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Lower level of tri-level is musty smelling

Posted by SnailLover (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 20, 14 at 15:50

I have a tri-level house but the lower level isn't used very much because it smells musty and has spiders and other creepy bugs. The area is separated by a small 3' high wood door. The smaller side is the crawl space with a sand floor. It smells musty but looks and feels pretty dry. The larger area has a linoleum floor and part of it is walled off where the laundry area and a 2nd bathroom are. There are no leaks, drips or anything. Currently I just use it for storage and doing laundry. What can I do to make this area smell better and more livable?

As I write, I'm in the process of setting off a bug fogger. Then I'm going to scrub the floors and set up a dehumidifier (it's just a mini one). Will this be enough? Anything other suggestions?

About the wood door separating the crawl space: it fits pretty snugly, but is there more I can do to seal it from the main section? I don't know if all tri-levels have this little door so hopefully you know what I'm talking about. I can post a pic if needed.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Lower level of tri-level is musty smelling

You may need a bigger dehumidifier. I live in a raised (or high) ranch and the lower lever can start to feel and smell musty sometimes. I close the windows - no point in bringing more moisture in to the room from the outside - and run the dehumidifier for a few days.Just be sure to check the bucket as it can fill up quickly. It seems to eliminate the problem for a while. High humidity and rain days can cause it to get yucky again, so be prepared to run the dehumidifier again as the weather warrants.


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RE: Lower level of tri-level is musty smelling

"The smaller side is the crawl space with a sand floor."

With no vapor barrier covering the exposed sand, I suspect using a dehumidifier will be both ineffective and very expensive to operate.

YMMV

This post was edited by saltidawg on Sat, Jun 21, 14 at 13:33


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RE: Lower level of tri-level is musty smelling

Gotcha! Is there anyway he could place a vapor barrier over the crawl space that wouldn't be cost prohibitive?


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RE: Lower level of tri-level is musty smelling

Do you mean sheets of plastic laid over the sand, or am I misunderstanding? Would a tighter seal on the door work as well? Here is a pic.

 photo 20140621_675_.jpg


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RE: Lower level of tri-level is musty smelling

Plastic over the sand... there is also the wood in the crawl space to protect from that moisture.


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RE: Lower level of tri-level is musty smelling

What is in the crawl space that makes a crawl space necessary, what equipment?

by all means, cover the sand with a vapor barrier. I see no down side to that.

Get yourself a couple of inexpensive hygrometers to monitor the humidity level down there. You should be between 30 and 50% RH. If the dehumidifier is not doing it, get a bigger one.


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RE: Lower level of tri-level is musty smelling

I think using a dehumidifier alone will be similar to trying to bring down the humidity in your back yard with a dehumidifier.

In 1980 I paid Terminex to put a vapor barrier down over the dirt in the crawlspace beneath my home... they also placed temperature controlled shutters on the vents in my foundation.

I was naive in paying Terminex to do the work - there were much cheaper contractors available - so it cost me a fortune. But it reduced the humidity in the crawl space dramatically!


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RE: Lower level of tri-level is musty smelling

The water tank is the only thing in the crawl space, and lots of cable cords. I know there is some plastic laid down, can't remember if the entire ground is covered though. I'll have to check again. Many thanks for the feedback and suggestions.


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