Florida Building Syndrome. Mystery Musty Odor Causes and Cures.

Florida Sick Building Syndrome (FSBS) is a term used to describe a range of odors present in homes that has a musty or mystery type of odor, that cannot be located visually by typical plumbing leaks, water intrusion or storm damage leading to water puddling on ceilings. High humidity levels can contribute to the growth of microscopic mildew / mold in your home. When indoor air is humid, it means there is a high amount of water vapor, which can lead to Florida Sick Building Syndrome and mildew contamination.

This type of mildew spore grows easily and quickly in the presence of moisture, making it essential to maintain an ideal indoor humidity level to suppress mold growth. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends keeping indoor humidity levels between 30% and 50%1. If the air conditioning is off for any length of time, days / weeks / years, this type of mildew will easily take hold in grout, and painted ceiling and walls throughout the home.

If humidity rises above 60%, it is considered high and may lead to fungus, mold, or mildew in a matter of hours or days. If the property is near the ocean, canals, lakes the fungus or mildew spores have an easy time of making the home infected and musty regardless of normal over the counter sprays, treatments or cover-ups.

Some key signs of high indoor humidity levels include foggy condensation on windows, a mildew-like smell on entering the home, mildew-like smell on furniture, fabrics and in your clothes and bed linens. Normally associated with older cement only construction, in older communities, the odor problem can be present in newer high-rise & homes as it is endemic in materials like wood or stucco, paint on walls and ceilings, easily causing, intense allergies, excessive pests like dust mites or silverfish, and difficulty sleeping due to night sweats.

Water is a vital ingredient to help it stay alive and grow. A high relative humidity indicates a high level of moisture in the air. That’s why on hot, humid days the air feels thick or heavy, and also why it can grow easily in showers and bathrooms. Any musty odors that linger in a home without visual confirmation of mildew / mold under normal circumstances is microscopic and being “fed” by the mopping of floors, with traditional mop / water bucket, hot showers with little or no ventilation while in use, dripping faucets and lack of proper A/C maintenance.

To prevent fungus and mildew growth in humid weather conditions, it is important to manage indoor humidity levels within the recommended range. This can be achieved by using dehumidifiers or air conditioners to reduce moisture in the air. Proper ventilation and regular cleaning can also help control humidity levels and minimize this risk.

There can be specific symptoms that individuals experience while spending time in a particular building or enclosed space. These symptoms typically occur when people are inside the building and improve when they leave. SBS doesn’t have a specific set of diagnostic criteria or a single identifiable cause; instead, it is a collection of symptoms that may be related to various factors associated with the indoor environment.

Common symptoms of Florida Building Syndrome can include:

1. Headaches
2. Eye, nose, or throat irritation
3. Fatigue
4. Dizziness or nausea
5. Skin rashes or irritation
6. Respiratory discomfort, such as coughing or wheezing
7. Difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly
8. General discomfort or malaise
9. Annoying and pervasive odor

FBS is often associated with even in modern, energy-efficient buildings because of their limited ventilation, as well as with indoor air quality problems.

Some potential causes and contributing factors of FBS include:

1. Inadequate ventilation: Poor circulation of outdoor air can lead to a buildup of indoor pollutants and a lack of fresh air.
2. Chemical contaminants: These can include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from building materials, cleaning products, and furnishings.

Master Odor Removal is an expert at identifying this musty and hard to identify odor issue. We have vast experience “curing” home interiors of FBS and treat FBS with a two-step system of applying a direct liquid molecular chemical on the ceilings, walls, cabinets, doors, door jambs, and grout, and floors, effectively killing the spores living in the home and causing musty odor issues. We also treat the A/C intake coils and duct system to kill any spores or bacterial growth, bringing the home back to “neutral.”