Crawl space

Published on February 5th, 2013 | by Henri


Musty smell coming from crawl space

Q.    I have a crawl space under my living room, dining room and kitchen. Under the kitchen there is a dirt floor, the rest has a cement floor. We run the fan all year long to push the air. In the winter we have a humidifier; in the summer, mostly conditioned air.

There is a musty smell all the time. There is a very small seepage onto the cement in the crawl space under the living room – not much. There is a sump pump under there in case of any aggressive water seepage. What is the best way to get rid of, or control, the musty smell? I’m not sure if it’s coming from the cement area or the dirt area. It’s just always there.

A.    I assume that when you say you are running the fan all year long, you mean the heating system’s fan; if not, I am missing something.

Try this and see if it solves the musty smell: Cover the dirt floor of the area under the kitchen with 6-mil plastic, making sure you bring it up the foundation walls by a few inches. Tape it to the walls just enough to hold the plastic up. Use as few seams as possible and overlap the plastic by a couple of feet where you need to join pieces.

Get a dehumidifier with a large capacity and a humidistat so it only runs when you need it and run it all summer long. Also try not using your humidifier in winter until the situation is resolved.

Since you have some seepage on the concrete, you should check the grade around the house for any flat or low spots, which allow surface water to percolate deeply and enter the crawlspace when it finds a weak spot.

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