If you experience a musty smell when returning home, odds mold or mildew is growing somewhere inside your home. Mold has a fluffy appearance and can be white, black, or colorful. Food often becomes moldy as it rots. A few types of cheese, like blue and Roquefort, have veins of mold growing inside them. Mildew is a powdery substance that grows on living plants and fabrics like carpeting, drapes and upholstery.
Mold and mildew are mother nature’s natural decomposers. Both require moisture and organic matter as food to thrive. When you smell it in your home, it indicates that there is a colony of mold or mildew growing somewhere. The odor may be an early warning sign for water leaks inside walls or a basement that’s wicking water from the soil. Other sources might be plumbing fixtures like sink drains, washing machine, or the garbage disposal.
Finding the Source
Your nose is the best way to track down the source of the musty smell. If it’s in the walls, look for mildew or mold growing on the drywall or nearby. Leaking pipes, ice dams, or roof leaks can send water into the walls or ceilings. Spongy drywall also indicates mold.
Plumbers use cameras to find the source of leaks inside walls or ceilings and you might be able to find a roof leak by entering the attic on a sunny day and looking for daylight. Wet insulation also indicates a roof leak. Look for compressed areas or darker areas.
Getting Rid of the Problem
Vinegar is one of the least toxic ways to get rid of mold and mildew. Pour it down the sink drains or add some to the washing machine. Washing or deep cleaning fabrics might remove the mildew odor. Having the HVAC thoroughly cleaned, including the ducts, can remove much of the smell as well. Putting UV (ultraviolet) lights in the HVAC system will also stop mold and mildew infestations.
For more information about getting rid of the musty smell, contact Air Assurance, providing HVAC services for Broken Arrow homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 918-217-8273.