I frequently find air fresheners of all kinds around homes that are for sale. Sometimes it is flowers or incense, or fresh baked cookies, or the plug-in type. Some people apparently like to have these plug-in type even when the house isn’t for sale.
Bathrooms are a common place for them, but often they are in every room of the home. The plug-in type are a night light with oil in them. The heat of the bulb warms up the oil so that it gives off the desired odors.
I am no fan of these things or anything that puts noxious odors into the indoor air. I, like many people, am bothered by all kinds of perfumes. As an inspector, I am not interested in how nice they smell but want to know what someone is trying to cover up with the smell, like the odors of pets, smoking, or the “M” word.
A while back I inspected a commercial property where in one of the “rustic” potties there were signs where one of these oil-filled air fresheners had been. The lamp was gone, but as one can see in the picture there are signs of where the genie had left the bottle. Maybe the genie had moved into the paper dispenser above?
There was a particular brand of these things that was recalled and “rumored” to be prone to catching on fire, but that was largely misinformation and anecdotal. This one was more likely used as a cigarette holder which then caught the device on fire.
While they are not likely a fire hazard there is some evidence that they actually do contribute to worsening the indoor air quality as opposed to improving it.
Now that is a different kind of Genie to let out of the bottle.
I know my nose agrees.
Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector
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