Never ignore a musty odor. It’s usually a symptom of something you wouldn’t want to live with.
A musty odor – especially in your basement or crawlspace – is usually a symptom of water, moisture, or mold problems – or all of the above!
It often indicates the growth of colonizing mold growth – and there’s more involved in getting rid of it than just spraying some air freshener and getting on with your day.
Here’s why you should never ignore those musty smells.
Where there’s mold, there’s moisture!
In other words, water is the disease and mold is the symptom. So, if you notice that musty smell, you likely have water or moisture problems, and, since they won’t ‘fix’ themselves, you should not ignore them.
The best approach is to discover where the water/moisture is coming from and resolve or control it as soon as possible, because the longer you leave things, the bigger the problems, including potential health issues, and exponentially accelerating repair costs.
Resolving Musty Odors
What you can do to resolve or control the source of the musty odor
To deal with water or moisture problems, you’ll first need to find what’s causing them. Here are some obvious conditions to consider:
- Poor exterior soil grading – A negative soil grade (sloped toward your home or building’s foundation) will cause rain water or groundwater to flow toward your foundation, rather than away from it, as it should. This allows water to seep through your foundation walls into your basement or crawlspace.
- Poor exterior drainage – If you haven’t extended downspouts well away from your
foundation wall, roof run-off water will tend to pool at the base of the spout.
When it isn’t drained away from around your foundation, it’ll find it’s way into your
home or building.
- Foundation cracks – Water not directed away from your home or building, will find its
way into your basement or crawlspace through gradual seepage or through cracks in
your foundation walls.
- Structural cracks – Whether big or small, cracks (in your roof membrane, around
your chimney, in your siding material, or around windows & doors, etc.) allow rain
and groundwater to find its way into your home. When your home’s wooden
structural members become wet regularly, they’ll be more susceptible to pests
(especially wood-boring insects like termites), mold colonization, and wood rot,
which can eventually compromise their structural integrity.
- Improper indoor drainage – Can lead to stagnant water build-up, flooding, and/or
collapsed or clogged pipes within your French drain or sump pump system
- Poor ventilation – Can result in too much humidity, which can cause condensation
build up on the surfaces of your foundation walls, insulation, floor joists, floor
beams and other structural members. Moisture in this form is the #1 cause of
colonizing mold growth.
Read more about Crawl Space Encapsulation.
Trust Your Senses When It Comes to Musty Odors
If your nose tells you there’s something ‘off’ about the smell in your home – particularly in your basement, crawlspace, or attic – you should pay attention!
If you’re concerned, you can always do a quick check for possible sources of water intrusion, referring to the list above, but it’s best to bring in some professional eyes to more fully identify any water issues, and possible damage they may have already caused.
As with any disease, early detection is critical when it’s time for treatment. Full home service providers should stress that, and encourage home and property owners not to give a disease like water intrusion a chance to get out of control.
We know you wouldn’t knowingly play the ‘I’ll get around to it some day’ game with your family’s health (or your own). So, when it comes to the health of one your biggest investments – the place you raise your family, or the property you lease to tenants – playing the same game shouldn’t be up for debate.
Suspect water and moisture may be causing damage to your home or building?
Give us a call TODAY for your FREE, no obligation consultation!