If there’s a damp smell in your house, you need to look out for damp patches, and in particular, for patches of mould. Once you find the source of the smell, you should have a better idea of what you need to do to fix the problem.
But what if there’s a damp smell in your house and you can’t find any damp?
What Can Damp Smell in your House With No Damp?
Unfortunately there’s no simple answer to this question. There could be any number of things making your home smell damp without leaving any obvious damp patches.
Here are a few things to consider:
Musty Smell From an Old Leak or Flood
Even after you’ve fixed the leak or flood, it might take a while for your house to completely dry out. Your floors and walls might feel dry to the touch, but there might be some residual damp in the underlying wood, bricks, or plaster.
Musty or Damp Smell in the Bathroom
If your bathroom smells, your drains or plumbing might be the problem. Use some drain cleaner to see if that fixes the problem. And if it doesn’t, consider calling a plumber who can make a more thorough check.
How to Spot Damp Problems on the Outside of your House
Look for cracked bricks, damaged roof tiles, and broken guttering. Structural issues like these might be allowing rainwater and other sources of moisture to enter your home, which could be causing the damp smell.
How to Find Damp Spots
If there’s a musty smell but you can’t see any damp patches, then the damp might just be hiding from you. Look for signs of condensation on your windows. Check behind heavy items of furniture, such as wardrobes and bookshelves, for damp patches on the walls. Lift up rugs, carpets and lino floors, to see if the floorboards underneath seem damp. Also check your boiler, washing machine, and other appliances – they might be leaking!
Why Is Damp A Problem?
If your house smells damp, then you should make it your priority to address the problem as soon as possible.
A damp smell might mean that water’s infiltrated crucial parts of your home’s structure. If you let this problem develop, it could seriously compromise your home’s structural integrity. And the longer you leave it, the more repairs will cost you.
Moisture and dampness can also lead to mould. Mould spores can cause a number of health problems, including skin irritation and breathing difficulties. If you suffer from asthma and allergies, mould can make your conditions much worse.
Read our full guide to dealing with mould in your home.
Is Your House Properly Ventilated?
Many damp and mould problems are caused by leaks, broken appliances, damaged plumbing, and structural issues.
But sometimes the problem’s simply a lack of good ventilation.
When a room isn’t properly ventilated, it will take much longer for any moisture on the walls to dry, and for any moisture in the air to dissipate.
So if your home smells musty but you can’t find any damp, you might just have an airflow issue.
Some people facing this problem trace the source of the smell to the cupboard under the stairs. There’s unlikely to be much, if any, ventilation here. But this is where people keep their shoes, and where they hang their coats. With no ventilation, it will take much longer than usual for damp coats and shoes to dry. This dampness will linger in the air, which could cause a musty smell – even when you can’t find any obvious damp patches.
How to Improve the Airflow In Your Home
- Aim for a through-draft. Try and let air flow through your house – in one way and out the other. This might involve occasionally opening windows on two sides of your home.
- Check your extractor fans. If the extractor fans in your kitchen and bathroom aren’t working like they should, open some windows when you cook, bathe, or shower. This will let any excess moisture in the air escape, while preventing the build-up of moisture and condensation.
- Rethink your laundry. Letting clothes air-dry indoors can lead to moisture and damp. This won’t be possible for everyone, but if you can dry, your clothes outside, or use a dryer.
You can also buy an air purifier for your home. The BlueAir Home Air Purifier can completely filter the air in a room of up to 17m² up to 4.8 times an hour. If you have a damp smell in the house but you can’t find any damp, an air purifier will help keep the air flowing, which may fix the issue.
But even better, its advanced filters can trap even the smallest of particles in the air, including mould spores. This can help prevent mould from taking hold and spreading.
Head here to read our full guide to how our home air purifiers work, and the many benefits they can bring to your home.