Typically, we think of older properties as having a musty smell that results from their age and from assorted substances growing in dark corners over time. But musty smells are a problem that can affect any home of any age. So how do you find the source of the problem and deal with musty smells in your house?
Being a smell detective
There are several common causes for musty smells in a house, most of which are related to one of the different damp problems or the growth of mould due to poor condensation control in the home. There are different types of damp and different kind of mould and fungus that can grow in the home if the conditions are right for them – usually being too much moisture in the air.
The first step in dealing with a musty smell is to isolate where the smell is coming from and look for any signs of a problem that might be causing it. For example:
- Peeling wallpaper, tide marks or salt stains on walls can all mean rising damp
- Dark stains on walls can mean penetrating damp
- Black spots on the walls mean black mould and usually problems with condensation
Getting rid of the problem
Of course, you don’t have to do this detective work yourself – you can always call one of the local damp proof companies to come and have a look around the property. They will quickly be able to spot any problems and what the cause of the musty smell is liable to be. They can also then offer some solutions to the issue that can both clear the smell and stop is reoccurring.
If the problem is rising damp, then the damp proof expert will usually take a look at the damp proof course in your property. These are normally a dark line around 15cm above the ground level that can be spotted from outside but there are other forms. If the DPC is missing or isn’t working properly, water can be absorbed through the bricks of the house and up to the internal walls. This causes that peeling wallpaper and tide marks and also leads to a musty smell. Replacing the damp proof course will normally solve the problem.
Other types of damp issues
Issues with condensation are the most common type of damp problem experienced in houses of all ages. Condensation is simply air filled with water molecules that strike a colder surface and releases the moisture. This causes wetness on windows and walls and can lead to the growth of mould and therefore an unpleasant smell. Condensation control experts can help you look at ventilation around your home and the causes of condensation to remove the problem and stop the smell.
Penetrating damp usually happens when there is a leak somewhere such as a loose roof tile or faulty guttering. By finding the source of the water leak, you can have it fixed and stop the water gaining access. This will then allow the damp areas to be repaired and the smell removed.