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Old 09-13-2014, 09:42 AM
 
1,706 posts, read 1,363,659 times
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This might not be exactly the right forum to post this, but there isn't another one that looks more appropriate for the topic, so here goes, and moderator, please feel free to move it if need be.

I have an old bungalow built in 1920's- about 1200 sq ft. I bought it 6 years ago. It has old basement smell that gets worse at some times of the year, but generally seems to be getting worse overall.
My basement is completely dry- have drainage system and sump pump. About 2 years ago I went through and pulled out all the old stinky insulation and wiped those areas with mildew killer.
I have also washed down the entire basement with a strong bleach/water mix, as well as sprayed the basement with an odor neutralizer Anti-Icky-Poo meant for pet odors but works to freshen up everything I have used it on. There aren't any obvious or visible issues that I can see that are causing this other than it is just an old unfinished basement. Running the dehumidifier doesn't seem to help nor does it seem to help if I run the furnace fan all the time to circulate the air.
It wouldn't be so bad if the nasty basement smell stayed in the basement, but it permeates the rest of the house so everything smells icky.
It is embarrassing because my house is clean, but it doesn't smell that way, and yes, I am sure that the smell originates in the basement.
I am desperate at this point!
Any ideas, suggestions, advice?
Thank you!
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Old 09-13-2014, 09:45 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Niagara Falls ON.
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If you have a floor drain you might check that out. If no water ever goes down the drain the trap eventually dries out and bad smells can and do come up the drain.
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Old 09-13-2014, 09:51 AM
 
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Thank you- excellent suggestion, but my floor drain is where my washing machine drains, so I'm afraid it isn't that. I wish it were that easy.
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Old 09-13-2014, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Niagara Falls ON.
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You could try painting allof the surfaces including the floor. Use a really good quality paint that will seal all those surfaces.
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Old 09-13-2014, 10:03 PM
 
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Do you have anything stored in the basement? Our basement is over 100 years old. We don't store anything down there that isn't made of wood or metal. Cardboard boxes, fabrics and paper all retain musty odors.
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Old 09-14-2014, 06:00 AM
 
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OP,

Is your washer and dryer in the basement? If so, how is the dryer vented? My mother once had a snake get into the house via a dryer vent. Just wondering if you might have had a mouse, bird or some other animal get into the vent and die in there.

Also, try having someone who does not live in the house go down into the basement to try to track down where the smell is the strongest. Sometimes you need someone with a "new" nose to detect a slight difference in the smell in one area.

Mary2014
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Old 09-14-2014, 09:07 AM
 
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Thank you all for your suggestions.

Mary, good suggestion to have a new nose try to track the smell down.

Hopes, no, I don't store anything down there that might get that smell in it.

Luck, Re the painting suggestion, I wonder if treating the exposed wood (floor joists and subfloor) with the same product used for decking would help eliminate the smell since the wood would soak in the product (as opposed to paint that would just stay on the surface). I will check this out at the HomeD or other painting supply.
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Old 09-14-2014, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Niagara Falls ON.
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Do you have a dehumidifier down there? My basement will start to smell funny if I turn the dehumidifier off for more then a week.
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Old 09-15-2014, 06:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucknow View Post
Do you have a dehumidifier down there? My basement will start to smell funny if I turn the dehumidifier off for more then a week.
Same here. Our basement is dry, but without the humidifier running from time to time, it smells musty.
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Old 09-15-2014, 06:11 PM
 
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Same here and with many neighbors. In hot/humid weather all of our dehumidifiers run. Makes all the difference.
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