Three Reasons your Basement has a Bad Odor

reasons basement smells

reasons basement smellsNashville, Murfreesboro, Knoxville and Chattanooga TN

Basements are notorious for being damp and smelling musty. While many homeowners try to mask the smell with air fresheners and candles, that’s only treating a symptom of the problem. Getting to the bottom of it could mean eradicating the odor forever. Let’s take a closer look with our home moisture specialists at Ameri Care Services at three specific reasons your basement has a bad odor.

  1. Humidity levels

Being underground, basements are prone to moisture and high humidity levels. They’re also known to lack adequate ventilation. Excess moisture in the air creates a breeding ground for mold and mildew (and pests — yuck). Mold spores multiply in humid environments causing a musty odor to permeate the air. High humidity can also cause condensation to form on walls, floors and other surfaces, making moisture problems in basements even worse.

Solution — Ventilation through fans and dehumidifiers can help with humidity levels in your basement. Be sure to promptly repair any leaks or cracks that you notice in your basement walls or foundation. These cracks and leaks allow more water to enter into the basement, increasing the moisture and humidity levels. Ensure proper ventilation by using fans or opening windows when weather permits, and consider installing a vapor barrier or waterproofing system to prevent moisture infiltration from the ground. Consider using mold-resistant paints or materials when renovating or finishing your basement to mitigate future mold growth.

  1. Water leaks and seepage

Water seepage through basement walls or floors, plumbing leaks and foundation cracks can all introduce significant moisture into your basement environment. Even minor leaks can lead to dampness and mold growth over time, contributing to foul permeating odors in your basement.

Solution — Inspect your basement regularly and thoroughly for signs of water seepage, such as damp patches, efflorescence (white, powdery deposits) or puddles of water. Seal any cracks in the foundation walls and repair damaged or leaking pipes promptly. Consider installing a sump pump to mitigate groundwater intrusion and divert water away from your home’s foundation. Properly waterproofing your basement can provide long-term protection against moisture-related issues. 

  1. Poor grading and drainage

Inadequate drainage around your home’s foundation can contribute to basement moisture problems. If rainwater or melting snow is not properly directed away from your home, it can accumulate near the foundation and seep into the basement through cracks or porous materials like wood and carpet. Poor grading around the perimeter of your home can worsen drainage issues, allowing water to pool and infiltrate the basement.

Solution — Ensure that gutters and downspouts are clear of debris and are directing water away from the home’s foundation using downspout extensions or splash blocks. Grade the soil around your home so that it slopes away from the foundation, encouraging water to flow away from the house rather than toward it. Consider landscaping with native plants and installing French drains or exterior waterproofing systems to further enhance drainage and prevent moisture intrusion.

Basement moisture control in Nashville and Murfreesboro, TN

Basements that retain moisture not only smell but can be a breeding ground for pests and allergens like mold and mildew that are harmful to you, your family and your pets. Eliminating bad odors in your basement depends on you addressing what is causing the moisture. Investing in preventive measures and prompt repairs will not only improve indoor air quality but also safeguard your home against potential structural damage caused by moisture infiltration. Our moisture control specialists with Ameri Care Services can evaluate your home for ways to control humidity. Give us a call at (615) 823-8224, or visit us online to schedule a free consultation today.