Dealing With Musty Odors & Getting to the Source


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Musty Odors, Water Damage & Indoor Mold Growth

Not every homeowner knows what to look for when it comes to identifying signs of a mold problem or hidden water damage. It can be easy overlook the visual indicators of fungal growth or signs of water damage. However, almost everyone can tell when something does not smell right. Our noses are powerful detectors. Musty odors are usually a telltale symptom of a bigger problem. Musty odors can be caused by a whole slew of things beyond just water and mold. However, in terms of mold and moisture, musty odors are often the result of the following:

  1. General wetness– damp building materials, wood rot, etc. Odors caused by dampness smell similar to the stench of damp clothes that have been left in the washer for just a little too long. This odor is primarily associated with the moisture that can cause and support mold growth, not necessarily mold itself.
  2. A mixture of gaseous compounds being released by the mold organism itself– the gaseous compounds are called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).  VOCs are a mixture of various compounds (chemicals) that are being released by the mold organism as it eats, grows, and multiplies.

Musty odors can permeate beyond the contaminated area. We get a lot of reports of property owners who detect musty odors but cannot seem to find where it’s coming from. Usually, they can’t find the odor source because they are not looking in the right place. Musty odors are tricky and elusive. For example, just because you smell something in your living room, does not mean it is coming from the living room. It can be coming from an adjacent room, the crawl space below or the source can be hidden within your wall voids. If you are detecting unexplained, musty odors in your Cleveland property that is seemingly without a source, you could have a hidden mold problem or hidden water damage. A certified mold inspector in Ohio will have the skills, tools and experience to thorough assess your Cleveland Ohio property and determine if mold is responsible for the musty odor.

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Common Areas For Mold Growth & Musty Odors

While musty odors can be incredibly elusive, Ohio homeowners can, at the very least, eliminate the common areas most vulnerable to mold growth and water damage. Water damage and mold growth can occur anywhere throughout your building structure; BUT, some types of mold growth in certain areas of the structure are more common than others. If you detect musty odors, be sure to always check for the following:

  1. Basement MoldCrawl Space Mold — Basements and crawl spaces are notoriously damp and especially vulnerable to mold and water damage. This makes basements and crawl spaces the prime suspects when a musty odor is plaguing the home.
  2. Attic Mold — Unfortunately, attics often suffer poor air circulation and high humidity. This leaves attics incredibly susceptible to moisture buildup and mold growth if OH homeowners are note careful.
  3. Kitchen Mold / Bathroom Mold — Kitchens and bathrooms are generally designed with adequate ventilation and air circulation; however, they can still be a breeding ground for heat and moisture. When you are cooking, running the dishwasher, or showering, that heat and moisture create a lot of steam and condensation. If you are careful, this can cause mold issues.

Mold and water damage could also be lurking underneath building materials, within wall and ceiling voids, behind furniture or other non-exposed surfaces. If you musty odors have you worried about hidden mold growth, consult a mold removal company for professional help.

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The Importance of Odor Source Removal

When dealing with odors, the most important thing to keep in mind is source removal. When we detect an unsavory odor, a common reaction is to immediately open all the windows to air the space out. This is a very temporary bandage for a much more complicated problem. Source removal is the only truly effective way to deal with an indoor odor. Masking the odors with air fresheners or opening the windows to cycle in fresh air — these are all temporary fixes. As long as the stinky source is still there, the odors are sure to return.

It sounds simple right? If something stinky is making your whole home stinky, get rid of it. Whether it is wet building materials or moldy contents– get rid of it. As simple as it may sound in theory, it can be much more completed in practice. Musty odors are elusive and difficult to track. A musty odor isn’t bound to its original source, odors can permeate throughout your home and make it seemingly impossible to find place of origin. If you detect musty odors that you suspect might be originating from undiscovered water damage or mold development, a trained mold inspection professional in Cleveland Ohio can help. If a mold inspector determines that the musty odor source is an underlying mold problem, your inspector will be able to provide you with a detailed scope of work to actively remove the mold contamination. Following a thorough professional mold remediation, you and your family can return to a clean and odor-free home.

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