Author Topic: Musty Smell in the Basement  (Read 1306 times)

dcozad999

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Musty Smell in the Basement
« on: August 21, 2017, 09:56:01 AM »
So the new (to us) house we bought two months ago has a musty smell in the basement.  The inspector (who was very thorough) did not see any signs of mold or water.  There was probably a little seepage and we had dirt added to the outside foundation and extended all of the gutters to at least 8 ft away from the foundation.

Part of the basement is finished, so the inspector obviously couldn't check behind those walls, but there doesn't seem to be any indication of there ever being a leak or water anywhere.

Does anyone have any experience on getting rid of this musty smell? Or anything I should try and check on?  The previous owners left a dehumidifier which I'm not sure is working properly.  I have held off on getting a new dehumidifier due to the cost, but maybe I should.  I've also looked at getting an ozone generator like this:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JAP7388/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A3581ZAPA73K6Q&psc=1

Any tips/tricks on getting rid of this smell or helping uncover the underlying cause? Or did the grading changes probably get rid of the seepage and I just need something to get the smell out?


Debts_of_Despair

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Re: Musty Smell in the Basement
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2017, 10:09:26 AM »
There is a good chance the dehumidifier is not working.  You get get a cheap humidistat and check the before and after readings.

dcozad999

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Re: Musty Smell in the Basement
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2017, 10:10:29 AM »
Is there always going to be a need for a dehumidifier, Or can I treat the underlying issue?

Do some basements just get humid?

GuitarStv

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Re: Musty Smell in the Basement
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2017, 10:21:32 AM »
You can get humidity from a variety of sources.

As has been mentioned, concrete is pourous.  Without a vapor barrier, your basement will absorb some humidity from the ground around it (particularly if there has been heavy rain and the soil is saturated).  This will often cause small leaks and puddles in the basement and should be fixable by grading all walkways/patios properly, moving the drainage from the roof further away from the building, patching any big cracks that are obviously letting water in, and digging up/fixing blocked french drains around the home.

An unfinished basement (or improperly finished basement) will usually be humid in the summer.  You get warm air flowing into the basement from the upstairs.  Warm air carries more moisture.  Basements are naturally cooler places, so the warm air hits cool things (walls/floor) and will condense.  This causes mold/mildew and your musty smell.  Unfortunately it's not always easy to see where the mold and mildew is building up . . . but your nose is a better indicator of problems than your eyes.  Finishing the basement properly, or constantly running a dehumidifier during summer months are the best ways to fix this problem.