How to get rid of damp smell after a leak

If you have a leaking boiler can it be dangerous?  In most cases, it’s not a big problem that could potentially be a danger to your home.

Boiler leaks & dampness 

First thing first, if you have a leaking boiler can it be dangerous?

In most cases, it’s not a big problem that could potentially be a danger to your home. That said, it is a problem in its own right and if not handled properly it could cause further damage. It could also incur heavy dips into your wallet in the form of property damage and water damage. 

It’s not advisable to try to fix the problem yourself if you do have a leaking boiler as there’s always the chance of compromising the entire system or for it to lose its protective inhibitor. 

What you can do is turn the hot or cold water supply off as soon as possible, before even calling a technician. 

What causes leaks

  • Leaks due to pressure 

Most boilers have pressure outlets on their sides that allow internal pressure to escape when the boiler needs to vent. If you’ve noticed a few drops of water escaping the pressure pipe, don’t panic, this is normal; if it’s a lot more than a few drops of water then you definitely have a leak and can be sure that the outlet pipe isn’t working as intended or is working overtime.

Another clear indication is if you see water collecting under your boiler very often. In this case, what you should do is reduce the pressure inside your boiler tank and, at all costs, avoid trying to patch up the leaking pipe. If not handled properly, this could cause serious damage to the boiler and may even result in a rupture or worse, an explosion. 

  • Wear and tear

Just like every other appliance in your home, your boiler is also prone to the effects of wear and tear over time. Corrosion and weathering from constant heating and cooling that happens from daily use can cause cracks in the tank. 

If you have noticed any leaky cracks in your boiler then it’s probably better for you to get a replacement rather than try to fix it as repairs of this scale can be much more expensive than getting a new one. 

  • Loose joints

This is another effect of wearing over time from the repeated expansion and contraction of the boiler. Loose joints can often cause leaks and the solution is as simple as tightening them up again. However, if this doesn’t work and the leak persists, the problem lies elsewhere.

  • Damaged boiler seals

Almost every type or model of boiler has a seal and its only job is to mitigate the heated expansion of the boiler tank. A damaged seal will likely result in leaks but the upside is that it is a fairly easy part to replace and comparatively inexpensive as well. 

The sooner you replace the seal the better as using your boiler with a damaged seal could lead to bigger problems for the rest of the system. 

  • Preventing leaks

Now we know about the common causes of leaks, how do we stop them? The honest answer is that you can’t really stop it from happening indefinitely. Regardless of how often you run maintenance, there’s always some part that’s bound to give in to the effects of time degradation. 

The best thing you can do is be vigilant and prepared for the leak when it does happen as the sooner you can patch it up the better it is for the system and for keeping your home safe from leak damage. 

Dampness after the leak

Assuming the damage is already done and the leak has caused some water damage to your home leaving behind dampness and mildew, here are a few things you can do to mitigate the damage and get rid of the dampness and the musty smell it brings with it.

  • Identify the Source

The first indication of mould is the smell. Generally, after your home has sustained water damage, the smell of musty water or stagnant water is quite prevalent but when that smell turns stale or rotten you can be fairly sure that mould has taken grip somewhere in the damage zone. 

In all likelihood, small and dark spaces of the affected area are where the mould has set in - areas like crawl spaces, cabinets under the sink or bathroom, and small spaces in your basement or attic (depending on where the leak happened) are the usual suspects to look in to. 

Mould thrives on porous surfaces like wood or drywall but even cement or sheetrock can be susceptible. Once you have identified the source of the smell or located an area affected by mould you can move on to the next step, drying it out. 

  • Removing mould

This can be very tricky as mould is a very persistent kind of pest. You can clean up and remove it yourself though it is advisable to hire a professional to take care of this as every trace of it needs to be removed. 

Even a little residue left behind can lead to it spreading once again. 

If you decided to take it on yourself, you can use a mixture of water and bleach or vinegar to remove the mould though remember to wear proper breathing masks as mould can travel through the air and breathing it in is terrible for your health. 

  • Dry out the area

Now that you have the source of the problem, the first thing you can do is clear out the space. Remove any objects around the affected zone, furniture or fittings, anything that the mould or dampness could spread to and can be easily removed. You will also want to check for any residual water among these objects, as more than often a small puddle of water remains hidden away to cause problems down the line. 

Once you have cleared the space and checked for water, you should consider using dehumidifiers and air dryers to remove moisture in the air and if possible, let the space get as much sunlight and fresh air as possible. 

  • Deodorize

Once the mould has been removed and you have begun the drying out process, you can try a few home remedies to get rid of the smell of dampness. 

Space heaters or pedestal fans can be used to speed up this process but it doesn’t quite do the job so using things like air fresheners or creating some aromas of your own with pan boiled lemons or cinnamon can really help out a lot. You can also try a few spirits of natural oils lavenders or jasmines, or water around the affected areas of your home. You can also use the oils as rubs for your furniture or wooded parts of your home. 

How we can help

While we can’t help you completely eliminate the residual dampness and smells that come with it when you have a leak, we can make sure that you are less likely to have to go through it again.

Our Plumbing & Drainage Insurance Cover ensures that you will have 24x7 support all year round, especially during emergencies like leaks. 

Our network of professionals spans the entire UK meaning that no matter where you are, we can have someone at your home in a matter of minutes.


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