7 Unlikely Odors that Can Invade Your Home

7 Unlikely Odors that Can Invade Your Home
From air fresheners to candles and sprays, most homeowners diligently work to keep their home smelling fresh and fragrant. Despite your efforts, your home will get occasional stinky aromas. You can address usual stinking culprits, like garbage disposals and pet beds, but that might not always do the trick. If your home smells unpleasant and you can’t get rid of it, you might have one of these seven unlikely odors invading your home below!
1. Skunk
The pungent smell of skunk is an odor no one wants to have in his or her home. However, keeping the skunks out of your home won’t necessarily prevent their smell from coming inside. For example, there are a few ways the smell can unexpectedly invade your home:
• A skunk sprays around your home and drifts into your home with a draft
• You (or your pet) unintentionally walk through a recently sprayed area and bring the odor into your home
• If your pet gets sprayed
• The odor seeps into furniture fabric when your dog comes inside and immediately jumps on the couch or rolls on the floor after being recently sprayed
Skunk smells are not an odor you may expect to have, but it is a strange odor that can come inside!
2. Sewer gas
Have you come home before and wondered what that foul, dirty smell was? Chances are, you could be smelling nasty sewer gas. Sewer gas odors are a sign that there is a problem with the plumbing in your home. Some plumbing issues that can cause sewer gas smells are:
• A leak in the toilet
• A plumbing vent pipe (possibly more) has a crack
• There’s a block in the vent pipe
o Flowing water creates a vacuum when the air is blocked and sucks out of the P-traps’ base which is supposed to block sewer gas
If you suspect a sewer gas problem, you may need to call a professional plumber – depending on your plumbing skills and the tools you have.
3. Septic tank stink
When you in a rural area, your wastewater is probably treated via a septic tank. Although septic tanks are helpful for onsite sewage treatment, it might be the source of the awful stench in your home. The common causes of septic take odor are:
• Vent stack issues – The vent stack (a pipe passing through your home’s roof that releases tank gases) can either be clogged or covered by debris or too short to overcome downward wind
• The drain is dry – A trap holding water prevents gases from leaking or passing through could have dried up
• Broken gasket or seal – Normally found around pipes, a common faulty culprit is around the bottom of a toilet
4. Animal odors
Another usual culprit of home odor is animal waste. Of course, this is an unlikely odor if you do not own a pet. However, pet or no pet, animals can cause funky smells in your home. For example:
• Fur – If you visit someone who owns a shedding pet, the fabric of your clothes can bring fur into your home
• Waste – While out and about, you might accidentally step in animal waste that can be brought into the home if you don’t realize it
• Unwelcomed pests – It’s possible that you might have a pest invasion, like rodents or birds, that can be causing the stink
• Scent marking – If you happen to have a pet, strays could be visiting and marking around your home
• The neighbor’s backyard – If your neighbor isn’t picking up their pet’s droppings in their backyard, the unkept smell may travel into your house
Thankfully, loose fur strands, scent marking, and waste are simple to clean and prevent. However, pests might require animal control or exterminators. Hopefully, your neighbors will be understanding if you need to politely inform them their pet’s business is becoming your business.
5. Cigarette smoke
Nonsmokers may be surprised to come home and discover their house smells like cigarettes. How is this possible? Even if you don’t smoke, cigarette odors can invade your home by:
• A smoker who visits you transfers cigarette smells from their clothes to your furniture
• Bringing home the smoky smell after visiting a smoker’s home – or sharing a car ride with them
• A draft flowing through open windows carries in whiffs of the neighbor’s smoking
• Bringing home furniture or items previously owned by smokers
• Contractors who are performing work on your home, and are taking smoke breaks, leave behind whiffs of cigarettes around your home
Thankfully, the Internet is full of easy tips to get rid of this odor!
6. Outside garbage cans
Although it might seem obvious, people forget odorous smells in their home can be from outside trashcans. Ironically, these trashcans are supposed to keep smells from previously inside trash hidden. However, the trashy smell can invade your home when:
• Your trashcans are too close to windows, doors, and vents
• The wind blows the smell towards your home
• A hot day causes the trash to heat and become more pungent
• The neighbor’s cans are particularly odorous or carried in by a draft
• Critters and pests either knocked over the can or open or tip the lid off while scavenging
Luckily, garbage odors are easy to combat.
7. HVAC system
Finally, and unsuspectedly, your HVAC can be causing your home to smell. This problem is extremely frustrating since your HVAC is needed to keep your home’s climate comfortable. Your HVAC may smell because of:
• Mold – Condensation collects in the ducts
• Oil – Either there is an oil leak, or the oil burner is not working
• Electrical – Overheating or starting after being off long-term can cause an “electrical” smell
• Gas-like smell – There could be a pipe leak or dust is burning off the furnace
• Natural gas leak – To warn people of a natural gas leak (which is odorless), companies add a rotten egg aroma
Some HVAC system odors can be serious, so don’t hesitate to call a professional if you think you need to or have questions!
Get the Stink Out
Odors are inevitable – some time or another – no matter how hard you try to prevent them. When checking the usual smelly spots of your home, you may be surprised to still smell the odor; with no explanation. When this happens, inspect the seven previously discussed odors as they may cause the unlikely odor invasion!

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