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whatstheanswer

Musty smell - search for mold?

whatstheanswer
April 11, 2019

The doorway to my condo has been smelling musty for a few months. I saw some mold on the wall near the door. A handyman took off part of the door trim and some drywall next to the door. We didn't see much more mold.


It still smells musty. My handyman doesn't think I should worry about it. He doesn't feel he needs to tear up more of the walls.

It could be musty because the door is in a dark stairway where there are no windows. I could leave the light on a few hours a week and in the warm weather just have the screen door locked and the main door open sometimes, or run a fan.


Do you think I need to worry that there is more mold and have a professional look for it? If so, what kind of a professional should I get?

Comments (7)

  • party_music50

    Not enough info about what the weather / humidity has been like there for the past few months, no photos, no info about where the moisture might be coming from, etc, but I'd start with a dehumidifier to dry it out and get rid of the musty odor.

    whatstheanswer thanked party_music50
  • christine

    Ditto to what party_music50 posted

    whatstheanswer thanked christine
  • whatstheanswer

    Would I only need to use the dehumidifier occasionally? I heard it would be expensive to run one often.


    The doorway has been smelling musty for quite a number of months. Rain was coming in under the door until work was done on the threshold and a new storm door put in last summer.


    I saw some mold behind some tape (that painters use) in the right bottom corner near the door. My handyman took out the drywall on the right side of the door. He doesn't really know how moisture might have gotten in. He thinks the since the stairway is not heated or air conditioned it's going to smell musty.


    It's been somewhat cold here only a few warm days getting into the 70s. I don't know much about humidity. I assume it wouldn't be an issue until there are consistently warm days closer to summer.



  • party_music50

    "Rain was coming in under the door" -- that's never a good thing. I hope it was fixed properly, but it sounds like maybe not since you now have mold and musty odor. I also see what you mean about the area being difficult to dry out. There doesn't seem to be much room for a dehumidifier down there. :p it's not an ideal space for airflow or light or anything that would improve the moisture situation.

    Re cost: A dehumidifier isn't excessively expensive to run -- in a closed space it will take down the moisture level fairly quickly and then won't need to run much.

    A dehumidifier should definitely improve things, but I hope the underlying moisture/water problem has been fixed! Otherwise, a fan might help by circulating the air. A heater might help by warming and drying the air. Light might help by inhibiting mold. You need airflow and dry conditions.

    Do you feel moisture in the floor or carpet on the stairs? Was the drywall dry and solid when he removed and checked it?


    whatstheanswer thanked party_music50
  • millworkman

    Rain coming in under the door way typically doesn't get fixed in 20 minutes by a handyman.

    whatstheanswer thanked millworkman
  • whatstheanswer

    More than 20 minutes was spend on the door. As I mentioned the handyman worked on the threshold to reduce the gap between it and the door and a new storm door was put in.


    I don't notice the floor being wet after it rains any more. The drywall that was removed was dry.


    Would it be best to put the fan at the bottom of the stairs rather than at the top? That's where the smell is.

  • party_music50

    I'd put the fan close to the source of dampness -- at the bottom.

    ETA: a dehumidifier will work better and faster, but a fan should help.

    whatstheanswer thanked party_music50

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