If your basement smells more frightening than fresh, it’s not enough to simply mask it with air fresheners, which are a temporary fix at best. It’s vital to track down the cause of the smells, starting with these common sources:
- Dampness. The biggest cause of a musty basement is typically mould and mildew, both directly related to moisture that gets trapped in the basement by poor ventilation. Call in a professional to track down the cause of moisture; sealing the basement and foundation while increasing the airflow will go far in keeping your basement dry and curing the associated smells. Before that, however, go outside and check your gutters — sometimes fixing leaky gutters or gutters that expel water too close to the house can be a relatively easy and inexpensive solution to a wet basement.
- Dryness. With all the attention on drying out basements, it’s not surprising we forget about the necessity of water in some cases. For example, check the drainage trap in your basement floor and fill it with water if needed, and run the water in basement bathrooms that aren’t used regularly; a dry trap can let sewer odours back in the house.
- Something dead or rotten. Do you store onions or root vegetables in your basement? Check to make sure they haven’t rotted. If it smells like something died in your basement, it just might be something dead, like a decomposing mouse that, despite its tiny size, can cause a big stink in the household.
Aim for a clean, dry, well-ventilated basement not only for your health and comfort, but also for top resale value when it comes to putting your house on the market.