Maple Syrup Smell In The House – Causes And Fixes

Have you perhaps noticed that lately, your house smells like maple syrup? We bet your first reaction was to check if any maple syrup was spilled in the house. After ruling that possibility out, you may have attributed it to your imagination.

Is it all in your head? Probably not, as you’re definitely not alone in this predicament. A lot of people are dealing with the same issue, and believe it or not, there are different causes for this issue

What causes your house to smell like maple syrup, and how can you get rid of this persistent odor? Let’s find out. 

Why do I smell maple syrup in my house?

Even if you’re a fan of maple syrup smell in the house, after a certain point, it can get quite overwhelming and even cause headaches. Also, the maple syrup smell we’re talking about isn’t necessarily pleasant; it is aggressive, musty, and overpowering.

If the smell persists even after you’ve deep-cleaned the house, let it air out, changed the sheets and curtains, and deep-cleaned your rugs and carpets, it is possible that there is a bigger issue causing this strong smell

Of course, before jumping to any conclusions and talking about potential solutions, it is necessary to get to the bottom of the issue and find what’s causing this maple syrup odor in the house

In this guide, we will go through some of the most common causes for maple syrup odor in your house and offer some of the best solutions to get rid of it for good.

Air Conditioning leakage

If your house smells like maple syrup, and you’re using air conditioning, it is possible that the issue lies in a leakage in the coils of your AC. Let’s start off by saying that these emissions aren’t dangerous, but they could point out a serious problem in your HVAC.

One of the potential issues when it comes to AC is the odors it emits. If the AC is working properly, there should be no weird smell or sounds, so to feel a musty, maple syrup-like odor coming from your AC unit is definitely a sign that something is wrong.

Sometimes, all you need to do is clean or change your AC filter. If there is a lot of dust or other kinds of buildup material in the filter, the AC will start blowing it into the air, which is particularly harmful to allergy sufferers.

If the smell the AC emits is rather sweet, resembling maple syrup, it is quite possible that there is a leak. This happens because the coolants used in the AC often have a sweet smell similar to maple syrup, and they release it when they start leaking. 

In case the odor isn’t as sweet and it resembles wet wool, it is probable that mold or fungus have developed in your AC unit – or the evaporator coil, to be exact. A fishy, unbearable odor, on the other hand, could indicate a gas leakage, which is a very serious matter. 

Gunpowder smell coming from your AC could be a sign of an electrical failure. If you experience this kind of smell, make sure to turn off the AC immediately and contact the service. A bigger electrical issue could even lead to fire, which makes this issue urgent. 

In case your AC is emitting a maple syrup-like odor that is predominantly sweet, there is probably a leak of the AC coil. If you notice any frost in the area around the coils, or if there is any excess moisture, this could be a sign of leakage

What’s more, if the AC isn’t producing hot air on its opposite side, this is also one of the most accurate indicators of coil leakage. Thankfully, there are several actions you can take to prevent your AC from leaking and producing that distinct maple syrup smell:

  1. Make sure you’re servicing your AC regularly. A regular service will detect any issues or defects before a leak occurs, so you can prevent it in time. Also, it is necessary to clean the AC coils frequently to prevent the acid from building up and leaking.
  2. Invest in a coil lamp to prevent any bacteria from appearing and spreading inside your unit. This will not only create leaks and issues in your AC, but the AC could release the bacteria into the air, which is the last thing you want. 
  3. Invest in a VOCs-neutralizing air purifier. If the sunlight was able to reach into your AC unit, this kind of gadget wouldn’t be needed. Fortunately, there are air purifiers emitting UV rays to neutralize any volatile organic compounds around you. 
  4. While on the topic of VOCs, it is important to note that you should limit their use in your house.

However, if you notice that the leak has already happened, it is best to contact a professional and have them clean the AC and repair or replace the coils if necessary. Only a technician can solve this issue permanently, and you don’t want any quick fixes.

Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD)

Another possible cause of a maple syrup odor in your house that has nothing to do with the hygiene of your home or your house appliances is the maple syrup urine disease (MSUD)

While this is a rare condition, it is hereditary and can be passed from one family member to another. This condition basically means that the body is unable to properly process certain amino acids (protein elements).

In case someone living in your house is dealing with this condition, this could be the reason behind a maple syrup smell, especially in the bathroom

What you can do in this situation is air out the house regularly, use the AC, as well as air purifiers and humidifiers with natural essential oils.

