Well, you should do a little investigation on your own. Are there signs of recent moisture, such as a leak? Look under the sinks, behind the toilets, behind the washing machine, or around the hot water heater. Has some water spilled in area where you didn’t get a chance to clean it up? Did you have a roof leak that didn’t get repaired? Has the condensation drain line from the HVAC unit in the attic gotten stopped up and is now leaking down into the house.
All of these can happen and are the most common source of moisture infiltration into a home or business that can potentially cause fungal growth.
What does the smell mean? It means that mold is actively growing inside the structure somewhere. Dormant mold does not produce the odor because it is not digesting food.
If you cannot find the source of the smell, or a sign of moisture, it is time to call a professional who can help by using moisture meters, infrared cameras, and take some samples of the indoor air. In the state of Texas, you must have a Mold Assessment Consultant license to take samples. The Texas Mold Assessment Remediation Rules (TMARR) stipulates this.
To have a licensed MAC come out to your home or place of business can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000 depending on the type of inspection and number of samples they intend to take. Be sure to inquire about the cost of samples as they can run anywhere from $75 to $125 each.
If you are having trouble finding licensed MACs to come out, then the state has a website where you can get the names and contact information. Also some of the labs in the Dallas Fort Worth area will be glad to assist you as well. The labs are Moldlab in Carrollton, Moody Labs in Carrollton and Real Time Labs in Dallas.