Sometimes, it hits after a big rain. Other times, it seems to waft up from nowhere and you just shrug it off. But if your house smells musty, it's possible there's a mold outbreak nearby. A mold smell in the house is sometimes described as similar to wet cardboard or a wet rug. It can also have an earthy scent. You might even associate the smell with old houses.
Hopefully, that smell you detect is just a little ordinary mustiness – because a mold infestation, on the other hand, can be toxic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that mold exposure can cause everything from a stuffy nose or eye irritation to serious infection.
What Is Mold & Where Does It Come From?
Mold is a fungus that can be found in damp or wet areas and is comprised of many different species. Mold spores, which help mold species spread and reproduce, can be carried by water or air to new locations. It thrives in wet environments caused by high humidity, slow leaks, floods, or broken pipes. Without moisture, mold cannot survive.
What Causes a Mold Smell in Your House?
Usually, if it smells like mold, it is mold. Mold or mildew odors are both due to the presence of fungi in the air, in pipes, inside walls or hidden in other parts of your home. Mold is thicker than mildew, so if the smell is particularly strong, that's a clue that it's mold and you need to act fast to prevent further growth.
In some instances, mold growth can be due to the weather. A few rainy days in a row can make houses smell musty, but if the smell continues well after the rain is done, it's time to get a mold inspection. In other cases, a burst pipe or faulty appliance can cause flooding that leads to hazardous mold growth if not promptly cleaned up. In any event, the key to remember is that where there's water, there’s the possibility for mold.
How Can You Prevent a Musty House Smell?
As the Environmental Protection Agency points out, the best way to control mold is to prevent it. Follow these tips to ensure a musty house smell doesn't disrupt your enjoyment of your home:
1. Avoid moisture. Don't let floors and other surfaces stay damp after spills or showers. Standing water and condensation can eventually lead to mold growth. If you live in a humid climate, take steps to dehumidify your home.
2. Fix leaks. Leaky pipes can be a prime mold catalyst. Water pools behind walls or under cabinets and then, before you know it, you've got a mold problem. Check for leaks frequently and repair them immediately.
3. Tidy up. It's hard to believe that you might get a case of mold from skipping housework, but it's a real possibility. Empty wastebaskets, wipe down your fridge, throw out old produce, vacuum carpets and keep air conditioners clean. Mold can easily grow in these spots.
4. Take floods seriously. If you think it might flood, take the steps to protect your home. Level your property for run-off, install and test a sump pump, and if a flood does hit, get a mold inspection afterwards.
If it turns out that water has created mold in your home, contact the experts at ServiceMaster Restore®. Our professionals are available 24/7/365 to help you get your home safe, healthy and comfortable again. Our mold detection and removal services are only a phone call away.
Dangers of Mold
Living with mold can aggravate existing health issues, including asthma and other respiratory conditions. It's never something to ignore. Mold can develop in just 48 hours, which is why it's essential to clean up spills and overflows from a bathtub, sink or appliance immediately. If it is determined that your home or property is in need of mold removal, let the professionals at ServiceMaster Restore help. We've got your back and can perform full remediation safely and effectively.
Ways You Can Prevent Mold
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends keeping humidity levels below 50 percent to prevent the growth of mold indoors. Running an air conditioner or dehumidifier can reduce indoor humidity in both homes and businesses. Exhaust fans should be installed and used in all bathrooms and kitchens, venting heat and humidity outside.
Likewise, your clothes dryer should be vented to the outside. Stop moisture from entering a home or other building by sealing cracks in the foundation, in the attic and around windows, doors and walls. Make sure all gutters are clear and that the downspouts divert water away from the foundation – you don't want water to pool next to the building. Use mildew-resistant building materials and mildew-resistant paint when remodeling. You can also add mold inhibitors to regular paint.
Know When to Call the Professionals
Mold is a serious issue. Mold removal is not a DIY project you should try to tackle. Safe removal of these fungi requires the experience of a professional team. ServiceMaster Restore is fully prepared to get the job done. Our mold removal company has completed intensive mold removal training. We utilize highly advanced processes for handling mold claims. A small patch of mold on a wall often can be removed without professional help, but if mold issues persist after you've cleaned and performed prevention tactics, it's time to call in the experts. For larger mold issues, leave it to the professionals at ServiceMaster Restore for safe and effective clean up and removal.
ServiceMaster Restore professionals have completed comprehensive mold remediation training and employ the safest, most effective techniques for solving any mold issue. Our teams regularly handle small areas affected by mold as well as larger spaces, both commercial and residential.
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