Identifying Common Attic Odors

attic-03Here’s a scenario for homeowners to consider: you come home after a long day at work and notice an unusual odor. You search throughout but can’t seem to locate the source. Finally, you peek your head up into the attic only for your sense of smell to be overwhelmed by this unpleasant odor. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, scenarios such as this are all too common, leaving families to cope with unpleasant and oftentimes dangerous odors. But what exactly is causing the odor? In this post, we’re going to reveal some of the most common odors found in the attic.


Arguably, one of the most common types of attic odors is mold. If you allow moisture to accumulate in your attic — even in the form of excess humidity — you’re almost certain to experience mold.¬†Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (MVOC) are stinky gasses produced by attic mold. Depending on the particular type of mold, its MVOC may exhibit a damp, musky odor. If you notice this type of odor coming from your attic, avoid entering it unless you are wearing a proper respirator.

Rodent Droppings / Urine

Another potential source of attic odor is from a combination of rodent droppings and urine When mice or rats take refuge in the attic, they are naturally going to ‘do their business’ here. Mice droppings may only be the size of a grain of rice, but they can transmit some pretty nasty diseases, including the Black Plaque (yes, it’s still around). This is why it’s important for homeowners to take a proactive approach towards treating rodent infestations.

Whether your attic is being invaded by mice, rats, raccoons or even squirrels, you must beware of the dangers posed by their droppings/urine. It may only create a slight odor at first, but the real danger comes from the bacteria it contains.

Dead Animal

The worst type of odor (in my personal opinion) is that of a dead animal. The pungent odor of a decaying corpse can easily turn your stomach while making it difficult to enjoy your home. And all it takes is a small rat falling down behind a rafter where it’s trapped and unable to escape for this to happen. When this happens, homeowners typically have one of two options: they can either break through the wall to retrieve the corpse, or they can wait for it to decay naturally.

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