Asked on May 18, 2013

Musty smell from broken water line

Woodbridge Environmental Tiptophouse.comJeanette SPonto


Line going into hot water tank split-ended up with several inches of water in basement-in rugs, etc. What is a natural way to get rid of the musty smell? Have dehumidifier running full blast; opened windows have placed dry coffee grounds around as well as odor reducing air fresheners. Nothing seems to be working.
6 answers
  • Arlene
    on May 18, 2013

    KEEP YOUR LIGHTS ON, this will help keep the mold down

  • Sara
    on May 18, 2013

    Did water get into the walls? This should be covered in the insurance quote if you have one. Similar thing happened in our house due to a faulty kitchen sink. Only way to get rid of the smell finally was to rip out the spoiled drywall. If you have carpet it would probably need replaced as well. If its in the building materials, not just the air, there isn't much you can do besides directly get rid of the problem.

  • Trish Ross
    on May 18, 2013

    vinegar wash...when dry sprinkle with dry baking soda...these are the only natural solutions I can come up with. You need to use a shop vac and get as much water out of the carpet....if you end up needing to remove the carpet use 'Kilz' to paint all the surfaces before repainting or re- carpeting. .

  • Ponto
    on May 19, 2013

    get rid of everything that had gotten wet, including the carpet, if there is mold don't feed it with anything that provides more moisture...thoroughly dry everything and repaint with KILZ

  • Jeanette S
    on May 20, 2013

    You need to do some serious investigating before you have a really expensive problem. Get the ruined carpet and drywall out of there and get it dried out. Your home is too expensive to risk losing it to mold.

  • Forget the vinegar, forget keeping lights on, None of this will work. Not to make fun of those suggestions, but they really only work on a very small scale, not for a basement flooding issue. Musty odors are mold odors. No smell no mold. That simple. Even dry dead mold will create odors should the humidity level rise. Because as humidity levels rise the once dormant molds come back to life again. Much like the grass on the lawn. Goes dormant in winter but add moisture and just a tiny amount of heat and you have mold again. Check with your insurance company, Although they will not cover the mold clean up, but some still do, they should be able to pay for the lost items as a result of the water. You need to dry out the basement within 24 hours or mold will begin to grow. Once this occurs you need to remove everything that cannot be cleaned. Carpets go out. If they can be professionally cleaned at a store fine, If not discard. Cleaning in place does not work, it only promotes more mold. Wall board, paneling must be cut back to at least 12 inches above the water line. More if water sat for longer periods of time. Once everything has been discarded that could not be cleaned and dried using HOT water and detergent your next step is to attack the walls. All exposed framing must be thoroughly cleaned, then sanded to aid in removal of stains. You will not be able to remove all stains, but at least try to remove any surface fungal evidence if you can. Then using a moisture meter test the wood and once it is down to around 12-14% you can paint. Ideally you want to use a professionally applied anti fungal encapsulate on the framing, but if that is not available, prime heavily using Kilz or similar anti microbial primer. Remember pretty is out, You want to apply heavy and thick to assure all exposed surfaces that had contained moisture or visual mold was covered. If the wood remains damp you need to dehumidify the basement as much as you can. Many rental places rent commercial dehumidifiers for around $20 a day. Leave it run non stop for several days until the basement is desert dry. Then and only then can you rebuild the walls and put your life back again.

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