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What Does Mold Smell Like & How Can You Tell?

Those are certainly not the first words you want coming out of anyone entering your home.  Worst yet after you clean and cleaned to make your home is ready for visitors, and for your own family.  Unfortunately, no amount of Clorox and incense will be able to mask or get rid of that smell.  If our houses could talk…is this what they would be saying to each other (See below)

Even if we get used to the smell, or think a good cleaning will do the trick the truth is that we cannot pretend it is gone.  Most homeowners fear the word ‘mold’.  However, if we understand how mold can impact our home, we would fear more not addressing ‘mold’.  It is true that mold is hard to get rid of once it is in your home, and that it can lead to structural damage, expensive remediation repairs, and serious health effects.  However, under the hands of experts (not a DIY project, not a buddy of mine once did this), that smell you smell and mold can be handled and remediated.

If your home has a musty or moldy smell, it is indicative of moisture coming into the home from your crawl space, basement, or walls/windows.  Here are some steps to help prevent/correct this issue:

  1. Look for sources of moisture under your crawl space (around HVAC lines, plumbing, puddled water seeping in from the ground).
  2. Check for standing water near the outside perimeter of your home after rain. It is normal for water to take a couple of hours to dissipate after a good strong rain, but then it should dissipate.
  3. Check to make sure all gutters and downspouts are directed away from the home and extend out well beyond a few inches beyond the home. When water flows toward the base of your home’s foundation there are or will be issued with moisture and structural damage. While you are looking, check your gutters and make sure they are cleaned and again, extending out and away from the home.
  4. Check to make sure your home is well insulated. We know you cannot see behind walls, but you certainly can take a peek at your crawl space and see if the insulation there looks good, dry, and not sagging or dirty/wet looking.

If your home has a musty smell, and the steps above creep you out (very few like tight, musty, spaces full of critters they can’t see), just call the experts and they will gladly come to inspect your home for free.  Even if there is no moisture, you could be losing a lot of heat by saggy poorly hanging old insulation.  So, you may as well call the expert anyway.

So what can be done if any of the above 4 are in disarray, or they look good but the home still smells musty or feels moist or you cannot keep it warm in the colder days?  Call an expert so they can take 1 or more of the below steps to help you get rid of that smell!

  1. Set up a moisture barrier in your crawl space. Even if you have an existing liner, if it is not the proper thickness or is not neatly tacked to the foundation walls, moisture is coming into the home.
  2. Install a dehumidifier along with the moisture/vapor barrier. This is a must when they seal vents and if moisture is present.  This apparatus will help draw any moisture out of the air and push it away from the home.  This will also help prevent mold and the musty smell and keep your insulation dry.
  3. Replace old insulation with properly installed insulation that is dry and tacked well into the subfloor.
  4. Install underground pipe to extend your downspouts further into daylight and pull any water that collects from rain away from the home.
  5. Install a full drainage system around the perimeter of your foundation. By keeping the foundation walls dry, you can prevent that moisture from seeping into your home from the foundation walls.  In the long run, this step also protects your foundation from water damage.

What’s that smell? It’s Moisture!  And it’s time to call the Experts.  AMC911!

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