Ever wondered if your shower's affecting your health? Or why your electrics smell of fish? New research reveals all...

We explore the UK’s weirdest home maintenance problems, and get the all important answers

Have you ever asked Google a slightly odd question about your house and thought it was just you? If you’ve ever asked if your shower was making you ill, why your electrics smell of fish or why your toilet seat was turning purple, you’re not alone.

New research, by home maintenance firm Aspect, analysed Google search data to discover the issues that cause the most concern, and confusion, for UK homeowners. The results revealed the weird and wonderful things asked within the past year regarding home maintenance.

Among those are 'Is my shower making me ill?', 'Why do my electrics smell of fish?' and 'Why is my bath water green?'. Not pleasant, but clearly good questions as they are surprisingly common.

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What else gave us cause for concern...

Bizarre home maintenance problems

bathroom with blue wall shower duck and tap

(Image credit: Future PLC/Ideal Home)

The nature of the questions appears to depend on the type of property we live in. Those living in smaller properties are more concerned with ongoing maintenance issues. The most commonly entered searches for people living in flats were 'Why is my flat is so cold', 'Is my flat making me ill?' and 'Why is my flat so dusty?'.

The top three weirdest electrical queries were, 'Why do my electrics smell of fish?', 'Is my fuse box illegal?' and 'Why is my fuse box clicking?'.  The three
Weirdest plumbing questions were 'Why are my taps vibrating?', 'Why is my bath water green?' and 'Why are my drains gurgling?'.

It seems no question is too odd to ask if it concerns us.

home design with home maintenance problems

(Image credit: TBC)

Aspect Home Maintenance

Not only did the research team at Aspects unearth the most commonly asked questions, they provided the answers...

Our bizarre questions answered

We asked 'Why do my electrics smell of fish?' They answered, 'If a connection is damaged, it can start to smell a bit fishy. Always call a professional electrician to investigate for you.'

'Why is my toilet seat turning purple?' The experts say, 'No one really knows why. Pregnant women sometimes find their toilet seat turns a purple/blue colour. It’s also been speculated that some medications can cause the skin to leave a blue/purple mark on plastic. Of course, if you’ve been wearing a new pair of jeans, it could be that the dye has stained your backside and it’s rubbed off.'

'Why is my bath water green?'  Here's why, 'Green/blue water suggests a problem with copper piping. Elevated copper levels can cause health problems, so it’s important to have this fixed by a professional as soon as possible.'

'Is my shower making me ill?  The verdict is, 'If you clean your shower head regularly, it should stay relatively free of bacteria. UK tap water comes fresh from underground sources, lakes, reservoirs, and rivers, so is safe to bathe in unless United Utilities advises differently.'

house with white wall and windows with green door and trees

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

Aspect’s director of operations, Nick Bizley says, 'While some of the queries are quite obscure, it’s a positive sign that we’re so curious about our homes and what makes them tick. As long as people take the relevant health and safety precautions - especially concerning ladders and tools - and they don’t tackle any tasks that involve safety regulations, like gas or electric work, it can be extremely rewarding to figure out and fix our own home maintenance problems. There’s a lot of great advice online to help with this too.'

“It’s also a good sign that so many of the queries - such as 'is my roof safe to walk on?' or 'are my windows energy efficient?' suggest that the UK has a healthy curiosity about safety and energy efficiency.'

Read the full Q&A here (opens in new tab).

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Tamara Kelly

Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.