Mold that smells like maple syrup

If you notice that air smells like maple syrup, it could be that there is mold in your house. As you probably already know, mold is a serious issue that can affect your health, especially if you’re experiencing allergies or respiratory issues.

It is pretty much impossible to stop the mold from appearing and spreading altogether. However, since we’re well aware of which conditions it proliferates, we can take action to prevent it. Also, there are methods to remove it when it appears. 

The main factors in mold growth are mold spores (that exist in almost every single home or building and we can’t really do anything about them), darkness, warmth, humidity, and oxygen. As you can see – it is pretty easy for mold to produce and spread. 

The only factor we can control, in fact, is humidity. Mold will appear when there are leaks, stagnant water, or if there is a big temperature difference between two walls, which, once again, creates a humidity issue. 

If your bathroom smells like maple syrup, you should definitely check for mold. When you think about it, the bathroom is usually the most humid room in the house, which makes it an ideal setting for the mold to grow and spread all over the walls.

Aside from the characteristic strong smell, mold is easily recognized since it appears in the form of dark, usually black dots. However, its shape and color may change, depending on how much it has spread.

Mold can also develop in different house appliances, such as the house heater. If your house heater smells like maple syrup, open it up and look for mold on the inside.

There are multiple ways to remove mold in your house, depending on the affected area and the severity of the issue. Here is a highly effective method of getting rid of mold in your house:

  1. Make sure to wear protective gloves and glasses to protect your skin and eyes. As you can already imagine, this cleaning solution is highly toxic and you want to avoid getting it on your bare skin.
  2. To properly clean moldy surfaces, you’ll want to use a mold cleaner. Mix ¼ water and ½ cup bleach-based mold cleaner to create a powerful cleaning solution. Scrub all the affected areas to remove the mold stains.
  3. In order to protect the area as much as possible, but still, remove the mold efficiently, you should scrub the area using a soft brush
  4. Once you’re done scrubbing the affected areas, you want to leave the mold cleaning solution to sit for some time, allowing it to penetrate into the surface and kill all the remaining mold.
  5. In case you’ve applied too much cleaning solution, remove the excess by wiping the area, but you don’t need to rinse the area, as this would only interrupt the process.
  6. Also, you will need to air out the room overnight after using the solution since it has a very strong, unpleasant smell. 

How to prevent maple syrup smell in my house

Since mold is the most common issue, let’s dive a bit deeper into it and find out how we can prevent the malt syrup smell in your house.

Even after you’ve removed the mold, it is important to take certain steps to prevent it from appearing again. As we’ve explained, you can’t definitely stop the mold from producing and appearing in your house, but at least you can lower the risk.

In case you’re looking to prevent the mold from re-appearing and releasing that annoying maple syrup odor in your home, here’s what you should do:

  1. Monitor and manage the humidity levels in your house! Humidity above 50%, especially during summer, is a perfect setting for mold to grow and spread. You can manage the humidity by using an AC, or a dehumidifier if necessary.
  2. Look for any potential/current water leaks, and repair these areas. As we’ve mentioned, mold loves humidity and water, so you want to make sure this isn’t an issue in your home, whether it be a problem in the roof, plumbing, or wall structure,
  3. In case a leak or a flood happens, make sure to allow your house to dry completely and quickly. In case of a bigger leak or a flood, it is necessary to dry your house out completely in 28 hours. 
  4. If there has been water damage and you’re repainting your walls, make sure they’re completely dry before starting this process. Also, it is advised to mix some mold inhibitors into the paint to ensure the mold won’t appear on your freshly painted walls.
  5. In case you can’t dry some of the upholstery elements, carpets, or rugs, it is recommended to remove them from your home. Also, try not to have carpets or similar interior elements in humid areas of your home.
  6. Make sure problematic areas in your house, such as windows and gutters, have been water-proofed, especially if you live in a rainy climate.
  7. The most humid rooms in the house, especially bathrooms, basements, and kitchens, should always be cleaned with mold-killing solutions which will inhibit mold growth. 
  8. Ensure there is proper ventilation throughout your house. If the air is trapped in an area and it doesn’t circulate freely, this will create a perfect surrounding for the mold to appear and spread.
  9. Rainwater can also be a huge issue when it comes to mold, so make sure it is directed away from the house foundation. If the water reaches your crawlspace or basement every time it rains, it will be hard to stop the mold from spreading.
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