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The Wet Part of Spring is Over, Why Does my House Still Smell Musty?

Monday, May 16th, 2022 by Steve Hergenrother

The Wet Part of Spring is Over, Why Does my House Still Smell Musty? - Image 1

This year in particular, PestWorld noted a great deal of early season rain. This means there is an increased chance of ticks, mosquitoes, termites, and mold, even if the rest of the season we have dryer weather.

When the spring rains come. the water needs to find a place to go. This is often the time that people find water in their basement. Since basements are used for a variety of activities from storage to recreation, there is a good chance people will notice moisture in their basement. But what happens if you have a crawl space?

Crawl spaces are important. They give homeowners access to pipes and electrical wires, but they are hard to maneuver in due to the small area between the ceiling and the floor. The reduced amount of capacity means crawl spaces may be used for some small storage but for the most part are left untouched. People rarely venture into them unless there is a reason to fix an electric or plumbing problem. This means moisture from heavy rains, or even poor drainage, can go unchecked for a long period of time and lead to mold growth.

Why do people care if there is mold in the crawl space if they don’t go into it? In a traditional house an impenetrable barrier between the crawl space and the first floor does not exists. That means the air and mold spore in the crawl space can make its way into the living space of your home. Sometimes people will be able to smell a musty odor that will alert them to the presence of mold, but in many cases they will not. Just because you don’t smell a musty odor doesn’t mean that you don’t have a mold problem. Whether you smell the musty odor or not, mold spores can be traveling into your living area.

So how do you stop mold growth in your crawl space? Constant monitoring for moisture issues by climbing through your crawl space is a possibility, but let’s be honest, no one wants to do that. Crawl spaces are cramped, dirty areas that you don’t want to spend too much time in if you don’t have to.  Another, much more pleasant option to be proactive about moisture and mold prevention is to encapsulate your crawl space.

An encapsulated crawl space will have a relative humidity below 70% and when a dehumidification system is installed the humidity level can drop to under 50%. Most importantly, encapsulation gives you the peace of mind that your home will be as healthy as it can be. 

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