Skip links

What Causes Crawl Space Odor?

Crawl space odor is like no other, and there are several factors that lead to this smell that is often described as musty. Although dead animals or rodent droppings can cause this smell, much of the cause behind the odor is due to water, mold, or mildew.

Understanding the cause of the musty crawl space smell makes it easier to work with a professional to address the underlying cause.

How Often Does Water Cause Smell in Your Crawl Space?

It’s easy to figure out that a smell in your home might be coming from the crawl space. If you notice a musty smell after a heavy rainstorm, the chances of moisture issues in your crawl space are quite high. Cutting the odor off at its source is the best way to eliminate these smells.

Saturated ground allows standing water into your crawl space, and because the mortar joints in brick are porous, water infiltration is much easier. Most crawl spaces are below grade level, easily placing them below typical ground level. There is nothing to resist the water, which makes it easier for it to get into mortar joints. If your property has expansive clay soil, there will be more of a problem in your crawl space.

What Are Some Other Causes of Crawl Space Odor?

Crawl space odor can also be caused by factors not directly related to stagnant standing water. Although these other issues are relatively serious, getting a good handle on them will make it easier to permanently eliminate the odors. You can likely avoid some of the worse consequences of these problems if you act sooner rather than later.

Mold and mildew are two of the most common causes of stinky smells in your crawl space. Besides being unsightly to see, mold and mildew can make the air difficult to breathe, possibly impacting your health. You’ll want to get these issues seen as soon as possible to help prevent further problems.

If your sewer drain lines are leaking, this may also cause a musty smell in your crawl space. When these leaks occur, the crawl space is one of the most typical places where the water will usually pool. Standing water, particularly from sewage, is a potential health threat you need to be very aware of.

What Are Some of the Most Common Solutions?

Cleaning out your crawl space as completely as possible can help you address odors effectively in many cases. Contaminated objects may retain the smell for a long time. Using cleansers designed specifically to address these types of smells will often eliminate the smell in the longer term.

Having a vapor barrier or crawl space encapsulation can help prevent your crawl space from developing these odors again. When you opt for either of these, you’ll be able to effectively seal out damaging moisture.

If mold or fungus have been involved, you will want to make sure they have been killed. Crawl spaces offer the perfect environment for these hazards to thrive, which makes eliminating them entirely all the more important.

The odors should go away once you have found and eliminated the cause. A trained crawl space professional can identify what the problem is so it can be properly addressed. Once you have a professional diagnose the problem, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect from any repairs.

Falcone Crawl Space can help you uncover the cause of and deal with your crawl space odor, contact us today for more information.