Moisture in crawlspace?!?


Old 09-25-03, 07:13 PM
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Moisture in crawlspace?!?

Ok, I've been noticing a faint musty or stale air smell on the first floor of the house. When I go into the crawlspace, the smell is more pronounced. Is this the result of moisture? Some other obsevations I have made in attempting to determine the source of the odor...
- Odor downstairs is more pronounced when AC is off (stationary air in the house). I know there are some small leaks where the duct work goes into various distribution boxes in the crawlspace. Thus, I presume backstreaming of crawlspace air into the vents is possible, right? I'm planing to caulk around the seams and seal w/ additional aluminum tape based on a friends recommendation to eliminate the leaks.
- Odor is not noticable upstairs (2 story colonial-type house)
- This is a 2 yr old house, the dirt in the crawlspace is covered with plastic (moisture barrier) except the rock around the foundation where the foundation drain is.
- I was lucky enough to have a stray cat get in the crawlspace 2 months ago and have a litter of 3 kittens. They're all gone now. I need to go down w/ a black light and see if I have any areas of cat pee to clean up, but the predomanent odor is musty, stale air - not cat or cat pee. (I might be boring you, but just practicing full disclosure).

So after all that, could this be a moisture problem? If so, any input as to how to combat the problem? Like I said, it is more noticeable when the AC has been off a while. It doesn't make the house smell 'bad', just a somewhat distinct odor.

Thanks for any input in advance,
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Old 09-25-03, 08:02 PM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Taylors, SC
Posts: 9,483
Sealing the ductwork as it should have been when it was installed and stopping the intrusion of air from the crawlspace will stop the smell inside the house, if that is the source. Be sure to use mastic and tape that are approved for use on ductwork. There is only one mastic and only one tape that are approved.

The musty smell is likely the smell of the damp earth in the crawl space.

You might look for other sources of the smell as well. Doors that don't seal well, holes where piping enters from that area with the holes poorly sealed.

Hope this helps.

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