A musty smell in your home can be a challenge to get rid of. The source may be as simple as a leaking pipe, or as complicated as damp ground underneath your home. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of musty smells in homes.
Detecting the Source of Dampness
Musty smells aren’t always associated with mold, although you can’t rule it out when humidity levels are excessively high in your home. Generally mold smells much stronger than mere dampness.
Look for these possible causes of damp conditions that may be causing a musty odor:
- Leaking plumbing.
- Leaking roof.
- Condensation around windows that gets into wood and drywall.
- Air conditioner with a stopped-up condensate drain.
- Moisture in HVAC ductwork.
- Damp home furnishings, including carpet, books, drapes and furniture.
- Rain leaking into walls.
- Too many indoor plants.
- Moist conditions under the home — possible from leaking plumbing, an underground well or other source of water.
Getting Rid of Musty Odors
You may need professional help, perhaps a plumber, HVAC technician or a general contractor, to locate the source of the dampness. Once repairs are done, you may find the source of the dampness is eliminated but that you have to do a thorough cleaning of the areas affected. With musty or moldy air conditioner ducts, you will need someone with the right equipment to clean the ducts thoroughly. You may also have to replace carpet, wooden floors or drywall and ceilings to eliminate the odors.
If you have mold, you may be able to clean it with bleach, hydrogen peroxide, borax, vinegar or ammonia. Be aware that bleach will not penetrate into surfaces, and the roots of mold can go deep into materials. Plus bleach in particular may damage the materials. The ways to clean with these substances will vary, so do your research. If the mold infestation is extensive, you may need to hire professional help to deal with it.
For more on dealing with a musty smell in your home, or for all your HVAC issues, contact Detmer and Sons of Dayton.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Dayton, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).