Environmental Issue & Sick Building Syndrome Blog

Sniffing Out the Cause of House Odors

June 22nd, 2013 10:30 PM by Dan Howard

We react to bad odors on a very basic, fundamental level. A smelly house is unpleasant and almost always unhealthy. When you can’t find and correct the reason for the odor it can affect your health, quality of life. It can devastate your pocket book if you try to sell your home.

Bad odors are almost always Mother Nature’s very firm and insistent warning sign to “stay away”. If you are living in a home that smells bad, the message she is sending is to fix the cause or get away. If you are looking at a home to purchase, the message is “YUK, don’t buy this house!”   

There are solutions to the indoor air odor problem other than moving into a tent or leaving the windows open all year around

House odor identification is a complicated issue because it is usually the result of several causes working together. It can involve heating, plumbing, animal control, pesticide application, hot water tanks, cleaning products, furnishings, appliances, mold and a host of other causes that even professional tradespersons may not recognize. Usually a homeowner has exhausted a list of contractors before calling a house odor environmental specialist.

Homebuyers, Sellers, Realtors and Odors  

An odor creates a subliminal, unsanitary feeling about a home.  If you are selling a house with odors, promptly identifying and eliminating odors may save a sale or get you thousands of dollars more for your home. People will not usually take the risk of buying a smelly home hoping to find a solution after closing.

Buyers also react to the “plug in” and other fragrance dispensers that seller mistakenly think will trick buyers into not noticing the odor in the home. These fragrances often have formaldehyde or other synthetic chemicals as the vehicle or active ingredients that can be an irritant. One seller had the bright idea of putting potpourri in the blower area of a furnace. Despite the valiant effort, the buyer still saw the fuzzy mold all over the house and moved on to purchase another home.

Homeowners, Illness and Odors 

Imagine that you bought new windows, a new furnace, new carpet or a kitchen for your home. Then you notice a slight odor, maybe you notice it getting a little stronger with the passing of months. Maybe you get used to the odor, but it is getting stronger each month. You had a leak you never noticed, or a neighbor started pouring a chemical down the drain in a home up the street .You may have a child or spouse often getting sick. What on earth can you do?

Odors can be occasional. Many causes of odors are only activated by moisture or high temperatures. Some are only transferred or moved into the home when a heating system is operational or the wind blows changing the homes air flow.


Posted in:General
Posted by Dan Howard on June 22nd, 2013 10:30 PM



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