The sense of smell is one of the most powerful assets homeowners have in detecting potentially dangerous issues within their home. There is a range of odors that could signal serious, life threatening hazards that may require an immediate evacuation of the premises. Knowing what these particular smells are and the steps to take in order to ensure safety is key to preventing accidents and disaster at home.
Below are the telltale odors and the reasons why they should be taken seriously:
Natural gas is a common utility found in many households. While gas is a reliable fuel source and a great way to heat a home, it can be very dangerous. The smell is one of the most identifiable, as it is described as having a “rotten egg” odor. If a gas leak is detected, homeowners should leave the house immediately, make sure all pilot lights are shut off, and contact their local gas company right away.
Another dangerous odor is that of carbon monoxide. Unlike natural gas, this odorless, colorless gas is more difficult to detect, and can be more lethal due the fact its invisible nature. The best way to detect carbon monoxide poisoning is with a carbon monoxide detector. However, if you do get a whiff of something that has a slightly sweet odor, you may be smelling carbon monoxide. If this is the case, evacuate your home safely and open windows to ventilate.
Gasoline or Oil
Gasoline and oil have a very distinct odor, and with good reason, as both are known for being fire hazards. Gasoline can seep into walls and the basement of your home if you are not careful, and if it is present, it is imperative to take precautions by evacuating the home and calling a professional to investigate the issue.
If your home has a slightly pungent but acrid odor, it could be a sign of a short circuit within your home’s wiring. This smell could also be associated with a water leak due to a burst pipe. Whatever the case, a professional should be contacted promptly to deal with the issue and your safety should be taken as priority by leaving the premises.
Similar to a pungent smell, an electrical odour is even more serious and should be addressed with the utmost urgency. This odor is best described as the smell of burning plastic. This odor should not be disregarded and the home should be immediately evacuated and professionals contacted for assistance.
Why is it Important to Evacuate Immediately?
There are several key reasons why homeowners should evacuate immediately when any of the smells described above are present in the home. Here are the three most important reasons:
Protection from Danger: Evacuating from a home when a hazardous smell is detected will safeguard from any potential danger, such as carbon monoxide or gas poisoning.
Minimize Damage: By evacuating the premise when an issue is detected, potential damage and loss of property is lessened.
Reassurance and Comfort: Knowing that the proper action is taken to respond quickly and safely to a hazard provides the reassurance and comfort necessary for homeowners to handle the situation.
Precautionary Steps for Homeowners
Although unpleasant odors are a sign of potential danger, there are key steps homeowners can take to ensure that such occurrences are prevented. These steps include:
Regular Maintenance: Homeowners should regularly inspect and maintain their gas lines, electric wiring, and plumbing. This will help get ahead of any potential problems and detect any potential issues before they worsen.
Hire a Professional: In some cases it may be beneficial to hire an experienced contractor to regularly inspect and provide maintenance services to your appliances and other systems in your home, this way, any potential hazards will be dealt with right away.
Know Your Utilities: Homeowners should familiarize themselves with their own utility services and their safety standards in order to respond quickly and effectively in crises.
Install Detectors: Carbon monoxide and natural gas detectors are now required in many homes and are essential for alerting homeowners of hazardous levels of these gases.
It is important for homeowners to understand the various smells of danger and know when and how to respond. Taking precautionary steps and regular maintenance can help protect against tragedy, but at the end of the day, taking action and evacuating your home when the worst-case scenario arises is key to ensuring safety within our homes.