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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

The Causes of Odor and How We Can Help

9/19/2023 (Permalink)

The Causes of Odor and How We Can Help

Odors are... well, smelly, and there are many reasons why your home or business can develop a strong odor. As experts in deodorization, we are trained to identify and eliminate offensive odors. These odors can come from a number of sources both inside and outside a structure. So, let's talk about the causes of odors and what we can do to help get rid of them.

Water Damage

Water damage is one of the biggest causes of odors. If your home or business deals with any kind of water damage whether it be from a storm causing flooding or a leak somewhere in the building, water will cause a very stagnate, musty smell.

The smell will get worse as the time goes by, so it's important to get your water damage dried out and restored right away. You don't want to have to live with a musty smell in your basement, living room, kitchen, or anywhere in your home.

If you suffer from any kind of water damage, give us a call. We're water damage restoration specialists and we're here to help. We'll be sure to examine the area, figure out the water source if you're not aware of it, and dry your home or business out successfully, followed by any type of structural damage restoration needed.

That's why you can trust SERVPRO. We will identify the water source and determine the situation to take the proper steps to restore drywall, floors, ceilings, walls, etc. when they fall victim to water damage.

Mold Damage

Mold damage is another source of bad odors. If there were any type of water damage that was not taken care of quickly, your chances of mold growth are much higher. Also, higher than normal humidity levels will cause mold growth as well as any kind of condensation or excessive moisture. If you're not able to physically see the mold, you'll know it's there by its smell.

If you have any kind of inkling that you may have a mold problem in your home or business building, please reach out ASAP. Mold is not safe to live with and can cause a lot of health problems down the road. We will properly remediate the mold so you don't have the smell around anymore, as well as the mold itself.

To help you understand mold a bit more:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, AV/heating systems, or even hitch a ride on your clothing or pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture and can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water but be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45%.

Sewage Cleanup & Restoration

Water from sewer system backups should be considered very dangerous. The water is very unsanitary and may contain bacteria and viruses that could cause serious illness. Special training and equipment is necessary to safely clean this type of contamination.

Not only is it very unsafe, but the odor it gives off is awful, especially if it's gray water or black water. What's the difference?

Gray water is considered "category 2 water." This water has a significant level of contamination that could cause discomfort or illness if ingested. Sources for this include washing machine overflows, toilet overflows with some urine, or dishwasher overflows.

Black water is very unsanitary and can cause severe illness or death if ingested, and any contact must be avoided. The source for this type of water includes flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, or standing surface water that has begun to support microbial growth.

Egg Rot

No, we don't mean the eggs that you cook and may have left overnight. The smell of egg rot or sulfur is definitely not pleasant and is a sign that something is seriously wrong. It usually means your either have an electrical problem or a gas leak. Manufacturers of natural gas are mandated to add a special chemical named mercaptan inside so that it is easier to perform leak detection. When this additive isn't present, it won't be possible to smell, taste, or see natural gas. So, if you detect the infamous rotten egg smell, the first thing you want to do is check with your gas company.

Aside from gas leaks, the smell of rotten eggs can also result from faulty electrical systems. If you've checked for a gas leak and none is present, the next thing you'll want to do is try shutting down your circuit breaker. Additionally, the smell of rotten eggs might come from running out of hot water. This is because you probably have an aging anode rod that needs to be replaced. Experts recommend replacing anode rods once every five years or so, otherwise, corrosion can occur, but many property owners are busy, and getting a replacement is easy to forget.

Fishy Smell

If you don't actually have any seafood in the home or in the garbage, a fishy smell often results from electrical components which are overheating. If the plastic, wiring, or other electrical devices smell like sulfur or rotten fish, this means that you potentially have a dangerous situation on your hand like arcing within a switch or outlet that can lead to a fire. As you can imagine, this is not something you want to handle on your own, as you run the risk of being electrocuted or burned. So, it is highly recommended to contact an expert immediately.

Residential Cleaning Services

Odor comes with any kind of mess, generally. We have the expertise to provide a deeper clean than your basic house cleaning service. We use special SERVPRO products that wipe out dirt and grime with ease. If you want a deeper thorough cleaning, reach out. Our residential cleaning services will ease the burden of the constant maintenance cleaning of your home, but will also alleviate any foul odors and create a safe, clean and comfortable living environment for your family.

We offer many types of cleaning that include carpet and upholstery, air duct/HVAC cleaning, odor removal - as we mentioned, sewage and biohazard cleanup, cleaning of ceilings/floors/and walls, furniture, drapes and blinds, trauma and crime scene cleanup, and more.

Commercial Cleaning Services

Let's be real, you don't have time to worry about the common wear and tear that gradually soils your office floors and creates odors that your employees have to live with. When grime, odor, and moisture challenges go beyond the score of your regular janitorial staff, you should call SERVPRO of Lower Manhattan for prompt service. Whether it's removing an odor problem or deep cleaning flooring or a carpet, you can rely on us to make your workspace look its very best.

Our services range from cleaning restaurant hoods to removing biohazard contaminants. We have the specialized training and materials to get your property back to business.


Whether you are dealing with water damage, fire damage, storm damage, mold, or just foul odors, we can help. We have the training and expertise to restore your home or business. As for odor removal, we have the training and equipment to identify and eliminate these offensive odors. By identifying the cause of the odor, and determining the conditions where it contacts surfaces, the odor can often be removed over time without a trace. Our technicians have access to several odor removal products, capable of penetrating surfaces to neutralize an unpleasant odor thoroughly.

The science of identifying and eliminating odors can be a tricky thing, so give us a call and leave the restoration to us.

Aside from that, we're highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial ongoing training at SERVPRO's Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC industry certifications, our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. Our training program includes:

  • IICRC Training
  • Employee Certification Training
  • Initial Franchise Training
  • e-Learnings
  • Continuing Education Classes

About SERVPRO Team Harvey
SERVPRO of Lower Manhattan is proudly owned by Lance and Jennifer Harvey - a husband and wife duo that owns three other SERVPRO locations, including SERVPRO of Aberdeen/Holmdel, SERVPRO of West Somerset County, and SERVPRO of Hoboken/Union City.

We understand the stress and worry that comes with a fire or water damage and the disruption it causes your home or business. Our goal is to help minimize the interruption to your life and quickly make it “like it never even happened."


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