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Question DetailsAsked on 4/17/2017

musty odor in living room , 3 big windows and when the wind blows against that side it smell really musty .

windows face nort and when the wind blow from the north, east the musty smell increase also smell a long the carpet aginst the wall.

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2 Answers


Common sources - and consider that you may be smelling air that has been pressuried by the wind and forced through ceiling, wall, or floor into the room - not just in-room sources.

1) damp/musty attic air being forced in through utility (usually electric) penetrations in the ceiling (commonly lighting boxes/fixtures) or walls (normally through the holes drilled for wiring runs through the top plate of the wall) then through the wall at window openings or electrical outlets.

2) wet walls, commonly at/around windows due to poor/deteriorated cualking/flashing, resulting in mold/mildew smell blowing from the wall (which is commonly pressurized by the outside wind) around window trim or wall outlets into the room

3) ditto to 2) but wetness in the wall from leaking pipes or water making its way through the siding into the wall

4) leaking hydronic (hot water) or steam heat system - leaks from radiators into the flooring or subfloor, or drips from leaking in-floor radiant heat pipes or from the hydronic/ssteam piping running through the floor joints (below the subfloor) between radiators

5) air coming up through the subfloor from underlying damp crawlspace or basement

6) rarely, wet/moldy/rotting materials outside the house, causing odor to blow into the house on that side - like rotting wood pile, rotting deck, rotting wall bottom plate or siding because the runoff water/dirt level is too high on that side and is wetting it

7) sometimes - though the smell is usually a late winter/spring thing, if your windows condense water or ice up in the winter, as it melts out it can rot window frame, or even in severe cases wall wood itself

8) also late winter, spring time usually in areas with a true winter, summer in wet, hto muggy areas - if you have effectively two vapor barriers in your wall (or none) you could be getting condensation in your walls, causing mildew/mold

9) rarely, moss/algae growing on the north side roofing or siding can cause an earthy, musty smell when it blows in

10) wouldnot normally relate to one room or side only, but mold growing on air conditioner evaporator can cause mildew/mold smell in the incoming air - vents for which would commonly be located along the outside walls

Obviously, sniffing around the attic and underlying area would be the first step, then if nothing there sniffing around (or even carefully removing) a piece or two of window trim and outlet covers to smell if the odor is coming in there when it is blowing from the north.

Since you said smells along the carpet along that edge, I would early on peel back that edge of carpet and padding and smell/feel/look for water staining

Here are links to several similar previous questions with answers FYI:

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



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