If yousmellrotten eggs, the refrigerator may not be the right place to look. The best thing to do is—evacuate your home or call 911 or the local gas company. Nevertheless, if you find yourself asking the question, “Why does my house smell like rotten eggs?”, we will explain it below.
Where Does the Smell Come From?
Hydrogen sulfide emits a rotten egg smell. It’s a natural occurrence in sewers, so the odor can indicate a sewage backup. Call for immediate help because this gas is highly toxic and flammable.
However, there’s another more dangerous cause.
Natural gas has no odor of its own. A chemical called mercaptan is added so you can sense a gas leak. Extremely flammable, natural gas can be ignited by the slightest spark. Turning on a light, flicking a match, or using the phone may be enough to trigger an explosion, so leave your home immediately and call for help.
Potential Furnace/HVAC Problem
You might notice a slight gas odor when turning the furnace on the first time for the heating season. Dust and dirt may have settled. The unit burns off this debris until the odor quickly dissipates. If this is the case, just open some windows to ventilate your air. There’s nothing to worry about if the smell goes away.
Furnaces emit small amounts of gas every time they turn on. Any odor during this time should be faint. But if you often smell gas throughout your home, the heating unit may be leaking. If you smell rotten eggs, turn off the furnace and call your local HVAC contractor immediately. You may be at risk of carbon monoxide exposure, especially if you have an old furnace, it hasn’t been properly maintained, or there’s poor or blocked ventilation.
Possible sources of a rotten egg odor include:
- Gas Blowing Back In: Gas may be ventilating outside but getting blown back in by the wind. Depending on wind direction, closing a window, door, or flue can stop the gas from blowing in.
- Gas Leak: Common signs of a gas leak include a distinct, persistent odor or a whistling or hissing sound near a gas appliance. If a gas pipe is leaking, the sound will be even louder, like a type of roaring noise.
- Other Causes: If you leave the trash or compost pile near a window by your furnace, decomposing food and other materials may mimic the odor of a gas leak. A propane grill can be the source as well. If there’s one just outside, check whether the propane tank is leaking or not closed properly.
When to Call for Help
If there’s a gas leak, a fire, explosion, or carbon monoxide poisoning may be imminent. Call the gas company or 911 if:
- The smell is constant and you don’t need to sniff around to see where it is.
- The gas smell is coming from the air vents in your home.
- A gas appliance or pipe is making unusual noise.
- The carbon monoxide detector sounds an alarm.
Can I Prevent a Rotten Egg Smell?
Other than discarding last week’s breakfast, along with old trash, you can prevent a smelly situation by maintaining your furnace. Annual maintenance, minor repairs, and tune-ups can keep your heating system running properly and prevent gas leaks. Carbon monoxide is a potentially deadly byproduct of natural gas combustion. It’s colorless and odorless. A carbon monoxide detector is a small investment that can save your life by waking you up in the middle of the night, so you can get outside and to safety.
Call Today for Furnace Repair and Maintenance
Why does my house smell like rotten eggs?” It’s a question we’re sometimes asked, and it can be a dangerous situation. Fortunately, Black Hills Inc. Home Services is ready 24/7 to address emergencies in the Olympia area. We can quickly find and fix the root cause if your furnace is noisy, not providing heat, or there’s a gas odor in your home. Aside from addressing urgent issues, we specialize in heater maintenance that can improve safety, efficiency, and the lifespan of your furnace.
For immediate assistance, call Black Hills Inc. Home Services at 888-743-1041 and we’ll send our licensed, trained technicians to your home.