Q&A / 

How to Eliminate Musty Smell in House

Quick Column Summary:

  • Musty room is an embarrassment
  • Vapor barrier will help
  • Control the water to dry out the space
  • Run a dehumidifier

Missy Merritt, who lives in Ocean View, NJ, has a problem in her pool house.

" I have a pool house that was build without a foundation. You have to step down to the pool house. This is my only guest room and it is very musty smelling.

The pump from the well is in a closet in the room and the pipes have lots of condensation on them .  Please give me some suggestions on how to make room not so musty smelling so I am not embarrassed to have company stay there."

Here's my answer to Missy:

Missy, I'm at a disadvantage because I don't know if the pool house is built on a slab or there is a crawlspace beneath the room / structure.

If there's a crawlspace, my guess is you can control the musty space by installing a high-performance vapor barrier on top of the soil in the crawlspace.

The musty smell is created by a gas from growing mold spores. When the tiny plant expels a spore, it does it with compressed gas. This gas smells much like that from a human or an animal that expels gas after eating certain foods.

When you smell the mustiness, it tells you that you have a mold issue. Mold MUST have water to survive. You need to control the water and dry out the space to have the odor go away.

The vapor barrier, properly installed, will go a long way to achieve this goal.

You may also have to run a dehumidifier. I realize your location along the coast makes it that you're fighting humidity daily. That's the price you pay for having a great view of the ocean!


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