Why Is There a Strange Fish Smell in My House?

A lot of weird scents and odors can come and go through our houses. It could be from something we cooked, from the air outside, from our pets, or just something that we have left uncleaned.

Some of them would just go away on their own. However, there are some that just linger on—take a strange fish smell for example.

If you come across this unwanted scent, wait no time. Immediately identify the problem as it could be one of the eight reasons we discuss below.

What’s the Reason Behind the Strange Fish Smell in My House?

Why does my House Smell like Fish

A strange fish smell in houses can stem from a variety of reasons. Let us explore some of the primary causes that may result in this issue.

Remember, the first step is to find the source of the odor (see all of the steps below).

The second step is to remove the smell with a scent device or an air purifier. If it’s something more serious then don’t hesitate to call the professionals so it can be handled properly.

1. Mildew and Mold

The presence of mold and mildew in your home may, strangely enough, emit a pleasant odor.

Whether it is in the basement, kitchen, or bathroom, mold and mildew build-up can cause a fish, pungent fragrance, or a fish sticky smell. 

Mold and mildew result due to the presence of water, fluid, and moisture in certain areas of your home.

While the scent of mold and mildew may seem fishy and pleasant, it can still be injurious to your health and hygiene.

2. Refrigerant Leakage

A fish odor in your home may also result from a refrigerant leakage situation. Refrigerant is a substance that aids in the proper operation of a refrigerator. 

If your refrigerant leaks, it can give off a strangely fish scent.

If the leak is not fixed immediately, it can lead to serious medical problems as the refrigerant contains some hazardous components.

3. Air Conditioner Leakage

Like refrigerants, air conditioners too come with a liquid that helps aid proper function. If this air conditioner liquid escapes, your house may smell fish and maple syrup-like. 

Air conditioning leakages occur when formic acids from various parts of your home combine with the copper in your air conditioner.

4. Furnace Leakage

Another source of a fish scent circulating your home could be a leaking furnace. 

In most cases, the heat exchanger in the furnace pumps hot air via the air ducts. If it spills, it will emit a pleasant, formaldehyde-like smell. 

However, unlike the other reasons, this fish smell is out of the ordinary, potentially signifying a threat that must be addressed right away.

If your heat exchanger starts to give off a fish smell, shut it down immediately and get it looked at by a professional.

5. Insect Infestation

It may sound strange, but an insect infestation can also result in a fish smell in your home. In general, bugs or insects that can generate fish oil emit a fish scent. 

A fish odor can indicate a bug infestation, such as ants, bedbugs, cockroaches, etc.

If you come home after a vacation and detect a fish smell, be sure to consider a possible insect infestation.

6. Surrounding Appliances

Most people are familiar with the unpleasant smell of fish that can linger in a house long after a meal has been cooked.

However, many people don’t realize that the source of this smell may be hidden in their appliances. 

Fish oil is highly volatile and can easily escape from cookware during the cooking process, contaminating other surfaces in the vicinity.

Once it has bonded with these surfaces, it can be difficult to remove. 

To get rid of fish smells in your home, start by giving your appliances a good cleaning. Pay special attention to areas where fish is typically cooked, such as the stovetop and oven. 

In addition, be sure to ventilate your kitchen well while cooking to help dissipate any residual odors. By taking these simple steps, you can help keep your kitchen smelling fresh and fish-free.

7. Loose Wire

If you’ve ever noticed a fishy smell in your home and can’t figure out where it’s coming from, there’s a chance that it might be coming from loose wires.

Believe it or not, fishy smells are often caused by electrical issues. 

When wires are loose or exposed, they can create sparks that cause a burning smell.

This burning smell is then compounded by the fact that wires are often coated with a PVC insulation that contains phthalates, which are known to have a fishy odor. 

If you suspect that your fishy smell is coming from loose wires, be sure to have an electrician check them out as soon as possible to prevent any potential fires.

8. Additional Chemicals and Gasses

We use many electrical devices, all of which contain an array of chemicals and gases.

fish smells may result due to such gas or chemical leaks. Cyanide gas, for example, might leave your home smelling like a delicious almond.


How can you get rid of the fish smell from your home?

If you know the root cause of the issue, you can direct your eradication efforts accordingly to get rid of the smell.

What to do if the smell is due to molds?

If the fish odor results from mold and mildew build-up, you must clean them to eliminate the smell. 

Clean any areas that are exposed to persistent wetness like the kitchen, bathroom, and basement, for example.

Cleaning carpets, rugs, mats, and other such items can also be beneficial.

How to fix refrigerator and air conditioner leaks?

To address a refrigerant or air conditioner leak, it is best to seek expert assistance.

How to deal with a furnace leak?

If you suspect a furnace leak, get professional assistance right away and evacuate your home because carbon monoxide leakages can be very dangerous.

How to get rid of pest infestation?

In most cases, bed insect infestations can be resolved by washing the bedsheets in warm water.

Furthermore, you can use vinegar or commercial remedies to repel mosquitoes or bugs.

If you suspect a massive infestation, however, seek professional assistance.

Can I fix the ventilation problem?

You can remedy a ventilation problem by ensuring that the house has adequate ventilation.

Open the house’s doors and windows and switch on the fans to allow air circulation.

I am experiencing chemical odors. What to do?

If you notice other gasses or substances that have a fish fragrance in your home, you should seek professional help because you may not be aware of how hazardous the fumes or chemicals are.

Final Thoughts

A strange fish smell in your house can be caused by different things. As such, it’s never a good idea to ignore them.

Identifying the problem is, just like other things, the first step in solving it.

We hope the eight reasons we have discussed above will make it easier for you to solve this issue in your house. That way, you can make an informed decision about the appropriate steps to do next.

It’s always wise to address a problem before they become worse, especially when it comes to our house. After all, you don’t want to end the day worrying about it as you sleep.