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Re: General musty smell in house

Hello All,
Thanks for the post Jason. I will definitely look up someone from the www.acac.org.com.
I have run into a similar issue at my townhouse. I just purchased it 2007 and it's a new construction. About a year ago my spare bedroom on the 3rd floor started to give off a peculiar smell. It's a moldy/musty/sewer like smell which comes and goes. It started off just smelling in that room but slowly it's creeping down the stairs. I've had the scented fog treatment done but to no avail. There are no wet spots anywhere in the room.

Re: General musty smell in house

I've been dealing with a similar problem (though my seems to have been caused by leaky roof before we moved in). I think that mold companies are there just for litigation. If your not making a claim or lawsuit against someone any contracter can help you as much as a mold company at half the price. Just my opinion. My guess as to what is happening is you had some mold grow inside a wall for some reason in the past. Then during the rainy season the humidity (and maybe some condensation) is getting to the mold and re-activating the smell. Bottom line is you are going to have to cut some holes in a couple walls and take a look for mold. It likes to grow on the paper backing of the drywall inside the walls. You could cut a hole with a drill bit made for cutting holes for can lighting. To repair just put the plug back and mud it in. Some ideas of where to look are: Walls around hot water heater (depends on location - old one may have leaked in past), washer and dryer room (also famous for leaks)include looking at where the dryer exhaust goes. Our dryer exhaust was routed along the inside of a wall and caused some moisture damage because it leaked into the wall), also any window could leak - even if the window itself doesn't leak the frame could be leaking water into a wall. Just take a chance and cut into a couple walls and take a look. I don't know much about basements but i know they can be a problem. I know the smell doesn't seem to come from there but sometimes the smell kind of travels. As a final thought i would go around the outside of the house and look at where the walls meet the ground. Does the water run away from the house well? Is there concrete that meets up to the house or dirt. If dirt, dig a little and see if water is somehow leaking in somewhere. One last thing if all else fails, since it mostly smells in the rain, consider some additional ventilation such as ventilating the attic (attic fans etc), and ventilating the basement (maybe a return vent to the HVAC system). This should at least keep the moisture levels and condensation levels down. Good luck!

Timothy Miller
Re: General musty smell in house

Howdy, consider pulling up the basement carpet and pad and i think you will find the odor source. Concrete is porous and allows moisture transfer this moisture and dust makes for perfect fungus and mold growth.

Mold testers are pricy and probably not necessary would have a carpet cleaning company that does restoration work for water and fire come and look and tell you allot. Plus they apply ffungisides that treat mold etc. Mold testing became real popular when asbestus testing $ money ran out surprisingly the equipement works for mold. Insurance comapnies have limited the exposure by limiting the $ available for mold restoration and instantly the cost to remediate mold went way wya down go figure.

An air test will tell you there is mold. The control test outside the building air test will tell you if the air has the same an or other molds and the concentration as mold spores are dam near everywhere.
Musty smell is likely evidence of fungas growth.

So a real real likely spot is under basement carpeting and or bathrooms under rugs or along crack and crevices of tubs tile showers and glass doors or under the edges of linoleum - for starters. If your home has an attic be sure to inspect it too. Any crawl spaces be sure you have plastic over the dirt and seal it to the walls .

The old rugs, to kill the mold in them take them out into the bright sun shine expose for 2 hours per side- UV kills mold. Look under the sinks for evidence of moisture and around base of toilets.

If you discover a small area consider mixing 1 part Clorox in 8 parts water in a spray bottle and mist the area - it is also a great mold killer. Just do not spray it on carpet as it will stain it.

Bob Gabrilson
Re: General musty smell in house

Smell the drains. If they dry out (the P-trap), sewer gas (smell) comes into the home. I've seen this happen a number of times. Just a thought.

Meadow Worker
Re: General musty smell in house

I have tried almost every suggestion given and have found what worked in our old ratty, smelly farmhouse was to put in every room an ice cream bucket of kitty litter mixed with baking soda. I use a garden trowel and stir it regularly to rejuvenate it. We also use a dehumidifier. I fought the odor for years, washing and scrubbing and sanitizing every surface before I tried this. It works.

Re: General musty smell in house

Does any part of the house have a crawl space? I would check that out as well. I would think walls as well. Good way to tell for a leak is to remove some baseboards. That's how we found a massive leak!


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