Odor Investigation and Removal: When to Call in an Expert

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There is nothing that can spoil the ambiance of a magnificent home or productive office environment more than unpleasant odors. It can be annoying at times to search for the source of this sickening odor for days—even weeks—only to come out empty-handed in the end. Maybe you found the source, but find it a challenge to completely rid your home or office of the bad odor. The problem is that everyone smells differently and these odors can be attributed to many sources: Biologicals (mold, roaches and other insects, pets), chemicals (vapor intrusion, spills, cleaners, solvents) and organics (dead animals, sewage, soil gases).

odor of wall supply and duct

Signs of Molds in a House

Mold is a common problem, especially at home, and it can leave an odor that can persist for years. How do you know if there is mold in your home? Basically, if you can smell it, then it probably has grown larger than you want in your home. Mold is a microscopic organism that we shouldn’t smell (or see) in our homes.

Some people refer to the smell of mold as “mildew.” Molds may or may not give off a bad odor, however, so it is best not to rely solely on your sense of smell when trying to detect mold. On the other hand, removing mold may not necessarily eliminate all bad or moldy odors.

When Should I Consult a Professional?

When faced with a possible mold problem, getting the aid of an expert is advisable. Before making the call, though, here are five things to consider.

1) There is an indoor air quality emergency that puts people in the building at risk.
Once this is determined, immediately notify other building occupants and step outside into fresh air.

Odors and vapor inrusion sampling

2) There is an open (or hidden) area in the building contaminated by mold.
If you see contiguous, non-cosmetic mold in any area of the building that covers more than 30 square feet (or you suspect is hidden), it is time to seek the help of a professional mold cleaner.

Got Moisture, Odor and Mold Issues?

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3) There are a number of complaints from several people in the building regarding indoor air quality.
Do not ignore complaints from other building occupants, especially if they are persistent and constantly grow in number. If you want to make sure, check the areas of the building where there is a moldy or musty smell, or areas where you think mold may be growing.

Insect odor is a real problem

4) There are large areas in the building showing water damage. Humidity and moisture are one of the main causes of mold. Check areas in the building showing evidence of water damage and contact an expert if mold has already grown, especially if the combined area of water damage is more than 30 square feet.

Wet Dog Smell with Wet Westies

5) Contractors have already employed a significant number of mold-cleanup approaches on the building or have proposed expensive approaches.
Before hiring contractors to perform expensive clean-up approaches check with an expert first if resorting to these approaches is absolutely necessary. Mold cleanup experts are the best source of unbiased information when it comes to molds and how to rid your home or office of them.

Mold Sampling of Tack Strip

Next Time I Smell A Foul Odor

The next time you detect a foul or unpleasant odor in your home or office, take the time to check where it is coming from. Contact an expert immediately when you detect a mold problem so that your health is not put at risk. Depending on the severity of the problem, professional mold cleaners may employ a variety of methods. Whatever approach is taken, working with an expert ensures that you and your home or office get the proper care.

 

Originally published: September 21, 2016

Last updated: October 2, 2020


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Avatar for Victor Coppola

Victor Coppola

Victor Coppola is a Building Biologist with decades of diverse environmental experience spanning natural resource management and contaminated sites to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and building hygiene matters. He focuses on the three most prevalent issues degrading today's built environment: Moisture Odor & Mold (M.O.M.). Mr. Coppola and his Team are sought out by individuals and professionals concerned about IAQ to those actually suffering from Biotoxin Illness. His hybrid blend of environmental interests and services enable him to give a unique perspective into today's changing environment. Think your home is killing you, better call Victor and his Team at GreenWorks.
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An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality Testing for Homeowners
An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality Testing for Homeowners
3 years ago

[…] Hire an air-quality testing consultant. A consultant can run several tests in your house—from the basement to attic—to find the quality of the air you are breathing and suggest ways to improve it. For more information on your home or office’s air quality and how you can get it tested and improved, consult Green Works. Nothing is more important to us than the health of your family. […]

Deb Pearl
Deb Pearl
3 years ago

I didn’t know mold was such a common problem in a home. I have been smelling some weird smells in my bathroom lately, maybe I do have mold. That is good to know that if I spot it, I should call someone right away to see about it. Thanks for the tips!

Gerty Gift
Gerty Gift
3 years ago

I appreciate what you had to say about making sure to pay attention to complaints of indoor air quality. This is a great way to tell if something needs to be looked into, especially concerning something like mold. I will be sure to keep this in mind if I smell something along these lines.

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