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Managing Odors in a Crawl Space

If you notice that bad smells are coming from your crawl space, do not ignore them. Most of the time they are a sign that something irregular is happening.

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When a nasty stench is coming from your crawl space, it can make living in your house unbearable. Not only are you prevented from having guests over, but it can also make breathing normally difficult in your home in Columbus, OH

It is important to keep in mind that bad smells are not something that normally happens in a crawl space. Just like when you open your fridge and a stench alerts you that something has gone bad, the smells coming from your foundation are warning you that something is wrong down there. 

In this post, we will take a look at potential causes of those smells, as well as foolproof ways to get rid of them once and for all. 

nasty flooded crawl space

Potential Sources 

There is not just one, but several things that could make your crawl space smell extremely bad. Let’s take a look at them. 


While mold itself doesn’t have any kind of particular smell, when it forms on wood, it causes mildew, which does have a bad smell. Mildew can quickly turn your cozy home into a musty disaster. If your home is prone to moisture problems or you often find standing water in your crawl space, you may have a mold infestation. This is not something you should just brush off, because airborne mold spores can contaminate the air you breathe and lead to respiratory problems. 


Have you recently checked your crawl space walls or the entrance to this space? If there is even the tiniest hole in your wall or the door isn’t properly shut, various vermin can inhabit your crawl space. In fact, if a pen can fit through a hole, so can a mouse. There are two problems with pests that can cause bad smells.  

First of all, pests leave droppings that are not just a health hazard, but also cause unbearable smells. Second of all, if a mouse, a rat, or even a raccoon dies in your crawl space, their carcass will cause your home to smell so bad, you will want to move. 


Many organic components of the soil can start to decay after rain. If you have a dirt floor in your crawl space, this can be a potential reason why your home is starting to smell bad. 

Forgotten Items 

Do you store various belongings in your crawl space? If you place all the things you no longer need down there, there is a chance that something has started to decay. Take everything out of the crawl space to see what condition it is in. 


A sewage leak or backup is the worst thing that can happen to your crawl space. It is incredibly difficult to clean, it will make your crawl space smell incredibly foul and it presents a huge health hazard. To clean up this mess, you will need to call in certified experts. Make sure you do not throw diapers, wipes, paper products other than toilet paper, or feminine hygiene products down the toilet, or you may end up with this problem on your hands. 

Why Does the Smell Spread Through the House? 

A lot of homeowners believe that problems that occur in the crawl space remain in the crawl space. However, half of the air you breathe on the first floor of your house comes from the crawl space. Heat moves up, and it carries the smells with it. In addition, bad smells can sneak in through the cracks and joints in the floor, as well as pipes. When it reaches the first floor, a bad smell will spread through the rest of the house through the air ducts. 

Managing the Smells 

Improving ventilation might be your first option to get rid of the bad smells. However, this is not a good solution. In the summer, moisture-laden air can turn your crawl space into a moldy cave, while cold winter air will easily cool down your home and increase your utility bills. 

In the past, it was believed that crawl space vents were a good way to prevent foul smells from spreading through the house, among other things. However, this theory was proven wrong as open crawl space vents can lead to a multitude of issues.

Preventing Bad Smells 

If humidity levels in your crawl space are often increased and, as a result, bad smells are coming out of it, consider encapsulating this space. With a vapor barrier, you will keep the moisture out, preventing mold growth. Your local expert at Ohio Basement Authority will also seal the vents and any openings that can let moisture inside. The great thing about encapsulation is that it will also keep vermin out, so you won’t have to worry about mice and rats in your crawl space. 

During the encapsulation process, our experts may also suggest installing a dehumidifier. This appliance will keep the humidity levels in your crawl space under control, as well as filter toxins from the air.

At Ohio Basement Authority we offer a free inspection and quote. Our specialists can provide a thorough assessment and, based on the state of your foundation, recommend suitable solutions for your home.

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