Mysterious musty odor permeating house

bluecat2November 10, 2013

This is such a strange situation...really hope someone has some insight. Is there such a thing as a fungus that only stinks in the AM? For the past month or so there has been a musty odor permeating the house, strongest on the 2nd floor (sometimes stronger in one room; strongest in 2 out of 3 upstairs rooms), less pungent on the 1st floor, barely noticeable in the basement. The noisome assault begins sometime after sunrise (it usually gets potent enough to wake me around 9:00 AM) and gradually diminishes until early afternoon. Then it disappears (the master bedroom stinks the longest) and we get a reprieve until the following morning.

I thought maybe it was a plumbing issue, but the odor seems to be strongest in the master bedroom. I'm wondering if it could be water damage in the attic or moisture seeping into the ductwork near the bedroom. Do either of these theories sound like possibilities? Anyone have a different theory?

Thanks in advance for any help in cracking the case of the Malevolent Morning Mustiness.

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I wonder if there could be some moisture somewhere that is aggravated by morning sun heating it up. Is there direct sun exposure on the outside of the rooms with the smell that goes away in the afternoon? Any openings in the exterior walls in that area that might be letting in moisture?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 7:19PM
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The more facts given the better the possibilty your mystery may be solved.

Style of home?

Age of home?

Location, rural, urban, what is in area, such as totally residential to moderate or heavy manufacturing, school, restaurants etc. As much info as possible.

Mechanical system of home, forced air, electric, type of hot water heater and age, AC, age of systems, type of plumbing materials. What is the prevailing winds direction where you are. Have you asked your neighbors if they have noticed anything different .

Has the simplest thing changed since this has started, new appliance, furniture, home project.

Those are a few of many questions that we need to base a theory on.

Can you send a picture of the house, all elevations, and a overhead photo from Google earth.

This can be a simple as a bad hot water heater anode to a drip from a plumbing fitting..

Several of these simple questions can not be answered by some homeowners, it may surprise you as how little residents know about their houses.

The time of day this becomes a problem is good start, what happens at night that changes during the day, opening doors and windows happen, sun comes up, home is warmer, AC goes on, the world wakes up all types of activity comes to life. From factories running to laundry being done.

More info=better solutions.

It's usually the simplest thing that gives us the answer to a problem. As well the smallest thing we overlook as having nothing to do with it.

You have to provide more information.

Someone asked recently to help I.D. a terrible smell, one of those driveway sealing crews did a few homes blocks away.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 11:56PM
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Is the problem only occuring inside the house? Are neighbors having the same issue?

There is a cardboard mill around here that can smell really wierd around 4am to 7am especially in the summer months.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 5:02AM
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Is there a bathroom off the master bedroom, is the shower used in the morning?

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 3:19PM
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Thank you so much to everyone for your feedback! This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but what seemed like a musty odor emanating from the ventilation system turned out to be a musty odor emanating from the plumbing in the upstairs bathroom sink. It was seriously that potent! For some inexplicable reason (to me,anyway, a plumber probably wouldn't be mystified), the sink would start to reek of mildew after being unused for several hours. A thorough cleaning of said sink revealed a thick build-up of black sludge that must've been harboring mold. So all it took to fix the odor problem was boiled water plus good old-fashioned baking soda and vinegar. The bottle of tea tree oil dumped down the drain may have helped.

It's always a good day when strange house problems turn out to have a simple solution :-)

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 5:32PM
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Glad you got that sorted out!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 12:38PM
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I as well.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 1:51PM
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