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Indoor Air Quality Problems: Sniffing Out Smells.

Posted by Michael Kamps on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 @ 02:00 PM

Point Your Nose In The Right Direction And Follow It To These Areas; It Might Tell You Something.

I don't know about you, but women are better than men when it comes to sniffing out smellsonlinecomfortsmelly in your home. If you'll check these areas, it could tell you some interesting things:

Attic smell:

The attic smells different: it’s a combination of the insulation, the wood dried by the summer heat, and maybe the remains of squirrels, mice, or both.

When you smell this in the upstairs of a house — not in the attic — it's a telltale sign of extreme air leakage: lots of holes in the basement and attic floor that allow air to leak out, and to move in the other direction on some windy days.

Basement smell:

It’s alarming when you can smell that musty basement smell on the first floor. Even the basement should not smell that way — if it does, work on controling the sources of the moisture by improving exterior drainage, putting vapor barriers over damp walls and floors, and dehumidifying, among other things.

If that smell is working its way upstairs, look for air leakage from the basement up through plumbing and electrical penetrations, and moisture problems migrating up from damp basement walls through sill plates. Check the bottoms of exterior walls for signs of mildew or mold, and manage the water at its source.

Shower smell:

If you can smell that moist, shampoo-scented air from the shower and you are not in the bathroom, then you either don’t have a bathroom exhaust fan, it’s not on, or it’s not powerful enough. Unvented bathrooms can cause your home to rot from the inside out — costly and bad for your health. Put in a bath fan if it’s missing, and get the electrician to have it come on with the light or with a humidistat.

Kitchen smells:

Sometimes it’s nice to smell what’s cooking all through the house, but in the long run it’s bad for indoor air quality, particularly due to the moisture generated by cooking. Install a range hood and run it when cooking, but look out for problems with high-capacity range hoods.

Stuffy smell:

Does it smell stuffy? Many homes and offices don’t have enough fresh air, for a variety of reasons. In commercial buildings, the most common problem is poorly designed or malfunctioning ventilation equipment. Calling in an indoor air quality expert to test may be wise. In homes, it’s likely that there is no ventilation system bringing in fresh air, and because of weather patterns or because the home is relatively tight, you’re not getting enough fresh air. A qualified HVAC Contractorcan help.

Tags: Mold, Indoor Air Problems, IAQ, Moisture Problems