Old house smell can be a real problem for you as an owner and any guest you may have. If your house smells a bit “old,” it’s not the best thing in the world. If you want to sell your old home, and if it has a particular musky smell to it, that can certainly decrease the value of your house. Getting rid of the old house smell can be can also be an opportunity to increase the value of your house pretty easily, if your situation is not too dire.

Still, there are some things you can do and should know about removing this issue. We here at Gordon Buys Homes encountered this a few times, so we will share our tips and experiences with you so you can get rid of the old house smell easily. 

What Is the Cause of the Old House Smell?

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You may wonder where that smell comes from? How come that all seems clean, but it still smells musky. No matter how clean you keep it, the old musty smell still lingers around. The answer is microbial volatile organic compounds or so-called (mVOCs). When mold, mildew, bacteria, biofilm, and other biological growths decay, they emit these gases that we identify as old house smell.

Especially if you have an older house where you have a lot of this biological growth that can and will decay over time, one more reason for this is that old houses were a lot darker and built with no regard for ventilation, which creates great environments for bacteria.

Especially houses that were built in the early 1900s have this issue. There is a good chance that your home has decaying bacteria growth if you live in an older house. Even if your house is not that old, decaying bacteria growth may be present in damp areas such as the crawl space, basement, or attic.

Moisture buildup can be caused by leaky pipes, damaged roofs, high humidity, and dirt in the crawlspace. Mold and mildew can grow in damp areas and places with stagnant air. Mold and mildew can hide behind walls and in other places that are not visible. Worse, the mold odor can linger long after it has died, leaving behind carpets, curtains, and upholstery. This makes the entire house smell like mildew.

Mold and Mildew Can Harm Your Health

The health effects of inhaling mold are documented, and reports of exposure to mVOCs have been linked to headaches, eye and nasal irritation, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea,” even if there’s no visible mold growth. Some cases even showed extreme reactions, including disorientation or neurological effects. All this can be especially aggravating to asthma or allergies patients. 

How To Get Rid Of The House Smell?

old house
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The first step to take care of this problem is an inspection. You need to hire an inspector who can inspect your house, including the crawl space and basement. He will identify the sports where the mold is in the most critical condition.

Mold inspections can usually cost from $300 to $500 for small to medium homes. A larger home can go up to $900. Mold removal costs are separate, of course, and the removal can be quite pricey. Depending on how severe the problem is, you can pay anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to get rid of the old house smell.

If your mold problem is really severe, you need to leave it to the professionals. Yes, you can get some products that will remove the mold and maybe help short term. What you need to worry are the mold spores. The spores are not so easily removable. Even if you clean out the infected area, over time, the spores will inhibit the growth again. 

So in the process of mold removal, it is imperative to keep mold spores from spreading. Professionals sometimes use physical blockades or even negative pressure to keep spores from spreading to other areas of your home.. 

After fixing up the area, you will also need to remove any moldy walls or pipes. So replacing those can also be a cost you may not expect. They will also clean the area using antifungal and microbiological products. Then a proper vacuuming is in order and a final touch of sanitization. 

DIY Tips To Remove Mold

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There are some things that you can do to prevent the creation of organic thingies in the dark places in your home. So let’s list some of them. 

  • Make sure to regularly air out your house. Open all windows and doors and let the airflow through the house. Cross-breezes should be encouraged.
  • Change the filter in your air conditioner. Another reason for the musky smell next to the mVOCs is dirty and old filters. Make a schedule to change the filter every few months or years for any HVAC appliance that you are currently using (furnace, standalone HEPA filter).
  • Fix any leaks in your home—a small but very important home improvement. You need to fix all leaks in your home. This includes fixing the roof, checking windows and doors, and replacing old and leaky pipes–can Water is a big cause of mold and mildew.
  • Drywall and wallpaper are known for their ability to absorb smells. To seal your walls, remove old wallpaper and apply an oil-based mold-resistant paint. 
  • Keep your carpet in good condition. A quick inspection will reveal if your carpet is stained by pets or mildew. Although professional carpet cleaning can be sufficient, it is often necessary to remove old carpeting
  • Clean the air ducts. It is possible that the ductwork of your older home was never cleaned.
  • Concrete can be used to seal dirt floors. Unpaved crawlspaces can make your house smell musty after rain or earthy in hot, humid conditions. You can hire a contractor to put concrete on the dirt floor and seal it.

So with this, we hope you learned a bit more about the old house small and how to get rid of it the right way!