A dry, healthy home starts here.
Crawl space odors rising into the home are one of the early signs of a potentially serious issue in the crawl space, such as a mold or rot problem.
One of the most common complaints that customers bring to us at Basement Systems are related to musty or foul odors that are rising up from their crawl space.
Crawl space odors can be more than merely unpleasant! If the air in your crawl space is filled with allergenic mold spores, they will enter your home, causing health issues in residents with asthma or mold allergies.
The best way to eliminate crawl space odors is to address the larger problem at its source.
Common Problems Include:
At Basement Systems, our certified experts specialize in transforming crawl space environments into dry, healthy, energy efficient space. To date, we've successfully repaired hundreds of thousands of basements and crawl spaces worldwide!
It costs you nothing to meet with one of our experts for a crawl space repair estimate! To schedule an appointment with your local dealer, contact us by phone or e-mail today!
Most crawl space odors are created when a damp, humid environment is present in a crawl space. Odor-causing elements such as mold, dust mites, pests, rodents, and decaying building materials all require this moisture to exist.
The four most common causes of crawl space odors are as follows:
Mold spores are present in all homes, regardless of how clean they are. They can lie dormant for years, waiting for the proper conditions to grow. These conditions are temperatures of at least 40°F, a relative humidity level of at least 60%, and organic material to feed on.
In the right environment, mold will begin to grow in as little as 24-48 hours. Mold can eat dirt, wood, fiberglass resins, paper, and any other organic materials -- there will always be food for mold in a crawl space. And because the earth maintains a year-round temperature of 50°F-60°F, it's be warm enough for mold to thrive.
To stop crawl space mold, the key is to lower the relative humidity level below 60% -- which is easily done by sealing and dehumidifying the crawl space.
More about Crawl Space Mold
Even before mold sets in, water will begin to damage and degrade building materials. And, in fact, humid air itself is less comfortable than dry air.
Moisture in the crawl space can also become trapped underneath carpeting. As it does, the carpet will begin to get a musty, unpleasant smell of its own.
As moisture builds in the crawl space, fiberglass will to soak it up like a sponge, retaining it against the structural wood around it. Wet fiberglass has a rotten, sulfuric smell that gets worse as mold begins to grow and the materials break down.
More about Wet Fiberglass Insulation
A crawl space is dark and out-of-reach for large predators. Because it's located underground, it stays cool year-round, and it's often filled with rotting wood and warm, soft fiberglass insulation -- which is perfect for rodents to nest in!
Because of this, animals will gladly live (and die) inside your crawl space. As they do, they will damage building materials and leave behind waste and dead bodies.
Predators such as spiders and snakes will move in once your space is inhabited, and before you know it, your crawl space has an ecosystem of its own!
More about Pests In The Crawl Space
Homeowners that do not use their crawl space for storage can go months (or years) without accessing the space at all.
If your sewage line has begun to leak, there's a good chance you won't know until the smell reaches your house. The leak can be as simple as repairing a small leak in the line or as complicated as a cracked or corroded discharge pipe.
If this is the case, your crawl space could be a breeding ground for health-damaging bacteria, and the moisture could be doing significant damage to your home. Consult a professional service worker right away.
More about Sewage Smells In Basements
As air in your home is warmed, convection sends it upwards, where it exits through your attic and the upper levels of the building.
As it does, a vacuum is created below. This vacuum is filled with air from your basement, crawl space, and from outside the structure.
The air in your crawl space (up to 40% of it) becomes the air you breathe! This is because it's pulled upwards through the "stack effect".
In the same way that warm air naturally moves upwards through a smoke stack, air moves upwards through your home, passing through a wide variety of cracks and crevices in your floors and walls.
These gaps are built in as part of the construction process, created as plumbers make holes for pipes, electricians for wires, and HVAC contractors for air ducts. Openings will also appear as building materials naturally shrink and expand.
