Why Does My Attic Smell Musty?

Monday April 22, 2013

By Christophor Jurin

It's spring time in most parts of the United States and time to put away the winter outerwear and those few Christmas decorations that escaped the first round of clean-up after the holidays.

It means heading back up to the attic to put those articles away and retrieve our spring gear from storage. It can also mean opening up the attic and smelling that musty odor that comes from the area of the house that is normally avoided for most parts of the year.

You may ask "Why does my attic smell musty?"

Bing.com defines musty as: "with old damp smell: smelling old, damp, and stale because of not having been used or exposed to fresh air for a long time."

Attics take on a musty smell due to the lack of ventilation and fresh air movement through the space. As the definition points out, a musty odor occurs when something has not been exposed to fresh air for a long time.

A musty smell is indicative of a lack of ventilation in the attic space. Introducing sources of fresh air will help to reduce the musty smell that has infiltrated your attic. This can be accomplished by the installation of ridge vent systems, soffit vents, and other applications.

An attic may also smell musty as a result of leaks that may have occurred over the winter months, but that did not show up in the living space of the home. If your attic space has an unusually strong musty odor that is not normally there after being closed up for the winter it is strongly recommended that you review the attic space for possible roof leaks that may have occurred throughout the winter months.

Do you have any portions of your home where a musty or moldy smell is occurring?

Photo © www.istockphoto.com/BanksPhotos. Wood folding attic access ladder.

Photo © www.istockphoto.com/BanksPhotos. Installing attic vent on roof.


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