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Thread: the nose knows?

  1. #1
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    Default the nose knows?

    How often do you guys use your sense of smell to detect damage? I imagine sometimes rot is so bad that you can smell it through siding. Is any smell of combustion in a basement a bad sign?

    I wonder if anyone's ever thought of training dogs to sniff out insect colonies.

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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    My beagles nose knows. Sorry, couldn't help myself.

    There are beagles trained to sniff termites. For me, if a house smells like an old pirate ship when I walk in, it gets me concerned.

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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    A beagle! Perfect. You should train him to sniff out rotten wood. So I'm not the first who thought of that, huh?

    Pirate ship makes me think of salt, wood, and spices.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    The first thing I do upon entering a house is to use my smeller to detect odours such as mildew, cat odours from litter box, dog smell, cigarette smoke, cooking odours, natural gas, fuel oil...

    My olfactory organ has been very helpful in my inspection diagnostics.


  6. #6

    Default Re: the nose knows?

    I also pay attention to multiple air fresheners. Remember the old Airwick? And how they didn't get rid of odors, but rather numbed your sense of smell so you didn't notice them?
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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    I can typically smell a moisture issue as soon as I enter a house. When the odor gets more intense as I stand a the top of the basement steps before even going down, I know I'm going to find mold or rot and standing water or all of the three. I regularly smell gas at gas lines to furnaces and water heaters. I don't even carry a gas sniffer. My nose is extremely sensitive.

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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    Seasoned inspectors use eyesight, hearing, smell, feet, taste & touch; in other words all their senses.

    Last edited by Jerry McCarthy; 03-30-2012 at 02:30 PM.
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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    Seasoned inspectors use eyesight, hearing, smell, feet, & touch; in other words all their senses.
    Hmmm, does that mean inspectors are tasteless? Or they've got their foot in their mouth?

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    Seasoned inspectors use eyesight, hearing, smell, feet, & touch; in other words all their senses.

    What about taste?


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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    Seasoned inspectors use eyesight, hearing, smell, feet, & touch; in other words all their senses.
    "Feet"? My feet are one of my senses?

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    Funny you should mention feet.

    I always do my inspections in my socks (with the exception of crawl space, damaged floors and when I look at the electrical panel).

    It's just a habbit I've built up. Barefeet is easier to detect if the floor is unveven or not.

    The funny thing is how often I have matching socks with people who are present at the inspection.

    Zane


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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    Seasoned inspectors use eyesight, hearing, smell, feet, taste & touch; in other words all their senses.
    Forgot the most important one that all are to use all the time, Psychic Connection, which takes over where x-ray vision fails.


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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    Ooooh, Psychic Connection, they teach that to HIs? That does it, my mind's made up...where's that study guide...

    But seriously, I'm going to start paying more attention to smells and what they have to say. I've heard women have a better sense of smell than men - high time I started to use it!

    What about the question I asked about a gas combustion smell in a basement? It seems like something must be wrong if I can smell anything like that, but maybe a faint smell is normal? I dunno.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    It's pretty common to smell gas or a combustion smell from a furnace or water heater upon ignition, but then it should stop.

    If you can still smell the combustion after it's running a short time it's most likely back drafting.

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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    I regularly smell moisture/mold etc before I see it. Smell is a HUGE tool for me. I've actually felt like something's missing when I'm sick or plugged up with alergies (thanfully it's rare for me).

    Unfortunately, I usually just pick up on smelly socks and "wet dog" but I just chalk that up to calibration


  17. #17
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    Raiymond, what is the significance of the dog smell, cigarette smoke and cooking odours?


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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    Good morning Darrel

    The significance is the smells have most always permeated the carpeting, wall surfaces.

    Such odours can be offensive to some folks who have sensitivity to odours.


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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Good morning Darrel

    The significance is the smells have most always permeated the carpeting, wall surfaces.

    Such odours can be offensive to some folks who have sensitivity to odours.
    It is significant to the inspector, who may have to don a mask to get thru the job.

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    ... and how many times have inspectors found kittys little calling cards outside of the litter box? You know behind the furnace, water heater, couch, closet, crawlspace...


  21. #21
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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    I can understand the importance for the comfort of the inspector. That's cool.

