What is the best way to keep the basement from smelling damp and musty

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We have a finished basement and in the summer it always smells damp. So we run our dehumidifier. This is costly and constant checking of the water reservoir is rather tedious. I heard that containers of open charcoal help, is this true? thanks

  7 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Dec 27, 2017
    Use damp rid along with the dehumidifier

  • Bijous Bijous on Dec 27, 2017
    There may be a vapor barrier problem on the outside of the walls. Buy a more efficient dehumidifier and run the water line to the outside of the house, or have one attached to your A/C. There's no easy fix for this problem. Good luck.

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Dec 27, 2017
    Putting damp rid in each room may help as long as you use enough for the size of the room. Open windows in the summer to get air circulation. Make sure that you aren't developing mold or mildew anywhere due to the humidity.

  • Liz Liz on Dec 27, 2017
    yes concur. fix your water leaks. insulate any pipes that transfer water. i.e. hot water

  • Ifixstuff Ifixstuff on Dec 27, 2017
    My mom's basement had the same issue. Surprisingly her small home-size dehumidifiers from big box stores never solved the problem and kept needing replacement. We even bought a vertical ejector pump that you place inside the dehumidifier bucket and it pumped the water into her sewer line directly so we never had to empty the bucket again. This system however did not stop the musty smell. We finally bought a HUGE Sante Fe Dehumidifier and it has kept the moisture below 30% and has finally stopped the musty smell. AND the bonus is that it costs very little to run as compared to the other smaller units we were using.

  • Ken Ken on Dec 27, 2017
    Monitor humidity in your basement. A digital hygrometer costs less than $10. I use several around the house. Target 50% as desired humidity. Take serious action when it hits 60%

    Bought my home in 2011. Had been empty for 3 years with water running through the basement every hard rain. Mold was everywhere. I bought a 105 pint Aprilaire dehumidifier. Expensive but worth it. Uses a lot of electricity and ran three months with a constant steady trickle. It does not have a drain pan so I park it over a floor drain. Also am using a backup Frigidaire 70 pint that seldom runs because the Aprilaire really knows how to dry the air. This is important stuff to protect your health, comfort, and investment in your home.

    With all due respect to your ideas and suggestion by Janet, this is not an issue that can be solved by opening a can of water absorbent. We are talking about gallons and gallons of water absorbed into everything in your home.

    There are sump boxes made that you can drain your dehumidifier into and will automatically pump the water wherever you need it to go.

    My point is that I came to the conclusion that this is one of those "cost of admission" issues. If you want a finished basement or an unfinished one that does not smell moldy you need to do serious stuff to keep it dry. At least here in the Northeast you do.



  • Russbow Russbow on Dec 27, 2017
    USE THE WATER. I jug all the water from my de humidifier in the basement, then use it to water house plants. You add just a tiny little spoon that comes with the fertilizer to each jug. Thus, you never get a salt build up in the plant's soil, and have to re pot. Works like a charm. Then upstairs, where I NEED TO HUMIDIFY, I fill the unit with that water, and NO mineral build up in the humidifier. Two birds with one stone. We have primarily a wood stove in Montana, so the upstairs tends to be dry, even burning outside air for the stove.