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Smells in the home

The following advice may be helpful in identifying unusual smells in the home.


Contact Transco gas emergencies line on 0800 111 999 immediately.

If they do not find any leaks there may be a dead rodent in the wall cavity or under the floor etc. This smell will usually last for about two weeks before disappearing.

Drain smells

Check to see if waste pipes are blocked or water traps have dried out. Check inspection chambers on your property for signs of a blockage. Sewerage is provided in South Gloucestershire by Wessex Water.

If the odour is putrid, there may be a dead and decaying rodent trapped somewhere, particularly if you or one of your neighbours have recently had pest control treatment.

Fishy smells

This can be caused by older electrical fittings such as wiring, Bakelite ceiling pendants, sockets etc. Check to see if the smell is present only when the electrical item is in use.

Oil, petrol and diesel smells

These can be a result of:

  • spillage
  • a┬áleaking heating oil tank or supply pipe
  • overfilling a petrol tank in hot weather
  • attempts to steal fuel from a vehicle
  • storage of white spirit or other solvents
  • cleaning paint brushes etc. with solvents and pouring the liquid into the sink or the drain

Please notify fuel spills to us urgently. This is so we can ensure there is no risk to the water supply from the fuel attacking the plastic mains water pipes.

Rotten food smell

Check behind work surfaces, fridges and cookers to see if anything has fallen there. Try to remember where you might have stored food that you have since forgotten about.

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