Sourdough starter is grayish, smells bad, and is hardly active
Right before feedings I notice that my starter consistently is tinted a light gray and smells more acidic than usual. It's 3 weeks old and I've been feeding it every 24 hours by dumping half and replacing it with 1 part distilled water and 1 part unbleached white flour.
It doesn't seem super active, even after 3 weeks of regular feedings. After 24 hours it's sufficiently bubbly, but it's not doubling in size (it's only slightly rising) and the glutinous strands I see when I mix it around quickly dissolve into the rest of the starter-- it's almost a thick pancake batter consistency.
I keep it at room temperature loosely covered with plastic wrap. I change out the container every few days.
Something else to note: it's *really* hard to maintain a steady temperature or humidity rate in my apartment. It's over 100 years old and has single pained windows, and this winter it's been cold and humid consistently. We've also had a mold creeping up our walls, but that issue was taken care of by management a few months ago. The point is, I have a weird environment going on here.
Could that be affecting the starter's growth? Is the gray swirl mold?