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What’s That Smell In Your Basement?

Dampness that collects in your basement can cause unpleasant smells, harmful interior damage, and can instigate health issues in your home. Learn how to fix these moisture issues.

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More often than not, any kind of moisture in your basement is bound to cause issues if it’s not addressed and taken care of immediately. If you are a new homeowner, you are not going to want to wait to get any type of moisture or water-damaged areas looked at, especially within the first year of living in the home.


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If you’re not quite sure how to begin or what signs to look for, that’s okay. We’ll give you some warning signs to watch for and explain how dampness that goes ignored can affect your basement and overall home health.

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Common Causes of Basement Moisture

Moisture can become trapped in your basement in a number of ways, and sometimes it can be hard to determine the exact cause. Dampness that goes ignored for too long can turn into more serious problems over time, which is why you should monitor the space regularly.

One of the first things you will most likely notice if there’s moisture in your basement is a musty, unpleasant odor. From this point, if you notice any signs of obvious moisture, it’s time to get it taken care of immediately.

Some of the more common, less intense causes of moisture may include:

  • Plumbing leaks. Pipes have a tendency to leak if they are cracked or faulty, which may cause water to accumulate in your basement.
  • Sewage pipe clogs or breaks. Like any other pipes, sewage pipes can get cracked, broken, or clogged, causing moisture buildup as well as foul and potentially toxic fumes.
  • Basement concrete cracks. It’s common for cracks to form due to foundation settlement. However, these should be sealed and protected immediately to avoid more moisture from coming in and bigger problems in the future.
  • Moisture from the air. Hot and humid air can make its way into your basement through various cracks and openings, which should be sealed to prevent seepage and ensure quality air circulation.
  • Moisture from the weather. More harsh weather such as rain or floods can cause water to seep in through windows or cracks in the walls, creating standing water or dampness to accumulate rapidly.

More Serious Basement Moisture Damage

By ignoring the less intense moisture issues, you can potentially create even bigger problems for yourself. These issues are harder to get rid of and require more attention than some of the more common causes.

With the moisture warning signs going unnoticed, some of the more serious basement issues you can expect include:

  • Mold growth. Moisture that’s not taken care of properly can eventually lead to the growth of black mold, a toxic fungus that can cause or worsen health issues like asthma or sinus infections.
  • Wood rot. If not taken care of, mold and moisture can break down and rot your first floor’s wooden support beams from your basement ceiling within a matter of four weeks.
  • Pests and insect damage. Roaches, termites, mice, and other pests are drawn to moisture, making your basement susceptible to pest infestations and damages if dampness isn’t taken care of.
  • High energy bills. Moisture and dampness in your basement make it difficult to control the overall temperature of your home, which may cause you to run your air conditioner or heater more often, thus creating higher energy bills for you.
  • Radon gases. Originating from basement soil, radon gases seep through the cracks, cause moisture buildup, and can unknowingly cause major health issues such as lung cancer.
  • Poor air quality and health issues. Air quality starts in the basement as warm air rises throughout the home, so it’s extremely important to control moisture to avoid any potential health hazards.

Nobody wants to deal with the effects of waiting too long to act on moisture. Serious issues such as mold growth and pest infestation are completely avoidable if a long-lasting waterproofing solution is put into place by a professional when warning signs are noticed.

If moisture issues in your basement go unnoticed for too long, you are subject to costly structural damage and overall home health issues.

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How To Fix Bad Basement Smells

If you are experiencing a musty or moldy basement smell, it’s more likely than not that you are dealing with moisture issues. When this odor is present in the basement of your home, it’s time to get the dampness taken care of as soon as possible.

Dampness and moisture can be reduced in your basement by implementing one or more of these water managing solutions.

  • Dehumidifiers
  • Sump pumps
  • Drain installation or other drainage solutions
  • Foundation crack repairs
  • Gutter installation

Don’t wait to contact your basement waterproofing and foundation repair professionals to get a free inspection and put a long-lasting stop to these potentially damaging moisture issues.