Musty Smell in Crawl Space – Causes and Removal | Bay Crawlspace

Musty smells and odors in the house are very likely coming from the crawl space. If the house smells musty after a big rain, you very likely have a moisture problem in the crawl space. The good news is that most smells can be removed if you eliminate the source of the smells.

When a big rain occurs, the ground can become saturated and cause standing water to infiltrate the crawl space, by penetrating the porous mortar joints in brick. Water can easily stream through the walls of a crawl space because the most crawl spaces are “below grade.” When the ground is lower in the crawl space than it is outside, water takes the path of least resistance, by seeping through mortar joints. Also, groundwater can become an issue, especially in areas with clay in the soil.

Musty smells from the crawl space can come from a variety of causes:

  1. Groundwater stimulates smelly minerals in the soil
  2. Standing water is becoming stagnant and developing odors
  3. Mold and mildew commonly produce foul odors
  4. Rodents or Rodent Droppings
  5. Dead animals
  6. Sewage leaks in the drain lines of the plumbing

If you have concerns about any of the above issues, it’s important to accurately diagnose the causes of your concerns. There could be one or more of the above issues present. Our expert inspectors are trained to diagnose the root source of any issues, to propose the best solution.

The best ways to remove smells from a crawl space depend on fixing what is causing the smells. Here are some general steps to take to remove and eliminate smells:

  1. Eliminate ground water and flooding with French drains and sump pumps
  2. Prevent the crawl space from flooding with gutters and downspout extensions
  3. Completely clean out the crawl space
  4. Install a new vapor barrier or crawl space encapsulation
  5. Kill the mold and fungus
  6. Evict any rodents from the crawl space
  7. Remove the conditions that rodents favor- moisture, water, food, insulation (bedding), etc.
  8. Have a plumber remove contaminated objects and treat the sewage affects areas

Once the causes of the musty smells have been properly eliminated, the odor should go away. If you would like help identifying the best approach to eliminating smells in your crawl space, you can have one of our trained inspectors visit your home and inspect your crawl space for free.


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