Musty smell in laundry room after installing freezer... help!

guitrldyOctober 21, 2002

Ok, I've tried everything, now it's time to ask for some help!

I have a new home that's 4 yrs old... in Austin TX.

I have a laundry room that holds a washer/dryer, shelving and has extra space behind the door. I decided to install a front-opening freezer... new from Sears. I'm adding this because I don't know if it's related or not, but it's the only recent "change" in that room.

I started smelling a very strong musty, moldy odor in this room a few weeks after putting the freezer in. Trying a process of elimination, I've removed EVERYTHING from room: freezer, washer/dryer, all items on floor including rug and garbage basket, clothing, stuff on shelves. The room is now bare (and echoes!).

The smell remains.

I resealed the clean-out pipe with plumbers tape. Last night I sealed all "holes" with duct tape: all the power outlets, washer drainage hole, dryer outlet, ceiling fan vent, A/C vent... sealed up tight. Then I left the door open all night to air it out.

Closed the door this morning and within a few hours the smell was back.

There is no indication of mold on the walls, the vinyl flooring doesn't have any defects indicating water damage. No damage on the ceiling. No apparent mold in the attic or attic insulation. There was no liquid spillage from the washer or the freezer or anything else. There is no smell anywhere else. A closet and bedroom behind the laundry room have no smell.

So, any ideas would be greatly appreciated! The next step is calling out the "mold experts" but I'd like to solve this myself and avoid the high cost of that!

Thanks in advance!




O o / \

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Is there a crawl space under the laundry room?

I was thinking of all the rain you've had in TX this past month or two and thinking maybe the crawl space got wet....


    Bookmark   October 22, 2002 at 10:44AM
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No crawl space, we're on a slab. No other rooms have this smell either... oy!

Lisa W.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2002 at 1:50PM
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That is a total mystery. When you find out what it was (sorry, I have no idea how to help) please let us know!!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2002 at 8:39PM
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Does the freezer have a drip pan for condensate underneath, or a drain hose? The hoses often have a plug in them. Check the owner's manual or pull off the kick plate and look underneath. Maybe there is water under there somewhere.

Or, it could be totally unrelated to the freezer. Walls, ceilings or floors could have mold inside them. I think TX is a hotbed for this sort of thing.

Here is a link that might be useful: EPA Indoor Mold Information

    Bookmark   October 24, 2002 at 3:36PM
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Recently we had a moldy smell in a few isolated areas of the house--finally called the furnace folks and they said if just a little piece of moldy stuff gets in your vent it can make that area smell for a long time and it can help to have the ducts cleaned. we did not and after just a few weeks the smell stopped but i was never convinced that this advice made any sense either -still cost me $100

    Bookmark   October 28, 2002 at 10:39PM
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I would recommend getting a mold expert in there - it's nothing to mess around with. Too many builders take shortcuts with flashing and drainage planes. Your house is just about the right age for these things to start rearing their ugly heads.

We had to tear the entire exterior of our house off due to water intrusion - and it wasn't even done being built! What we found under the siding was lots of mold trapped between the Tyvek and the sheathing and dry rotted studs.

A mold expert can help you figure it out. Don't delay - if let go too long it could end up costing more than the house is worth to fix. I know many people who have had to move out of their homes due to mold. It was even recommended to us that we burn our house down (we got a second opinion on that one).

Read some of the information at to try to understand some of the issues involving mold. Also check out the HADD site below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings

    Bookmark   October 29, 2002 at 8:32PM
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