How to Find What the Odor is in My House?

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Locating a bad odor in your house can seem like a daunting task.

Homemakers and responsible residents spend a lot of time ensuring their house remains clean and free of germs and harmful bacteria. However, the occasional bad smell can cause confusion and consternation if there is no obvious source for the odor. Locating the offending smell can be as easy as spotting an errant piece of garbage, or as difficult as cutting a hole in drywall: But it is important to rectify the problem as quickly as possible to avoid potentially detrimental health situations.


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Step 1

Clear your sense of smell by stepping outside for a few minutes. When you re-enter your house, follow the offending scent until you reach the area where the smell is the strongest. Keep in mind that the smell may be coming from other floors, the attic, crawlspaces, or even through vents outside. Enlist the help of family members and friends if you cannot find the smell yourself.

Step 2

Make sure the vent on the roof is not plugged up by a bird's nest, dead animal, or leaves. Tie a rock to a string and drop it down into the vent. This requires climbing on the roof, so be sure to have a spotter watching you close by. If the stone does not drop all the way down, the vent should be cleaned out.


Step 3

Clean the area of the strongest smell: If the hunt for the smell leads to a spot inside the house. Remove any garbage or old food located in that area, especially old fruit which can rot quickly.

Step 4

For bad odors that lead to walls or floors, hire a plumber or building inspector to drill a small hole in the drywall or floor and snake in a small camera to locate mold, pipe leaks or dead animals.

Step 5

Cut a hole into the wall or floor to remove any dead animals or animal nests, or to repair leaky pipes or water damage.


Always try the least damaging method to locate the odor first - don't immediately cut holes in your walls or floors unless absolutely necessary.



Adam Johnson

Adam Johnson has been writing for online publications since 2008 and in his capacity as a Freedom of Information Act professional since 2002. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Arts in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and a Master of Arts in international commerce and policy from George Mason University.