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Question DetailsAsked on 3/6/2012

There is a musty smell in only one room of my home. Only happens when heat is on. HW baseboard rads. No noticeable water damage. DeadAnimal

It's happened twice now. I have an old two story row home in Philly. Winter time. Turn the hot water baseboard radiators on and then...extremely strong musty smell. Lasts for a few months. Room has become unusable in the winter. Smells like dead animal, and Yes, I did find a dead mouse in the wall. It was removed, but the smell remains and it's happened multiple times. Smell seems to be coming the radiator. Room shares a wall with a bathroom, but absolutely no smell in bathroom. What else could it be I'm ready to rip out the walls and old radiator and start from scratch. Help.

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1 Answer


It is hard to say without seeing the problem. Have you cleaned the radiator and piping since the dead mouse was removed? There likely will be others in the wall and the heat will definitely cause an aroma from their carcasses. Also, their feces will be all over in the wall cavities. Get that warm and the smell is putrid. I'm willing to bet the smell is coming from within the wall when it is warmed up. My hesitation to being 100% sure on that is that you have no smell in the bathroom. Is the bathroom side of the wall tiled? It may be that it is better sealed on that side or have a vapor barrier to block the humidity. I've pulled some nasty things out of walls before so little surprises me anymore.

When was the last time you had a plumber inspect your HW heat system? Being in the south we don't use them so I don't have a lot of advice on those to give you but I do know there is some maintenance to those systems. Perhaps call a plumber to check everything out before diving into the wall and spending money to tear it apart and redo it.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services

Answered 8 years ago by Todd's Home Services

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