You just purchased the perfect home, with the perfect layout, in the perfect location. There’s just one problem – it’s victim to “old house odor.” You know what we’re talking about – that stale, musty smell that “welcomes” you the minute you walk through the door. The one that no amount of air fresheners and scented candles can mask.

Sure, you can walk around with nose clips and ask your guests to do the same, but that’s not exactly practical (or comfortable). So, what’s a homeowner to do? To banish the smell, you need to understand and treat the cause. Only then can your home smell fresh and clean.

First, these are the primary causes of old house odor: poor ventilation, excess humidity, not enough light, and years of set-in household odors.

  • Start by removing or cleaning carpets and upholstery. Carpets and upholstered items absorb ambient moisture, pet odors, cigarette or cigar smoke, cooking odors, and more. Together they make a room or entire home smell less than pleasant. Remove as much as possible or have them professionally cleaned if replacement is not an option.
  • Walls trap odors, too, so wash them before painting. In a bucket of hot water, dissolve a half cup of Borax, 2 cups of distilled vinegar, and 16 ounces of hydrogen peroxide. Use a clean, large sponge to wipe each wall with the solution and allow to dry thoroughly. And don’t forget to apply a quality primer before painting.
  • Look for and repair water leaks. Even a slow pinhole leak can increase indoor humidity, damage belongings and building materials, and promote mold growth. Inspect all visible or accessible areas for plumbing leaks and repair immediately. And remember, just because you don’t see or hear a leak doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist behind walls, ceilings, and floors. To test, make sure no one is using any plumbing or water-using appliances. Next, take a water meter reading, wait one hour, and check the meter again. If it’s changed, you likely have a hidden leak.
  • Let the sun and fresh air work its magic. Dry out any wetness immediately by running large fans and opening windows. The sun’s UV rays are a natural disinfectant, so allow as much natural light in as possible. During warm months, run the central air system to remove excess moisture from the air and keep humidity levels in check.
  • Neutralize odors by leaving opened containers of baking soda and distilled vinegar in unobtrusive places out of reach of children and pets. Sprinkle baking soda on carpets and area rugs, let sit for at least 30 minutes, then vacuum, preferably with a vacuum cleaner that contains a HEPA filter.

Once you’ve removed most if not all old house odors, the last thing you want is for them to return. So, to ensure that doesn’t happen, contact PC Plumbing, Heating, AC & Remodeling to request a proposal on a whole-house UV air filtration system. We’ll explain in plain English how they filter out dust, lawn chemicals, formaldehyde from new carpets, and other common – and uncommon – indoor air pollutants. Equally import, whole-house UV air filtration systems remove unpleasant odors, all year long. We look forward to your call.