    The offensive to the buyer comment is not relevant to an inspector. It should not be a listed as a deficiency in a report. Especially since the buyer has almost always already been in the house and is still trying to buy it.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    Thanks, Ken! Good to know these things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    Raiymond, what is the significance of the dog smell, cigarette smoke and cooking odours?
    I suppose it could also mask the smells that are important to the inspector.

    Sometimes the cooking smells make my mouth water. Friday it was Indian curry with basmati rice. Yummmm. Didn't even enter the house, could smell it as soon as I got out of the car.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    The smells I detect are not for my benefit, they are disclosed for the benefit of the purchaser whether they have been in the house before or not.

    Recently I had the opportunity to inspect a vacant house for my clients. They had been in the house prior to retaining me. When I got there I picked up on the odour and the fact there were fungi growing out of the baseboards of the basement and active leaks in the foundation.

    Believe it or not not everyone can detect odour because they have a medical condition. Not everyone has the same sensitivity to odours.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    A house I did in Dec was on the market for over a year. The owners were from New Delhi. The smell of curry was noticeable, although I have a great olfactory senses (yes I am bragging). The HO had to remove all carpets and repaint the kitchen. I think they used kilz on the walls to help. All this to sell the home, my client did purchase, the new floors and painted kitchen sold him.

    There was nothing overly wrong with the house. It smelled like curry, I like curry, but, there are strong smells that will and can bother you. Cat litter box, amonia, dead mouse in cold storage (this morning), wet dog and carpeting...these all have to be mentioned. As a diesel mechanic I smell furnace oil in the basement. And not here to judge, tobacco smoke, I have a respirator and one particlular home I almost went to go put it on, just from the smoke smell. It is nauseating

    Other than taste (unless you gotta) I think we use the rest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    I can understand the importance for the comfort of the inspector. That's cool.

    The offensive to the buyer comment is not relevant to an inspector. It should not be a listed as a deficiency in a report. Especially since the buyer has almost always already been in the house and is still trying to buy it.



  25. #25
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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    The smells of potpourri, some scented candles and air fresheners give me headaches and a runny nose. I guess I should list them as defects.

    I questioned dog smells, cigarette smells and cooking odors, not cat urine, fuel smells nor mold.


  26. #26
    Stephen G's Avatar
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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    The smell of fuel could be a defect from tank or a line. The remainder I would list as a curtesy. Having this knowledge in advance they may decide to paint, remove carpeting and maybe have the duct sucked out (which I always recommend).
    Nothing wrong with advising on conditions that exist at time of the inspection. House reeked of smoke. House smelled like fire, and they dont have a wood stove.




    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    The smells of potpourri, some scented candles and air fresheners give me headaches and a runny nose. I guess I should list them as defects.

    I questioned dog smells, cigarette smells and cooking odors, not cat urine, fuel smells nor mold.



  27. #27
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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen G View Post

    have the duct sucked out (which I always recommend).
    .
    How is this done?
    *on what types of Duct?
    .

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  28. #28
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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    I suspect that if a buyer backed out of a sale because you reported heavy cooking odors as a courtesy, the seller would have a good reason to cause problems for you. But I guess this is a case of your judgment for your business and my judgment for mine.

    Have a great day.


  29. #29
    Stephen G's Avatar
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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    The furnace ducts.
    Sears is one company around here. They drill approx 1 inch holes in the ducts and blow and suck out the old cheerios, dog hair, drywall dust etc They have small plastic plugs they insert where they made holes.


    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    .
    How is this done?
    *on what types of Duct?
    .



  30. #30
    Stephen G's Avatar
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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    Ref the heavy cooking smell. That house didnt sell because of an an aroma, never said that the HI picked it up. And if my client chooses that reason to walk, okay. I dont sell homes.


    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    I suspect that if a buyer backed out of a sale because you reported heavy cooking odors as a courtesy, the seller would have a good reason to cause problems for you. But I guess this is a case of your judgment for your business and my judgment for mine.

    Have a great day.



  31. #31
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    Default Re: the nose knows?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    Raiymond, what is the significance of the dog smell, cigarette smoke and cooking odours?
    I did a job once that was going along as normal with the typical things and some unusual foundation movement issues.

    Then, I turned on the HVAC and the whole house started stinking like a dirty wet dog that hasn't had a bath in way too long. The potential buyers started gagging and walked out of the house.

    They didn't end up buying it but it was an accumulation of things. The dirty stinking wet dog smell didn't help.


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