I have a super human sense of smell. While this drives me (and my family, friends and co-workers) crazy at times, it sure does come in handy in the real estate business. If a house has any musty smell, even hidden in a closet, I’ll usually smell it before my shoes are off at the door.
In my own home, this once resulted in my tearing off a piece of drywall in an interior closet only to find a coffee cup between two sheets of drywall left behind by the contractor. No one else could smell it but to my nose, it was so musty that I couldn’t sleep at night even one floor away.
Do your windows sweat in the winter? Have you noticed more static cling when you take clothes out of the dryer?
It is usually in the colder months when we most notice moisture issues in our home. As cold and warm airs mix at certain points, we may find condensation forming on windows, musty smells or, dry skin and static. Finding a balance is important as the long term effects on our homes and contents can be significant if left unattended.
One of the most common things I see in houses is mold growing on window ledges. Often, the seals have failed on the window units themselves allowing cold air in to mix with the warm inside area which creates a perfect breeding ground for mold growth. Another common issue is the presence of exposed concrete walls in a basement with insufficient heat and air exchange resulting in musty smells and often showing signs of mold growth.
During the heating season, the relative humidity of a home should be in the range of 30 to 50%. In order to determine this, home owners can buy a fairly inexpensive gadget called a hygrometer which will provide a reading of the relative humidity in your home in various areas. You can buy either mechanical or electronic versions at most hardware stores for under $50.00. If you find the balance is off, there can be several reasons and many options for rectify those.
CMHC has an excellent booklet about moisture and air problem signs and remedies. If you are having issues with either too much or too little humidity in your home, don’t ignore it. Your health and comfort are important so it’s worth addressing the issues.
Marg Scheben-Edey is a Broker with RE/MAX four seasons realty limited, Brokerage in beautiful Collingwood, ON. With three decades of experience, Marg is a leader in the local real estate marketplace and is ready to help guide both Buyers and Sellers in achieving their real estate goals. Email Marg