Attic Smells You Should Never Ignore

Posted by Roofco February 13, 2019

Here is a scenario to consider: You lying on the couch after a long day at work but you keep turning your noise; thanks to a lingering odor that won’t go away. The odor becomes more disturbing and you decide to sniff around the house but, unfortunately, you can’t seem to identify the source of the smell. Finally, you decide to peek up into the attic and you’re overwhelmed by an unbearably bad odor. Sounds familiar?  Attic smells is an all-too-common problem among homeowners, especially during spring. To address the bad odor, you must first identify the cause. This article will walk you through the most common attic odors and how to deal with them.


A musty odor is a sure sign of mold and mildew growth in the attic. In many homes, unfortunately, attics are dark and poorly ventilated making a prime hot spot for mold and mildew. Arguably so, musty smells happen to be one of the most common types of attic odors.  Mold growth in the attic is caused by excess humidity in the attic. Several things could be causing excess moisture in the attic.

The first and the most common is roof leaks. A small leak may not cause a trickle down through the roof and into your living quarters, but its effects up there are just as disastrous. When you notice a musty smell, the best call of action is to invite a roofing repair company for inspection. If you ignore a leaky roof, you’ll end up dealing with expensive damage caused by mold growth.

Broken pipes running through the attic could also cause excess humidity. Also, poor ventilation may lead to moist air being trapped in the attic causing mold growth. Musty smells, wood rot, visible mold, deterioration of masonry are all problems caused by humidity, the cause could be any of these reasons, a roofing professional will help identify the cause.

Dead rat

A rancid, foul, putrid, the smell of decay is how a dead rat in the attic smells. It’s very distinct and one of the worst smells you’ll ever encounter in a building. Unlike the musty smell of mold, the smell of a dead rat in the attic is pretty easy to pick even before you go peeking in the attic. Since rats can transmit diseases, getting rid of rat carcass can put your health at risk, at least according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Once you ascertain it’s a dead rodent up there, call a rodent control professional for safe handling of the carcass. A permanent solution to get rid of rodents in the attic is to seal any entry holes around the house.

Rodent Droppings / Urine

Rats don’t need to die to rank your attic with a foul smell! A combination of rodent droppings and their urine will cause your nose to wrench just as much. Mice droppings may only be the size of a grain of rice, but their stench is unforgettable (and not in a nice way). Their urine is just as worse, so you can imagine how the combination of both should smell. Again, the solution is to stop rodents from camping in your attic by sealing any entryways.

Routine cleaning and paying your attic regular visits will help you deal with some of these issues in a timely manner before they invade your peace of mind.