by Cris Carl for Networx
Generally, if we are talking about a smell in your basement, it usually isnít a pretty one. What you smell may be mold, mildew, cat urine (or feces), dead mice, or sewer gas. If you have an older home, there is a good chance you battle with water in your basement, which leads to some of these problem smells. Even if you have a sump pump installed in your basement, it may not be enough to combat mold and mildew. You may also have blockages in plumbing, drains, venting, or heating systems. Here, I will go over some of the major culprits of basement smells and offer suggestions on how to fix or lessen the problem.
Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew are caused by the growth of bacteria that arises with unchecked and stagnant moisture. Mold and mildew can grow slowly over time, or rapidly if you have a major leak. Mold has an unforgettable tangy, earthy, smell of decomposition. Mold is always in the air unless you live in an extremely arid region. The more moisture, the more mold. Basements, being underground, can become moist though cracks in walls, windows, plumbing, condensation, etc.
Many people are allergic to mold and may notice an increase in symptoms after a rain. The best way to deal with mold and mildew is to have your basement as dry as possible. Invest in a dehumidifier, seal any leaks or cracks the walls or floors, or invest in gutters so that rain drains away from your house.
Depending on the age of your home and how well you and previous owners have kept up maintenance, you may always have a slightly musty smell to contend with.
Getting rid of mold and mildew usually entails throwing out carpeting, furniture, or any absorbent materials such as fabrics and cardboard. Then you will need to clean thoroughly with a diluted bleach solution (10 to 1 mix).
Smaller items, when placed in bright sunshine for a couple of days will often lose both the smell and the mold.
Sometimes, if the problem is severe enough, you may need to look into professional remediation.
If your furnace and vents havenít been cleaned in awhile, you may have a build-up of dust, debris, dead bugs and mice, and of course, mold. You should have your vents cleaned every one to two years.