How do I get rid of a musty smell in the basement?
Musty smells can have different causes. You should be able to find articles by doing a search for "basement odor" or "smell in basement" some some combination like that, both here or using a search engine.
I just went through this. I purchased a house that had a very strong musty odor, mainly in the unfinished part of the basement. I was also getting it in the kitchen and bathroom.
Not a moldy smell. More like old pipes or something. Definitely musty, but there was no dampness and it hadn't rained in days.
I hosed down the cement floor with bleach, then tried Lysol. No go. I washed down the pipes I could reach. No help there. I am running a dehumidifier. Tried fans. Tried air fresheners.
Finally, the plumber was here to replace a section of galvanized with copper. I asked them about it.
They found that the bathtub did not have a P-trap on it and that there was a sewer pipe in the basement (the big one that sticks up in a stumpy way) that wasn't properly sealed. In other words, I was smelling sewer fumes!
All is well now, and my house smells very pretty :)
We've had problems with this too, sewer smells coming in through the basement shower drain. We have to keep water in it at all times. A dehumidifier in the basement takes care of the rest of the musty smell.
If you have a forced air furnace, tap into the cold air return near the furnace. This will enable your air conditioner to dehumidify the damp basement while recirculating the otherwise stagnate air.
What do you mean with "tap into"? Do you mean adding a cold air return to the basement so that the AC/Furnace drawn basement air? Won't that make the whole house smell basementy? Isn't that why that duct is tightly sealed in the basement?
Yes, by tap into, I am suggesting a cold air entrance in the basement and the easiest place is at the bottom of the cold air return, next to the furnace. In ours I cut a 6 x 12 and installed a closable register the first summer we lived here - 10 years ago.
I suppose there may be some odor brought into the rest of the house until the basement air is dehumidified. Doing this solved the matter in our basement, never a musty odor there since and the basement is warmer in the winter too.
No idea why the duct is sealed when installed. In our community when a basement is finished a cold air return is required.
Hope this helps.