fishy smell fuse box

Fishy Smell in your house?

Can you smell something fishy or burning in your home but can't see an obvious source?

That fishy smell could be a fault in your electrics that is causing something to burn, melt, or overheat.

That stink can be because of the chemicals used in the insulating for the wiring throughout your home. If you notice a fishy smell in any rooms of your house, call an electrician as soon as possible. As these types of faults can lead to fires, you must get it checked out as a priority.

In wires, sockets, fuses (circuit breakers), lights, and other electrical components, They use plastics and heat resistant chemicals. These are the elements that would be causing the fishy whiff. Sometimes people also compare it to a urine odour. The best and safest way to sort out that awful scent is to call a qualified electrician to investigate and repair the faulty electrics.

Fuse Box Main Switch Fishy Smell

Fuse Box Main Switch which had a Fishy Smell

What can faulty electricals smell like:

  • A stench like fish
  • Urine Odour, sometimes people mention cat Urine
  • Plastic burning scent
  • Musty fragrance

Types of problems like this that can lead to the fishy aroma could be identified early through an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report). Learn more about an EICR hereIn short, an EICR is a report and investigation into the current condition of the electrics within your home to make sure they are safe. Electricians recommend getting an EICR if your electrics are more than 25 years old or if unsure when they were.


Scorch Marks on Switch which caused the smell

Scorch marks under the switch show the damage and where the fishy smell was coming from

7 Signs your Electrics may be faulty?

  • Scorching marks on plugs and sockets
  • Buzzing, dimming, or flickering lights
  • Warm sockets, some people also report a small vibration on the switch or socket.
  • Smoke from plug sockets, light switches, or wires.
  • A circuit that keeps tripping regularly
  • Frayed wiring or damaged insulation on cables
  • The fishy or Urine smell


According to, over 14,100 domestic fires originated from home electrics during 2018/19 in England. That’s over 53% of all accidental home fires!

That is why you should get that smell investigated now, not tomorrow.

Wires that are exposed and not entirely insulated can also increase the chance of electrocution. Getting a zap from a power socket or light switch is dangerous and sometimes fatal. That is why it is essential to get a qualified electrician to investigate and repair the problem.


Fuse Switch Which Smelt Fishy

Overheated Fuse Spur from an immersion heater

How to prevent electrical devices from overheating

  • Don’t plug too many devices into sockets. We all have many different electrical appliances these days. Old home electrics have not been designed for this amount of power in mind.
  • Sparks, flashes, or smoke from devices, when plugging in electrics, could be a sign that the wiring is damaged, or in poor condition. It may be wise to replace this or get them PAT tested by an electrician.
  • Get an EICR from a qualified electrician. That will tell you the condition of your home electrics. It is advised to get an EICR, if your home electrics have not been checked in a while, or moving into a new home. If you are moving into a new home, it may save you a lot of money in repairs.

How do we sort out that Fishy Odour?

Recently the Doctor Electrical electricians have been called out to two homes in Nottinghamshire, near Arnold and Clifton. Both have reported a fishy smell in their homes. One was a light switch, and the other a fuse box was the source of the fishy smell.

The team at Doctor Electrical was able to investigate, identify, and rectify the issue quickly and without making a mess.

The electrician could show evidence of the problem. The solution was explained and then fixed.

By recognising this fishy smell and calling an electrician, both of these clients saved themselves from a potential electrical fire.

Doctor Electricals electricians are friendly and always transparent with customers. They explain the problem, so you fully understand how to rectify it.

Contact Doctor Electrical Today


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duane gilbert

Duane Gilbert

Duane Gilbert is the Managing Director of Doctor Electrical. A problem solver with 'hands-on' experience. He has been in the electrical industry since leaving school and built up a wealth of experience. Connect with Duane on LinkedIn >>

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