Is Musty Basement Smell Telling You Something?


Basements are notorious for developing bad odors. And it’s often a year-round problem that gets better or worse depending on the time of the year. It’s not just unfinished basements that can get smelly—finished basements can run into the same issue. But where is this basement smell coming from? And how do you get rid of it? Don’t worry, our Baltimore basement waterproofing experts are here to unravel the mystery.

Mold and Mildew

One of the common causes of musty basement smells is mold and mildew. Mold spores are always present in the air and start growing as soon as they find a favorable environment, which would be a damp place like your basement. Most of the time, you can spot mold right away on basement walls, floors or ceiling. It can be white, black, dark green, or any other color, and it’s usually fuzzy-looking. If you notice that you start sneezing or get an itchy nose and watery eyes as you enter the basement, you may be allergic to mold, in which case be sure to wear a face mask. Small amounts of mold can often be eliminated with bleach, but for large areas and stubborn mold it may be necessary to hire a mold remediation professional.

Lack of Ventilation

If you can’t find any mold, it’s possible that your basement is simply poorly ventilated, which is a problem in many basements. If you left your home for a few months, you would notice that the entire house has that “basement smell.” That’s because of the stuffy, humid air that has nowhere to move. Most unfinished basements are not connected to the central air conditioning and can get very stuffy and humid, especially in summer.

One of the ways to improve ventilation is by periodically opening doors and windows to let the basement air out. However, only do this if the outside humidity is lower than humidity in your basement. Otherwise, you will only be letting in more humid air, which will make the problem worse. Another way to improve ventilation is to install a basement exhaust system. These systems expel stale air and replace it with fresh air, as well as remove moisture from it. But if you don’t want to spend a lot, simply getting a dehumidifier and strategically placing a few fans may do the trick.

Basement Leaks

The chances are good that if you have mold, you also have a leak in your basement, and this is the root cause of your basement odor. Mold likes moisture and even a tiny crack in the foundation can provide enough moisture to feed mold for a long time.

Examine your basement top to bottom and don’t forget to look behind appliances, furniture and clutter. Look for standing water, as well as signs of water damage, such as mushy cardboard or rotting wood. If you find a leak or suspect there might be a leak, contact your local Maryland basement waterproofing professionals. Our folks at Basement Waterproofing Technologies will be happy to make your basement dry and free of odors.

Contact us today to get a free estimate on basement waterproofing in Maryland.