A lot of the issues with homes can’t be seen with your eyes. Use your nose to sniff out problems to see what’s wrong.
Unfortunately, a lot of homeowners ignore smells until it’s too late.
Leaking natural gas, for instance, can smell something like a dead mouse or skunk. Utilities add that unpleasant odour to naturally odourless and colourless gas for the purpose of warning you when it escapes. Ignoring the warning smell and flipping a light switch can cause a spark that ignites the house. Turn off the gas source. Leave the house and call the local utility.
Radon gas is odourless and colourless and can only be detected through testing. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer; first for non-smokers. The only way to find out if your house has radon is through testing. You can purchase a test kit yourself.
At RDC, we are committed to creating healthy homes to our clients. We are now testing all of our renovations for the presence of Radon and will be ensuring that each of our new homes has the latest mitigation standards in place.
Rotten-egg smell is a symptom of both septic gas, which leaks in through the plumbing, and toxic drywall, which off-gasses hydrogen sulfide. If the house has been sitting vacant for a while, dried-out traps might be letting in septic gas, which is lethal in large doses. If running water through the system doesn’t eliminate the smell, call a plumber.
Once plumbing gets ruled out as the source and the smell persists, you could have a worse problem with that bad drywall, which can short electric systems and make you sick. It was imported to North America from 2001 to 2007, so some homes still have it. It must be professionally removed.
Don’t overlook a strong urine smell as being just a pet accident. If there is also a stain on the ceiling, it could mean raccoon infestation in the attic. And in some cases, it’s a red flag that the house might previously have been used as a lab to make methamphetamine, an illegal synthetic drug. Residue can cause breathing problems, similar to an overgrowth of mold. Decontamination can cost thousands of dollars.
To remove mold, you have to remove excess moisture and humidity from your home through proper ventilation, especially in damp areas like bathrooms, crawl spaces and basements.
And don’t forget to keep up with your seasonal home maintenance and repairs. Your home is the biggest investment you will ever make. Protect it right and you’ll be alright.