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Something that’s odoriferous carries a smell. When you hear someone use the word odiferous, just hope they’re not referring to your breath or armpits!

I can’t say exactly why, however over the past few weeks I have been running a lot of “I have a smell in my house” type calls. That said, my bold opening statement is that your air conditioner does not smell badly. There must be some kind of an outside influence that is giving your olfactory passages trouble. Let’s stop and think about it for a minute, the air distribution system in your home is made of mostly metal and plastic not things that will typically have a smell, right? So, why am I getting a bad smell in my house?

I have seen a plethora of different things over the years that can cause smells in the home from dead rodents and even an opossum once, to sewer gas. The biggest general offender when it comes to smells is mold. The interior coil of a split air conditioning system is one of the absolute best places for biological growth. If you think about it, mold needs three things to be extremely happy and those are darkness, moisture, and a place to grow. The coil on your typical air handler fits that bill quite nicely. If you are experiencing a musty smell when the air conditioner kicks on, the coil is the likely culprit.

If the coil in the unit is cleaned and you still experience the musty type of smells, the ductwork is the next place to look. The biological growth found on older duct connections is a product of the ducts leaking at the seams. Most ductwork is found in our attics, where the typical summer temperature can top one hundred and fifty degrees easily. So, if you have leaky ducts, we all know what happens when warm and cold air mix. You get condensation, which in turn leads to the big ‘M’ word.

Other smells in the home can get tricky depending on what the smell is. If you are getting a smell from a sink, often times the trap under the sink has gone dry from a lack of use and it is allowing the smells to migrate back into the home. Cracks in the sewer system or a bad wax ring under the toilet can also give you that lovely sewer aroma in the home.

By far the worst one in terms of a smell and locating it is if you get a rodent that goes down a wall and dies. The answer is usually just to wait and it will go away over a couple of weeks. Unless you want to start cutting open walls all over the house, a dead rodent in the wall is impossible to find. You remember the aforementioned opossum? The one and only time I became violently ill on a jobsite, I found an opossum that had crawled inside a package unit air conditioner on the side of a home and it had expired. After two hours of searching I was glad to be able to solve the problem for the homeowner. I estimated from the level of decomposition, and the info my client gave me, that it had been there for a couple of weeks.

As I said earlier smells in a home can be tricky and if you are suffering with the displeasure of an unwanted odor give us a ring or schedule an appointment online and we’ll sniff it out. Stay tuned, next week I will be with a little help from our resident expert John Sauce, talking water and water filtration. As always all puns intended.

House Whisperer out!!


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