More about The Stack Effect
If you have crawl space vents installed , they can compound on the problem. Venting your crawl space is like leaving windows wide open in your home, and greatly increasing how much outside air circulates into your living space.
More about Crawl Space Ventilation
The best way to protect your crawl space from the most common sources of odors is to make sure that it stays clean and dry. We accomplish this by sealing and dehumidifying the space.
This process comes with many added benefits, including increased energy efficiency, controlling mold and rot, and the use of your crawl space as storage space. Our system is warranted and can be installed quickly in your home -- often in less than a day.
To address a musty, smelly crawl space, our dealers take these five steps:
Before we begin our installation, we'll remove debris in the crawl space and rake the floor clean and level. This prepares the crawl space for a vapor barrier system and makes it much easier to access. We'll also trim back or remove damaged fiberglass insulation in your floor joists.
Many of our contractors will also offer crawl space cleanup services. This involves clearing debris out of a severely mold-damaged space, such as one filled with rotting fiberglass, debris, mud, and rot-damaged wood.
Be sure to ask your local dealer for the particulars about their available cleanup services.
More about Crawl Space Cleanup
If your structural wood has been damaged by mold, dry rot, termites, or other pets, it's possible that it's no longer fit to bear the weight of the house on top of it.
Our dealers can reinforce sagging or poorly supported crawl spaces with our sturdy, galvanized steel SmartJack™ system. These warranted support posts are ideal for supporting to a weakened structure.
Many of our dealers also provide services in ripping out and repairing rot-damaged wood. Contact your local dealer for details on available options.
Open crawl space vents bring in humid air in the summer, cold air in the winter, and wet air during rainy or foggy conditions.
Additionally, the openings in these vents are an invitation for a variety of unwanted pests to enter your home, including rodents, termites, carpenter ants, and more.
There is no benefit to ventilating a crawl space! At Basement Systems, we recommend sealing all vents and installing an airtight door on your crawl space.
Next, our experts will install our CleanSpace® Vapor Barrier System on all walls and floor surfaces in your crawl space.
This will keep moisture from entering the area through the dirt floor, as well as directly through the open pores of the concrete from the ground beyond.
If you have a flooding crawl space, we'll install a waterproofing system in the space. Otherwise, a floor drain with a water alarm will be installed to warn you in advance of any potential plumbing leaks.
More about Installing A Crawl Space Moisture Barrier
Once the crawl space has been sealed from outside moisture and humidity, many homeowners opt to dry and maintain the space with a crawl space dehumidifier.
Your dehumidifier should be self-draining and low maintenance -- turning itself on and off as needed.
It should also be rated to operate in a crawl space -- home dehumidifiers that are rated to dehumidify warm household are are not up for the challenge of drying the air in the cooler environment below grade.
At Basement Systems, our dealers have successfully used our products in hundreds of thousands of crawl spaces and basements worldwide. We have the training, equipment, and warranted solutions you need to transform your crawl space into drier, healthier, more energy efficient space!
Contact us by phone or e-mail today to schedule a free crawl space repair estimate with your local dealer! Each free estimate includes an on-site inspection and measurement of your crawl space, a professional consultation where we answer any questions you may have, and a written cost estimate.
Before our scheduled visit, we'll also mail you a full-color copy of our book: Crawl Space Science. This book explains the building science behind what we do, outlines a wide variety of crawl space issues that homeowners may face, and features our products and services.
Our network includes more than 300 authorized Basement Systems Dealers, proudly serving throughout Canada and the United States. We're standing by to help you!
Our innovative and forward-thinking approach to designing products has solved wet basement problems that the basement waterproofing and crawl space industry has faced for decades, and our patented sump pump systems are the smartest and most reliable. Plus we listen to our customers and respond accordingly! Basement Systems Inc. has been awarded 24 Patents and 19 Innovation Prizes on waterproofing products we use every day, including a battery back up sump pump system. This approach ensures the best waterproofing systems and solutions available.