The musty or earthy smell that comes from the crawl space is from one of two general sources; bacteria or fungus.
Both emit the same odor when breaking down or eating organic material like the structure of your home, debris in the crawl space and underground roots.
Having your crawl space professionally encapsulated will eliminate the conditions in which both bacteria and fungus survive.
Have you ever opened the basement door and smelled that damp, moldy, smell. You just shut the door and hope it will go away? So, “What’s the smell in the basement?” What your smelling when you open that door are the out gases from mold or (pardon the phrase) “mold farts”. If you can smell it, it has already formed and is munching away at the things you have stored in your basement. Mold loves to eat your stuff. It’s favorites are anything made with organic materials such as cardboard, wood, cotton etc… Shutting the door will not stop that smell from eventually getting upstairs.
Due to a phenomenon called stack effect, 40% of the air in the basement travels upstairs. The best way I have found to describe stack effect is this, think about cooking onions in the kitchen and you run up to the bedroom to get something and all you can smell is the onions! That is the pressures within the home forcing all the air upwards. The mold spores and gases jump on this air highway and take a ride through your entire house. So how do you “shutdown” the air highway, you don’t. Stack effect is an important part of your homes ventilation system, it would be like shutting down your lungs.
The best thing to do is eliminate the moisture in the basement and stop the mold growth. Basement drainage systems provide the most complete approach to eliminating moisture. Others options include;
- sump pumps for basements – provide protection against flooding
- basement humidity control – accomplished with a dehumidification system
- foundation crack repair – seals up those leaking wall cracks
All of these solutions can help reduce moisture levels in your basement. When you get the humidity level below 50%, mold will go dormant. So make sure you do what you can to control water in your basement and eliminate those unwanted passengers on the air highway through your home.