Skip to main content

Property Management Blog

What’s that Smell? Home Odors you Should Not Ignore

What’s that Smell? Home Odors you Should Not Ignore

We recently had two work orders where tenants reported smelling weird odors in their houses. Both had legitimate and serious issues that sparked us to write this blog. If you’re noticing a weird smell in your home, the first thing to do is trace the smell. Try to pinpoint the location and the cause of the smell.

We find these areas are among the top causes of bad smells in the home:

  1. Something stinky in the trash or in the fridge
  2. Dirty dishwasher filter trap
  3. Something stuck in the garbage disposal
  4. Pest control issue with rodent or other dead animal

If you’re having weird smells in your home and you can’t figure out where they’re coming from, these tips below will help.

Fishy Smell

A fishy smell should not be ignored as it could be caused by an electrical issue. In the case of our recent work order, it was a receptacle that needed to be replaced. This can also come from an appliance that is having an electrical issue. The fishy smell could be caused from the appliance or an outlet melting so to speak. If you see this issue, we recommend shutting off your breaker to the affected area or appliance and then reaching out to a qualified electrician. Likewise, if you smell any smoke in the house, you should also contact an electrical profession or the fire department.

Rotten Egg Smell

Smelling rotten eggs in your home can signify a dangerous issue that cannot be ignored. This could be caused from a gas leak. If you have natural gas for your heater, dryer, stove, or fireplace, and you smell natural gas, you should exit the home and call the gas company. As natural gas is odorless, a chemical is added that creates this odor to help detect gas leaks. Unlike carbon monoxide, a natural gas leak may not be detected by your detectors. A natural gas leak could cause a fire or explosion. Do not collect any items and leave your home immediately until the gas company is able to visit to determine the issue. This is the most likely cause of a rotten egg smell in your home without actual rotten eggs. 

Alternatively, Chinese drywall puts off a rotten egg smell as gases breakdown in the drywall. After Hurricane Ivan in 2004, we did see some limited Chinese drywall used in our area. Most of these issues have been alleviated but it’s possible that your home could be affected by Chinese drywall. Follow up with a construction professional today.

Ammonia Smell

There are a lot of reasons you could be smelling an ammonia smell in your home, outside of the cleaning product of course. Ammonia smells like cat pee, and of course can accumulate from pet urine. Another common source of an ammonia smell is from other animals or critters in your home. These animals can become trapped in your attic or walls and can sadly pass away, leaving a decaying ammonia smell. It can also be a sign of mold in your home and should be thoroughly investigated.

Musty Smell

If you start to sense your home feeling damp and smelling a little musty, you should immediately investigate for water leaks in your home. I had this at my house and realized the A/C unit was leaking under the return and had actually gotten some of the carpet wet before I noticed. It’s a good idea to commonly check hidden water sources in your home such as the ice maker line, washing machine line, behind your A/C filter, around your water heater, and under your sinks. Undetected water leaks can quickly become a serious problem and lead to mold and mildew as well as significant property damage. Do not ignore musty smells in your home!

If you have any questions about what’s smelling in your home, don’t hesitate to reach out to us to discuss further.