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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Why Does Mold Smell?

4/12/2019 (Permalink)

If you smell a strong musty odor you may have a mold problem

It isn't uncommon for properties to have distinctive smells. Think of the difference between stepping into a dentist's office versus a legal firm, for example. Some aromas are just a reflection of the work that goes on within the building, such as in a flower shop. Additionally, environmental factors influence the smells within a building. However, a musty odor shouldn't be dismissed as the result of a rainy day. That distinctive odor could be carrying a mycotoxin.

What Smells?

A mycotoxin is any toxic substance that is produced by a fungus, such as mold. If you've ever gone down into an unused cellar, you may have noticed a distinctive musty smell. For many property owners, that scent immediately leads to concerns. The substances produced during active mold growth include:

  • 1-octen-3-ol, or "mushroom alcohol"
  • Geosmin, often smelled after rain
  • 1-butanol
  • Borneol
  • 3-octanone
  • 2-hexanone

It's interesting to note that some of these aroma-making substances are used in the production of perfumes, such as 1-octen-3-ol. However, this fact shouldn't prevent you from hiring a mold remediation specialist if you notice the scent in a closet on your property.

Testing for Trouble

These professionals will probably run a few different tests to determine the extent and severity of the problem. They are likely to test for MVOCs, or Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds, often a primary source of that musty odor, and for high humidity levels, a source of mold growth. With the information from these tests, the specialist will create a mold remediation plan that probably involves reducing moisture levels in trouble spots, completing repairs around your property, and initiating preventative strategies, such as HEPA filtration devices.

Take Note:

It's important to remember that a given mycotoxin may produce smells without presenting any real impact on building occupants. As you work closely with mold remediation technicians in Lexington, OK, you'll learn more about why mold causes odors and how to prevent further growth.

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