Your home can foster all types of unpleasant and lingering aromas from a stale cigarette or cigar smoke to cat urine or fried fish and smells coming from your bathroom. The nastiness of these odors and the wide range that can cause them are why almost 250 million Americans use room deodorizers and freshener sprays. This number is reported by the U.S. Census and Simmons National Consumer Survey.

Some home odors are objectable, however, others could mean you have a hazardous condition in your house. Before you think about getting rid of odors, you should first learn what is causing them. An example would be a home that smells ‘pickly’ or ‘fishy’ could be a risk of a more serious problem. These are examples of odors that could be in your home and the possible reason behind them being present.

Fishy Smell

If you or someone else has noticed a ‘fishy’ smell in your home, it might be from something more than your last fish-fried meal. This odor should have you calling an electrician as it could be the result of frayed wires or cords or even an electrical component overheating. You may also have some incorrectly sized fuses or breakers, faulty outlets, or overheated insulation or electrical shielding. If these issues are not investigated and corrected, it could result in a house fire.

Rotten Eggs

Natural gas is used as a heat source in about half of the homes in the United States. It is also used to dry clothes, cook, and provide hot water to homes. If this gas line develops a leak, typically there is no odor as natural gas is colorless and odorless making leaks undetectable. Because of the risk of leaks and the inability of homeowners noticing it, gas companies add a foul-smelling odorant to the product so a ‘rotten egg’ odor will emit from any leak.

If a rotten egg odor should present itself in your house, vacate your home immediately and call the gas company right away. Do not call from your home, go to the nearest neighbor or use your mobile phone from a safe distance. An unhandled gas leak could cause an explosion or fire.

Locker Room Smell

The ‘dirty sock’ or ‘locker room’ odor that can present itself in a home might be coming from a teenager’s gym bag, or it could be caused by bacteria backing up in your heating system’s coils. Bacteria can grow any time of the year but is more prevalent in the fall and spring seasons because your system is cycling between cold and heat more often. This cycling causes condensation to develop which is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Talk to the experts at Austin Fire & Flood if you suspect this growth in your home as they can perform mold remediation and removal to preserve your indoor air quality.

Bathroom Odor

If there is a sewer smell coming from your bathroom, don’t blame the last occupant. You will want to contact a plumber as the smell may be an indication your vent pipe or plumbing system is clogged. The sewer odor could also be a result of a broken sewer pipe. Other reasons for this odor could result from your P-trap drying out if it has not been used in some time, or your water heater having a faulty anode rod.


When food rots, it has a distinctive smell that many describe as ‘sickly-sweet.’ This odor could be the result of a potato falling behind a cabinet or could be the result of a mouse or rat dying inside your duct work, walls, chimney, crawl space, or attic. You will want a professional to check your home to learn where the odor is coming from and why. Austin Fire & Flood offers mold and odor removal from homes. A team from Austin Fire & Flood will respond immediately to help you learn the cause of your odors and remove them safely from your home.

Don’t live with any form of dangerous or unpleasant odors in your home. Contact Austin Fire and Flood to learn the cause and find a solution to make your indoor air clean and healthy for you and your family.