Why Is There a Musky Odor In My Attic?

musky-attic-1Have you noticed a damp, musky odor originating from your attic? This is an all-too-common problem that millions of families experience. And depending on the severity of the problem, the musky odor may creep its way down into your home, leaving you and your family susceptible to illness. But what exactly causes musky odors in the attic? And how can homeowners treat unpleasant odors such as this? To learn the answers to these questions and more, keep reading.

Rodent Infestation

One possible cause of musky attic odors is from a rodent infestation. When mice, rats, squirrels or even racoons begin to reproduce in the attic, their numbers can quickly spiral out of control. Some of these unwanted rodents may fall down into cracks and crevasses where they are unable to escape and eventually die, resulting in a horrid smell that lingers for 1-2 weeks (unless the corpse is removed). If you noticed a foul stench in your home and can’t seem to locate the source, check in the attic and basement/crawlspace for dead rodents.

Even if the rodents remain alive, their urine can also lead to an unpleasant, sour/musky odor. Their urine will saturate the wood planks and flooring in the attic where seeps down into the pores. This is why it’s important for homeowners to take the necessary steps to treat current rodent infestations, and to make sure they don’t come back in the future.

Mold and Mildew

The single most common cause of musky attic odors is from the development of mold and mildew. When attics are exposed to excessive amounts of moisture, mold and mildew will thrive. This creates the general ‘musky’ smell that many people associate with old attics and basements. While the musky smell alone is enough to drive some homeowners on the brink of insanity, the real problem with attic mold and mildew is the negative impact it has on your health. If left untreated, the problem will become progressively worse while threatening your family’s health.

So, how do you treat mold and mildew colonies in the attic? It’s a common assumption that household bleach is an effective chemical for treating mold problems such as this. The truth, however, is that bleach is only effective for certain types of mold, such as Aspergillus niger and Trichophyton mentagrophytes. In addition, if you read the label on a jug of bleach, you’ll see that it’s recommended for non-porous surfaces (wood is very porous). If you’re experiencing musky odors in your attic, contact the Attic Guys to learn more about the various options available.

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