Your House Stinks! Get an Indoor Air Quality Check

Every house has a signature smell, a certain “Eau de Family Home”. Some are stronger than others; is a strong smell an indication of poor indoor air quality?

There’s the smelly socks in the living room, the hair spray and aftershave in the bathroom, cooking smells from the kitchen, the moth balls in the closet, the wet dog in the hallway and that musky smell of sheets and clothes waiting to be laundered in the bedroom. These are the (usually) harmless odours of everyday life that makes a home smell like home sweet home.

But when people visit a strange house their senses are alert to anything unusual – sights, sounds and smells. As you return from summer vacation, you may find some unusual smells revealing themselves to you.

There will be a little stuffiness because the house has been locked down while you were away, but it may be a good time to question whether your indoor air quality is healthy. With homes becoming more and more air-tight for energy efficiency all year round, fresh air is virtually shut out, meaning harmful smells cannot evacuate. And while the general public is becoming increasingly more aware of the dangers of so-called “air freshener” sprays, and scented cleaning products that can be potentially hazardous to health, there are other smelly warnings that should set off alarm bells. If your headaches, irritated eyes, runny nose, or difficulty sleeping returns quickly after a time away on vacation, you might be experiencing the early warning signs telling you that you should take a sniff around your house.

Things to check for are:

  • unusual odours;
  • stale or stuffy air;
  • noticeable lack of air movement;
  • dirty or faulty central heating or air conditioning equipment;
  • damaged flue pipes or chimneys;
  • excessive humidity;
  • presence of moulds and mildew.

Any or all of these may not be signs of poor air quality, but if you are concerned, it’s worth a check for the sake of your health. Symptoms of poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) are common to many different ailments, but a physician, allergist, or dermatologist can help determine physical conditions that may account for the symptoms experienced. The symptoms are often most severe during the winter months. Often the side effects of poor IAQ affect only family members who spend the greatest amount of time at home, such as stay-at-home mothers and their young children.

IAQ can be checked by a professional. Mose Home Inspection Services offers expertise inspections for the following:

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
CO2 levels are a key indoor air quality indicator. Every person exhales CO2. It rarely directly affects health, but is an excellent indicator of adequate (or inadequate) ventilation. Low CO2 concentration means human generated pollutants are well diluted and gives a good indication that that thousands of potential building generated pollutants are being dispersed. Typical background levels of outdoor CO2 levels are usually around 350 ppm (parts per million).

Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Unusual levels of Carbon monoxide (CO) means there’s a combustion problem – something in the house is not working properly. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, colorless, odourless, and tasteless gas. While it does not a detectable smell, CO is a common industrial hazard resulting from the incomplete burning of natural gas and any other material containing carbon such as gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane, coal, or wood. When found in low concentrations, it can cause fatigue in healthy people and chest pain in people with heart disease. At high concentrations, it can cause impaired vision and coordination, headaches, dizziness, confusion and nausea. Some people experience flu-like symptoms that clear when they’re not at home. CO can be fatal at very high concentrations.

Temperature, Humidity, Dew Point and Wet Bulb Temperature
When at abnormal levels, these are a good indicator of mould, which can cause health problems. As these parameters can vary with geographical area, season and other factors, and are not generally used as an indicator of IAQ on their own.


Volatile organic chemicals (VOC’s) often don’t smell at all, but can be harmful to your health. These are emitted from household products such as old paint cans, mothballs, fuel oil, sprays, solvents and building materials. We test for 400 different VOC’s.


Molds can grow behind walls, in carpets, rafters and other damp places undetected. When mold is in an active growth phase, it releases gases into the air called Mold Volatile Organic Compounds (MVOCs). Not all of these gases can be detected by smell, but they could affect your health. You are more likely to be aware of a problem if a member of your family suffers from a mold allergy.

The bottom line?
If you are experiencing health problems and think your “Eau de Family Home” may be a little off, it’s probably a good idea to have your IAQ checked.

