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Effective Odour Control Approaches

Crime scene investigation - collecting of odor traces by criminologist

Mildew might be the cause of most of the odours a Vancouver property restoration provider will come across, but it’s not the only one. There’s a whole host of reasons why a space can have an unpleasant smell to it, and some will come from contaminants and others will be the work of the human inhabitants of that room over time. Either way it’s not going to get much attention in the way of being a major structural or habitation concern, but it can get to the point where some people say the stink is making it darn near inhabitable.

Controlling or eliminating odours can be a challenge. Here are some standard approaches you can try and some tools that we use in the industry for ridding homes of bad smells.

  • First, you need to understand the root cause of the odour, and that’s not always easy to do. Many times the cause will be unknown, but the bottom line is if you can figure out the cause or source of the odour, you are going to going to get a lot farther with removing or controlling it. Make sure you identify the source first.
  • Next, you need to remove that source. Not a problem if the source of the odour is a thing or substance you can see and access. On the other hand, if the odour source is somewhere you can’t see or get to or is beyond your logical control then this may be impossible, and you’ll need to call in a Vancouver home restoration tech. Quite often, however, it really is something the average homeowner is capable of if they’re willing to put in the time and get a little dirty.
  • Now you remove the odour from ALL affected areas. When a source is removed or no longer produces odour that doesn’t mean the odour will dissipate on its own. Odour molecules in the airspace will continue to stay in place, and the molecules that have bonded to or been absorbed into building materials and contents will also need to be dealt with.
  • It needs to be mentioned to put the hands of qualified restoration tech if you need to move any further to deal with unwanted odours in the home. The use of many of the implements, materials, and technologies listed below should only be undertaken by people with extensive know-how of use and safe application.

Commonly Used Technologies

Air exchange: When weather and other conditions permit, air exchange units are a fast and cheap way to bring in fresh outdoor air and force out fouled air. This of course is only effective if the odour source has been eliminated entirely.

Cleaning: The foundation of source removal and a critical odour removal step if smelly residues have accumulated on surfaces or been absorbed into soft goods.

Heat: Applied concentrated heat can be effective for forcing materials to give up their embedded odours and break down various types of them.

Odour Eliminators, Paring Agents, and Encapsulants: Now we’re talking new technology. Without getting into the specific of them and how they work, these products are designed to eliminate odours on contact. Typically they will be used by pros, but you could look into rentals of units.

 Oxidizers: Chemical compounds such as hydrogen peroxide, chlorine dioxide, and others are super effective for breaking apart odour molecules. They penetrate into materials like wood and break down the residues in the cleaning process. Do be careful with them, however, because you don’t want to risk injuring someone or doing damage to finished materials. These products come in liquid and gas/vapour forms and will have very specific safety profiles that you’ll need to know soundly before use.

Ozone: Ozone has been used to deodorize contents and structures following fire losses for decades. It definitely works, but it does have its drawbacks now that we understand more about the potential dangers for humans exposed to ozone, as well as the potential for damaging certain sensitive building or frame materials.

Hydroxyls: Hydroxyl generators are go-to workhorses for any home restoration company in Vancouver. They are able to quickly eliminate odours in the airspace and are safe enough to allow you to continue working in the vicinity. Using them takes a little training and practice, but they are also super effective for treating tough odour issues. They’re not cheap, and will only be used by pros for the most part but you could again look for rentals.

Disinfectants: If the source of your stench is biological, it’s important to make sure any disinfectant you choose says “Tuberculocidal” on the label so you know it’s strong enough to do the job.

Enzymes / Engineered Bacteria: Great for specialty jobs like long-term treatment of crawlspace sewage that has seeped into dirt foundations and for treating pet urine deposits. Again, make sure you have all the information and understand the process.

Odour Counteractants: These products are much more suitable for the DIY person. They can be sprayed directly on surfaces, added to cleaning solutions, or fogged. The best ones are designed to break apart the odour molecules or bind with them. Some only add a scent, though, so be careful or you may create a more unpleasant stink than the one you started with.

There are two types of fogging. ULV (cold) fogging / misting and thermal (hot) fogging, and many of the liquid products mentioned here can be applied to the air with a ULV fogger. It involves burning a product to create a type of smoke, so be sure to use products in a thermal fogger that are specifically designed for thermal fogging.

Absorption / Adsorption: These techniques literally ‘pull’ odours out, and the most common ones use activated charcoal. OdorKlenz-Air Cartridges and Zeolites can grab ahold of an even wider range of odour molecules and pollutants in the air.

Sealing: You need to select a product specifically designed for this purpose and then apply it with sufficient thickness and according to the manufacturer’s directions. Sealing is likely going to work best after you have properly treated the odours with an appropriate odour treatment method. Sealing should be your last step, although it is becoming less necessary as industry professionals learn even more about how odour control technologies can be effectively put to use.

Fixing the ‘dark’ part of dark and dank is easy, but not so much for the ‘dank.’ Still, with a little hustle and exploration along with the right products you can get back to having fresh air in any space.