Does Your Home Smell Musty?

When you walk into certain rooms, do they smell musty? It is hard to describe a musty smell, but you know it what it is when it enters your nose. Damp basements, bathrooms and closed rooms can harbor mildew and mold, creating that unique, musty smell. But more concerning than the odor is what is causing it and the other damage it can do to your home and health.

Dangers of Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew are fungal growths that usually require moisture to thrive. There are thousands of different types of mold spores that grow on a variety of surfaces. The mold on your old bread is different than the pink mold in your shower. Some are fairly harmless, while others can be dangerous to your health.

Some of the aggressive black molds can have the highest risk if they take hold in your home. Not only can they destroy the surfaces where they grow, they can have spores that become air borne. Many types of mold spores can irritate the tissues in the respiratory system, especially in those with allergies or weakened immune systems. In some cases, they can be deadly or cause serious health problems.

Clearing Your Home of Mold

If you smell musty odors, you should consider monitoring your home’s humidity levels. Even if you do not see black mold or mildew, it can be growing in areas that are not visible. In most cases, you want to keep humidity levels below 60% to prevent mold growth and protect your home and health.

If you have high humidity levels in your home causing a musty odor and mold problems, contact your local HVAC service. They can go over dehumidifying options to stop mold and mildew growth in your home.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
1925 Lena Carter Road
Buford, GA 30519
(770) 475-9528

Things That Everyone Should Know About Mold

There are potential health risks and symptoms associated with exposure to mold, such as allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory problems. Mold is a common problem in some households, but unfortunately there’s no practical method for eliminating all mold and mold spores in an indoor environment. The best way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture. 

If there is a mold problem in your home, you should see that the mold is cleaned up immediately, and try to eliminate any possible sources of excess moisture. Any sources of unwanted water or problems with leaks should be addressed  to prevent the growth of mold. Try to reduce indoor humidity to a level between 30 to 60% if possible.  Installing a dehumidifier can help control indoor humidity year round, even when your central air conditioning system.  There are numerous ways to decrease mold growth: venting bathrooms, as well as other moisture generating sources from outside your home; use air conditioners and dehumidifiers; open doors to increase ventilation; use exhaust fans while cooking, washing dishes, and cleaning your home. 

Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent within 24-48 hours of getting damp or west to prevent mold from growing, and allow to dry completely. Any absorbent materials like ceiling tiles which show signs of mold will need to be replaced if all traces of mold aren’t eliminated. Reduce the potential for condensation on any cold or wet surfaces like windows, pipes, exterior walls, or floors. Consider adding insulation to cut down on condensation. In areas where there could be a moisture problem, do not install any carpeting (e.g., on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation). 

Mold can be found almost anywhere. If your home has a problem with mold, contact a licensed HVAC professional immediate.

Control Humidity With a Dehumidifer

Controlling the humidity in your home is almost as important as controlling the temperature level.  Experts vary on the optimal humidity level, but the general consensus is that keeping the humidity between 40-50% is best for both comfort and health.

Depending on where your home is located and the season, you may need to increase the humidity by adding moisture to the air with a humidifier or decrease the humidity level with a dehumidifier.  In hot, dry climates the humidity levels are usually too low.  In warm, moist climates the challenge is reducing the humidity levels.

Humid air feels warmer than dry air.  In the winter, maintaining the humidity level at the higher end of the optimal level will make your home feel warmer.  You can keep the temperature a few degrees lower and save on your heating costs.

The opposite is true in summer months.  Keeping humidity levels at the low end of the optimal range will help you feel cooler and allow you to set your thermostat a little higher and cut your electricity bills.

Too much humidity promotes the growth of mold and mildew that can aggravate allergies and causes condensation problems on toilet tanks and windows.  If the air in your home is too dry, it can cause respiratory problems, itchy skin, and static electricity.

Whether you need a humidifier, a dehumidifier, or both, the most efficient and effective solution is to have them integrated into your HVAC system.  Portable units don’t provide uniform humidity levels throughout your home and are usually noisy and intrusive.  Your HVAC technician can help you select and install a humidifier or dehumidifier that will keep your home comfortable.


Beat the Heat With a Dehumidifier

Record summertime temperatures have many homeowners reaching for the thermostat. Lowering the temperature a few degrees can help keep you cooler, but with the cost of running your central air conditioning system around the clock, having a dehumidification system installed in your home may be a better solution.

As anyone who lives in the steamy south knows, “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”  Actually, this saying is only partially true.  The fact is that it’s the heat and the humidity that makes us miserable in the summer months.  Maintaining a comfortable indoor environment in a hot, humid climate requires reducing both the heat and the humidity.

A central air conditioner or heat pump cools and dehumidifies the air inside your home, but they are not designed or sized to handle the very high levels of humidity commonly found throughout the southeastern U.S. In addition, there is no way to control the humidity level and temperature separately.  To make matters worse, they are often oversized which means they don’t run as much as they should to minimize humidity levels.

A great solution for homeowners in humid climates is installing a dehumidification system that works in conjunction with your existing central air conditioning system. Your HVAC professional can install a dedicated dehumidifier that uses your existing ducts and has a separate controller called a humidistat.  Similar to a thermostat, the humidistat can be set to the desired level and it will automatically maintain that level of humidity whether your central air conditioning system is running or not.

Installing a dehumidifier allows you to set your thermostat a few degrees higher which saves you money on your energy bill while keeping your home cool and comfortable.