Tracking down the source of a musty smell in a home can be challenging. Musty smells are usually connected with high humidity in the home. Sometimes there is a specific, easily fixed solution such as a leaking pipe. But there can also be extensive water damage leading to the musty smell and even mold and mildew.
Here are some things to consider as you try to remedy musty odors in your home.
Find the Source of the Moisture
In most cases, a musty smell is directly due to overly humid conditions in the home. Replace leaking fixtures or hire a plumber to track down leaking pipes that are out of sight. Moisture may be leaking in pipes in the walls and causing your wood, drywall or other materials to grow mold or rot.
Another source of moisture might be a leaking roof, which should be repaired immediately. In other cases, underground sources of water may cause moisture to rise through the foundation and floors and into the home. To remedy this situation you may need to dig a trench to the footing of the foundation and apply waterproofing material to the foundation.
Remedies for Bad Odors and Mold
Once the source of the moisture is eliminated, clean up mold and mildew by using bleach, ammonia, peroxide or vinegar. In some instances, you may need professional help with mold removal. If wood, drywall and other materials are damaged, they should be replaced.
If musty odors persist, invest in ultraviolet germicidal irradiation bulbs for your HVAC system. These systems help kill mold spores and other organisms. The bulbs need to be changed every year or so, as they will not kill mold, fungus and mildew if they grow dim.
You may also need to invest in a dehumidification system. Portable models are available, but will not work as well as whole-home models. Installing exhaust ventilation in the home can also help, particularly in a bathroom or kitchen where mold and mildew are likely to grow.
To learn more about eliminating a musty smell, contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).