I have three teenagers living with me in our relatively small house, and yesterday I walked into my family room and it smelled like feet. Yuck. I searched around and found some stinky socks stuck between two couch cushions. We have been home a lot more than normal because of social distancing and Covid-19 and I can tell… because it smells in here and my house has been lived in much more than normal. I do have a nose that is particularly attuned to funky smells because of the type of work I do so it’s not surprising to me that it drove me a little crazy. Fortunately some baking soda and a thorough vacuuming were enough to make my couch smell pleasant again.
It did get me thinking though about how often people don’t really notice the smells coming from underneath or above their homes. I have walked up to countless homes and known they had a rat problem because of the smell coming from the crawlspace vents. I get it, smells are often hard to place and people can easily think it’s something else… especially when they live with three teenagers like I do. It can actually be a problem though because smells coming from crawlspaces and attics are never a good sign. If it is a rat problem then all of that contamination eventually filters up into the air you breathe (Rat feces, urine and dirt, oh my!). If it is groundwater or mold…. similar problem. I also see sewer pipes that are leaking into crawlspaces but that is another issue entirely. None of it is really good for our health. The science is hard to come by but I can tell you from having done thousands of inspections that air from crawlspaces and attics easily moves up into the house. Often I hear from customers who have a problem that they didn’t know about that every now and then they would get a whiff of something but really weren’t sure what it was. Smells come and go and it would often go away. Similar to a sippy cup full of milk that has rolled under a toddlers bed and stayed put for a week, you don’t know what you’re smelling, but it isn’t good.
When in doubt, check it out. Now more than ever we want the air in our homes to be as clean and fresh as possible. Hope you and your family are safe and well -Jess