Here’s a question you may ask yourself. What is that musty smell in my home? The house is clean, so where is the smell coming from? In fact, it might be coming from your musty crawl space. Up to 40% of the air you breathe in your home can be from your crawl space. Musty crawl space smells can cause big problems for your air.
During the construction process, there are cracks, holes, and air systems that leave gaps from the top to the bottom of your home. Pipes fit through these holes, and the air travels centrally throughout the home. However, all of these cracks, crevices, and spaces leave room for air to travel from the crawlspace up to the rest of the house. Just as heat travels upwards, so does air from the crawlspace. This is called the “stack effect.”
The hot air travels upwards through the process of convection. The air then escapes through cracks and spaces in the top of the home. The cooler air from the crawlspace rushes up to fill it and enters into the living space. Why is it musty? A few reasons. In the summer, hot air from the outside enters into the crawlspace through cracks, and it comes into contact with the cool environment. Condensation is formed. Condensation causes mold, moisture, and invites bugs and rodents into your crawl space. Musty smells are a result of that, When they’re pulled up into your home through “the stack effect,” you will begin to realize that there is a problem.
Air fresheners and wax warmers may seem like a good idea, but it’s important to get to the root of the issue. Otherwise, musty smells will keep happening. The first step in solving a musty crawl space is to get the moisture out and protect the crawlspace from getting more moisture. The presence of mold means that mold remediation is necessary to assure that there are no mold spores or allergens making their way into your home. After that, check for any cracks or bowing walls that are letting in moisture and causing problems.
Next, install a vapor barrier or crawlspace encapsulation. Vapor barriers keep out moisture. Vapor barriers also create a barrier between the soil and your home, and protect against bugs and mold. Next, seal up any holes or spaces that do not need to be open for natural home settlement. Examples of this may be pipes that were taken out but there are still holes in the flooring, cracks, or other spaces. Lastly, insulate your crawl space. This is especially true if you feel cool or hot spots above the crawl space consistently. Over time, this can lower your heating and cooling bills. You’re not having to heat and cool an area that you do not use or heat and cool the cool air that rises from the crawlspace.
Even if you personally don’t care about the smell, most times it can be a signal of a bigger issue. Musty smells indicate moisture problems, cracks letting in moisture and water, and mold problems. Don’t ignore these things as they could cause you major problems. These problems can even be structural. Moisture causes problems with wood beams and eats away at them, causing rot and damage. Your home is no longer safe and stable without support from these beams. Additionally, mold is a serious issue. It can cause serious health problems, especially for children and the elderly. Certain types of mold produce mycotoxins which can be potentially deadly.
While the smell may not bother you, it’s time to take your health and your home’s health seriously when you smell this warning sign. Call Custom Concrete for a free estimate, and we will advise you on your options. We will answer any questions that you may have, and we will recommend the best solution for your specific and unique situation.