Consult the Mose Home Inspection Services Indoor Air Quality Testing page to find out what chemicals we test for, or call now to talk to a member of our team: (514) 426-1095

For your amusement! Fresh Air Quotes:

Fish and visitors smell in three days.
-Benjamin Franklin

An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
-H. L. Mencken

The key to inner peace and tranquility is mindfulness in breathing. Breath In, Breath Out.
-The Buddha

Mose Home Inspection Services
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Anna Lising
Anna Lising
00:07 16 Oct 21
Carol was easy going and made us feel at ease from the first second we met. She is knowledgeable. We appreciate the... little tips and tricks she gave us. Would definitely recommend 👌🏽 Thank you Carol!read more
Lay Chan Wee
Lay Chan Wee
01:19 31 Aug 21
I was impressed with the service provided by Rui Su. He was organized, explained in detail area that I am not familiar... with. He provided a good report. I will recommend him if you need home more
Mary Jane Caro
Mary Jane Caro
14:25 27 Aug 21
I am always pleased to recommend Carol Mose from Mose Home Inspection Services to my clients who have had offers... accepted on residential real estate properties. She is knowledgeable, thorough, provides clear explanations, and delivers comprehensive more
Massimo Pannunzio
Massimo Pannunzio
22:05 25 Aug 21
Michael has got to be on of the best home inspectors in all of Quebec. It was amazing working with him and he had my... best interest at heart when making a life changing decision. He made sure I had all the answers and made it easy to work with him. I will be using Mose inspection for any moment that I need an inspection done that's for sure!read more
Amanda Lee
Amanda Lee
19:14 16 Jun 21
Amazing experience with Carol Mose who helped me with a pre-purchase inspection! She was very approachable and... observant, and informed me of all her first impressions on-site. This gave me greater understanding of any conditions as I was able to ask any quick questions on the spot. Her reports are the most thorough that I've seen and include diagrams to help explain what any physical signs mean and potential consequences. Could not have asked for a better inspector!read more
Maeghan Banks
Maeghan Banks
15:38 14 Jun 21
Carol was wonderful to work with for our pre-purchase inspection. She was professional, thorough and communicative,... taking the time to explain her findings as we went through the house. After the inspection, we felt we had clear knowledge of the condition of the house (both pros and cons), allowing us to move forward with the purchase with confidence. Highly recommend!read more
12:24 13 Jun 21
a professional Inspection expert with all major and minor issues and even potential damages that could happen in the... future, all in detailed and comprehensible more
Ryan Chalupovitsch
Ryan Chalupovitsch
13:43 01 Jun 21
Carol Mose is the best home inspector in the business. Approachable and extremely knowledgeable. She did an... inspection for me and really took the time to explain her findings and help me understand the home I was looking to purchase. Cannot recommend her enough. Don’t more
Elisabeth Faure
Elisabeth Faure
21:16 29 Apr 21
This is the second time I have used MOSE, and they are always really amazing. Very nice, very professional. they came... to have a look at my roof and let me know if we were due for a repair - I was very satisfied with everything and would recommend them to anybody!read more
Hannah S
Hannah S
22:05 16 Apr 21
I had a great experience with Mose home inspection. My husband and I are first time homebuyers and so had a ton of... questions about the process. Everyone we talked with was really informative and helpful. Michael was our inspector and was phenomenal. The inspection was very thorough and he explained everything in detail with realistic next steps for us to take. We came out of the inspection feeling really informed. Plus, he is just an absolute delight! He had very contagious enthusiasm and made the inspection a really positive experience. Would highly recommend!read more
Gabriel Lukuc
Gabriel Lukuc
03:05 16 Apr 21
Michael was amazing. He took the time to explain to us what’s really important and the reasoning behind it. We’re not... very handy nor savvy when it comes to home construction so we really appreciate him taking the time to explain to us all aspects of the inspection. Also, Michael was friendly, professional and timely; he provided the report over a holiday and a more
Stephanie Ballard
Stephanie Ballard
14:24 19 Mar 21
MOSE is the best in the business. Once again we were happy with their inspection services - they are professional,... friendly and knowledgeable. Would not hesitate to recommend to friends and family (and have)!read more
Rodrigo Morales
Rodrigo Morales
18:27 10 Sep 20
Home inspection
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