Suffering from an unpleasant “old home” smell in your Central Pennsylvania home? It’s very likely caused by moisture and mold growth. This is more common than you might think, as many homes are vulnerable to moisture related issues.
So what exactly is going on in your York or Carlisle house, and how can you get rid of that weird odor? Here’s why homes develop that unmistakable musty smell, and how you can take home improvement steps to stop the issue from happening.
The Causes of Musty Smells
There are a number of ways that mold can make its way into your home. Here are the scenarios we come across most often in Pennsylvania:
1. Unsealed crawlspaces or basements
Your crawlspace or basement (especially if it’s an unfinished basement) is probably not a part of the home you think about too often or spend much time in. They’re dark, they’re dirty, and odds are they’re probably damp as well. Crawlspaces and basements are notoriously leaky, letting in water and moisture through the foundation or the floor, and they’re a great breeding ground for mold.
2. Poor insulation and air sealing
Mold needs three things to grow: moisture, a food source, and warm temperatures. If your home has poor insulation and air leaks, it can let warm, humid air or even water into your home, where drywall provides a great food source. If the problem is bad enough, you can start to see mold growth on the walls inside your house, but oftentimes the mold is hidden inside your walls. If you’re smelling something off, that could be your first sign there’s an issue.
3. High indoor humidity left untreated
Maintaining indoor humidity levels and keeping your home dry isn’t just about preventing outside water and humid air from getting in—there are a number of everyday activities that can add moisture inside your home, including cooking in your kitchen and showering in your bathroom. This is why stovetops and bathrooms have exhaust fans that should vent that humidity back outside (not just into the attic!), and why it’s so important for you to use them so that you don’t create excess humidity.
How Energy Smart Can Address Musty Smells
Luckily, even if you’ve realized that you’re suffering from indoor mold issues as a result of poor home performance, there are upgrades you can make that will help.
If the mold issue is in your living space, it’s likely that you could benefit from upgraded insulation and air sealing. An Energy Smart Home Improvement energy audit measures the amount of heat and air moving in and out of your home, helping us identify where insulation problems or air leaks exist so we can target those areas for improvement.
But because crawlspaces and basements are often only semi-conditioned areas of your home, just adding insulation often isn’t enough to keep moisture out of these areas of your home—you’ll need more protection. Crawlspace encapsulation includes protective rigid foam board insulation, as well as installing a moisture and vapor barrier that completely seals your crawlspace off from any outside water or moisture, and using spray foam insulation to completely seal up any gaps or old vents causing problems.
Keep Moisture (and Musty Smells) Out of Your Home All Year Round
While mold issues might become most noticeable in the summer, when the weather is hottest and most humid, mold and moisture can create problems in your house all year round. With solutions from Energy Smart Home Improvement, you aren’t just making a Band-Aid fix that doesn’t actually address the root cause of the problem—you’ll be solving the issue once and for all.
Besides, better protecting your home from the outdoor elements with upgraded insulation and air sealing won’t just help fight back against off smells and mold growth—you’ll likely see a reduction in energy costs and an improvement in your overall indoor comfort as well.