Common Causes of Damp, Musty Odors In The Attic

attic-013It’s spring again, and this means more and more homeowners are going up into the attic for the first time this year to perform some routine cleaning and organizing. If it’s been a while since you’ve accessed your attic, though, you may notice a damp, musty odor originating from inside. This is an all-too-common problem that homeowners experience, especially during the spring season.

Identifying The Source of The Odor

The first step in combating these unpleasant odors is to determine exactly what’s causing them. Musty odors in the attic are typically caused by one of a few different elements. And once you’ve found out where the foul odors are coming from, you can work on treating it.

Note: covering up the odors with air fresheners, scented candles, or other products will only make the problem rather than treat it. You may notice some temporary relief, but the odor will come back once the masking agent is depleted. This is why homeowners should focus on the root cause of the musty odor rather than trying to mask it with air fresheners or scented candles.

What Is a Musty Odor?

The official definition of “musty” is: having an odor or flavor suggestive of mold, as old buildings, long-closed rooms, or stale food. It’s hard to describe the odor without experiencing it for yourself, but it’s typically characterized by a damp/wet staleness that lingers for long periods of time.

What Causes Musty Odors In The Attic?

If you notice this type of odor coming from your attic, there’s a good chance the problem is caused by mold growth. Unfortunately, attic are a prime hot spot for mold and mildew, as the dark, poorly ventilated confines of an attic create an ideal environment for fungal growth.

Mold and mildew growth is not a normal occurrence in the attic. if there’s mold present, there’s a good chance that water or moisture is entering through a crack or some other point of entry. In order to prevent musty odors from returning, you must close off any cracks, roof leaks or other entry points.

Another common cause of musty attic odors is from infestations of rats, mice or other rodents. Initially, a stray field mouse probably won’t create any foul odors. Once they’ve inhabited the attic for a prolonged length of time, though, their urine will saturate the insulation and surrounding floorboard to create a musty odor.

How to you treat musty attic odors? Let us know in the comments section below!

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