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Basement Odor Blues: How to Spot the Source of those Pesky Basement Smells

Imagine you are descending the stairs to your lowest level as you brace yourself for what is about to hit you; the stench of a musty basement. This is never a fun experience, and it is important to know how to identify the source of the bad basement odor.

There are all kinds of things that can create pungent basement odors including:

  • Mold and mildew
  • Cat urine (or feces)
  • Gas from sewers
  • Dead mice
  • Issues with moisture and water

The tricky thing to figure out is what the problem your basement is facing is. You can have a basement repair specialists come out and figure it out for as this is the best solution, but there are ways you can figure it out yourself.

The Guide to Common Basement Odors

To effectively figure out what is plaguing your basement with nasty odors, take a look at the tips listed below:

  • Mold and Mildew - When bacteria is left unchecked in a moisture ridden environment, it induces the growth and prospering of mold and mildew. The severity of the issue depends on the degree of moisture in your basement. The larger the leak, the more mold and mildew you will be dealing with. Condensation formed in plumbing, cracks in walls, or windows is the main culprit. Leaving you with that musty, Earthy smell in your basement.

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  • Cat Urine - The king of bad basement smells is cat urine. It is pungent and persists until you take action to eliminate the stench. To completely rid your home of this scent, you must dispose of all furnishings affected by the cat urine and bleach all tile surfaces. Carpet (if still salvageable) should be sprinkled with baking soda, and vacuumed several times. Depending on the severity of the problem, the type of fix can vary.
  • Dead Animals - The disgusting stench of decaying organic matter is one that is found quite commonly in basements. Dead mice, rats, and bats trapped in crevices or on the ground are to blame for this. Sadly, there is not much to do to solve this problem other than wait for it to pass unless the source is able to be disposed of.
  • Sewer Gas - Everyone is familiar with the stench of a sewer. It is a cross between feces and spoiled food and it is definitely not pleasant. If not taken care of, the gas can become toxic or even explosive. Pipes are made to keep sewer gas and other matter inside. If you are smelling sewer gas, it most likely means that you are experiencing a leak in your plumbing. Otherwise it could be created by a buildup of waste matter in the public sewage system.

Ultimately, none of the above situations are ideal. Now that you know how to differentiate between sources of bad basement smells, you can work towards combating them. A pleasant smelling basement is the best kind of basement.