Smelly basesment?

beauseauJuly 6, 2009

We have an old farmhouse 1889. Every time you walk in the back door you a met by a musty smell. I am guessing it is coming from the basement. I have pulled up all the area rug and cleaned everything (house has all hardwood floors). I have smelled this odor before, but it is just stronger now. I am guessing it is coming from the basement. Yet I do not smell it when I walk downstairs.

Recently do to water problems in the basement we had a sump pump installed....believe it or not our house never had a sump pump prior to this. The basement walls are the original poured concrete. Half of the basement has a poured concrete floor the other half is dirt.

Having the sump pump and outside french drains installed to keep water away from the house was super expensive, but cheaper than installing drainage tiles around the house so that is the option we chose. While it has helped and we no longer have standing water problems in the basement, the floor and walls still get moist from time to time.

We looked into having a dehumidifier added to the furnace, but again, a huge expense. So I was just wondering if anyone has had similar experiences or expertise to help us in making a decision on what to do next...I really hate the smell!

Thanks, Wendi

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For less than $200 a portable dehumidifier emptied daily or attached to a floor drain is the best investment you can make to reduce mould and mildew growth.

It's the "trick" I've used for decades to have people marveling that my basements "don't smell like basements."

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 11:31AM
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They've made such improvements over old portable dehumidifiers and they are very reasonably priced anymore. I bought one a few years back at a box home improvement store. It has a pump in it, so that even if you don't have a floor drain, it can pump up to a washer drain pipe or out a cellar window.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 3:05PM
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We do run a dehumidifier, but it is an older one so maybe we need to invest in a new model.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 3:29PM
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Yes, do get a dehumidifier. If one doesn't do the job, get two. You can run the drain hoses into the sump. But, PUT A CAP AROUND THE SUMP. Otherwise you're just pulling H2O into the air from it. Then COVER THE DIRT FLOOR as tightly as possible. Start with heavy duty plastic if budget is the issue. Finally, scrub down (probably with muriatic acid to prevent efflorescence) and paint the walls with a moisture preventing paint designed for basements. These are very good summer jobs for teenagers with time on their hands. They can't complain about the heat and you know where they are, LOL.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 10:57AM
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Good points. I didn't notice that half the floor was soil. And the only sumps I've used/installed have been in separate "cold rooms."

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 11:13AM
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Thanks everyone for the replies, I really appreciate it

Besides heavy duty plastic, what are some other options for covering the dirt floor?
I am not sure I can scrub down the walls too much because they are crumbly and I am afraid of damaging them even more. The sump and the drain now helps keep the water off the walls and the walls are structurally sound (had an inspection done, but the wall easily crumbles when touched....we are hoping to install a wall in front of it as a support and to block anymore damage from occurring.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 12:50PM
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Actually heavy duty plastic sheet is SOP. I know of no alternative other than finishing the floor (dig out, gravel, cement). The object to cleaning and painting the walls is to keep out as much moisture as possible. If the walls are crumbling you need to know why and how serious the problem is. If its just efflorescence, wire brushing it off shouldn't hurt. Do get a pro to look at them.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 2:40PM
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