acts as a seal to prevent noxious odors from the sewer or septic tank from seeping into the home. If the water is not replenished by occasional usage, evaporation will eventually eliminate the barrier and allow the offensive odors to escape into the house.
Tip: Recharge the water in the u-shaped joint on a weekly basis. The water will also serve to flush any organic matter through the system, reducing odors in the bathroom.
- Pet odors can be a real nuisance. “Accidents” on the floor or furniture, wet fur, glandular emissions, pet bedding, and whatever is on their paws from the yard or pasture are sources of pet odors.
Tip: Regular baths and grooming will take care of pet odors at the source: the pet. Carpets, area rugs, flooring, furniture, and pet bedding need to be cleaned several times a year to reduce odors.
Smoke from cigarettes, cigars, or a pipe is obvious upon entering a home. The smell is everywhere. Tobacco smoke coats flat surfaces and penetrates porous materials such as upholstery, curtains, clothing, and carpet. The lingering odor is challenging to remove. The nicotine and other chemicals are also known as third-hand smoke.
Tip: Removal of cigarette smoke requires a whole-house approach. All surfaces must be washed with a safe, effective cleaning product. Rubber gloves, protective eyewear, a mask, long sleeves, and long pants are necessary to protect against nicotine poisoning. Walls and ceilings may need to be sealed with a high-quality stain- and odor-blocking primer before applying paint.
Household garbage can produce strong, disgusting smells that contaminate the home.
Tip: Solutions include using a kitchen trash can with a lid. Use a plastic bag in the can to keep the inside of the trash can clean. Empty the trash regularly. Avoid putting scraps and grease in the garbage. Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of the can to absorb odors. Wash the can with an all-purpose cleaner or a bleach solution to remove grime and kill bacteria.
Something as small as a decaying tiny mouse can create a strong, pungent odor that can make a home uninhabitable. A dead animal in the crawl space, in the attic, or between walls can be difficult to find and remove.
Tip: Professional services may be needed to locate the issue, clean it up, sanitize the area, and deodorize the home.
SERVPRO of North Prince William County specializes in odor control in the home. If the situation has gotten out of hand, our IICRC Certified Technicians have the equipment, advanced cleaning techniques, and EPA - approved products that make a smelly home clean, fresh-smelling, and healthy.
Contact us by at 703-368-4399 or email Office@SERVPRO10476.com to learn more about our services for the North Prince William County area.