5 Possible Reasons for a Bad Crawl Space Odor

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    Odors anywhere in your home are a bad sign, especially when they come from a space designed to catch and disseminate water. You need to quickly identify the problem and fix it if at all possible. Unfortunately, crawl spaces suffer from a number of potential hazards that could increase the risk of odors.

    If you’ve suffered from odors in your crawl space, this guide can help. Here’s everything you need to know about them, including when to call in an expert. 

    How Crawl Spaces Support Your Home

    A crawl space is designed to provide a buffer between your home and the environment around it. It can help protect against water, add protection from tree roots, and even keep your home safer from shifting dirt over time. Crawl spaces are also excellent for running wires and ductwork under the house without taking up valuable living space.

    When they function properly, crawl spaces should be relatively dry, with no pooling moisture, pests, or rodents setting up shop, and most importantly, no water in your crawl spaces. They should also be free from gaps and cracks, which could offer access into your home. If you notice problems with your crawl space, contact a professional contractor as soon as possible to remediate the problem. 

    6 Ways to Tell Your Crawl Space Has a Problem

    Ideally, you should check your crawl space regularly to make sure that it doesn’t have any obvious problems. If you notice visible issues — such as those in the following list — you should address them promptly to keep them from worsening over time:

    • Standing water in crawl space
    • Visible signs of mold
    • Signs of rodent infestations
    • Clear signs of bugs. 
    • A sudden increase in your electric bill, which could indicate a change in air circulation
    • Strange, musty odors 
    professional investigating crawl space odor

    Inspecting your crawl space regularly can give you a better idea of what it should look and smell like. This will allow you to  quickly spot any changes or challenges that occur in the future. 

    5 Common Odors and Their Causes

    No one likes to smell odors rising from anywhere in their home, including from a crawl space. Understanding those odors can make it easier to determine what they mean so that you can correct the problem quickly.

    1. Dead Animals

    Animals sometimes find a way into crawl spaces from the outside. It looks like a warm location, out of the weather and wet. Unfortunately, it’s also easy for them to get stuck and die. Removing the dead animal should solve the immediate problem. You will also want to seal off or encapsulate your crawl space to help avoid future visitors. 

    2. Urine and/or Feces

    Like the rotting smell of dead animals, the smell of urine and feces can take over your crawl space due to the presence of unwanted pests. Sealing off the crawl space can prevent future invaders. A professional can assist in discovering how they got in in the first place and help you close off any openings. 

    3. Mold or Mildew

    Crawl spaces are breeding grounds for mold and mildew, especially if they start to hold on to more moisture than anticipated. You need to deal with such growths quickly, before it spreads to the rest of the house or starts to make your family ill.

    mold causing crawl space odor

    You may need to check for any possible water leaks around the crawl space or the foundation of your home to figure out where the mold came from. Mold and mildew cannot develop without moisture, and the moisture has to creep in from somewhere. 

    4. Sewage

    Sewage lines can sometimes overflow or back up, causing them to spill into your crawl space. If you notice the smell of sewage throughout your home or in the area surrounding your crawl space, it’s critical that you deal with it as soon as possible.

    Sewage can quickly cause more damage, from making your family ill to increasing the risk of crawl space mold and mildew. You will need to fix the problem with the lines, then consider sealing off your crawl space so that it cannot suffer future damage. 

    5. Trash or Other Odd, Unfamiliar Smells

    You should not use your crawl space for storage, since it needs to stay sealed to help prevent incursions from pests and the introduction of moist air into the area. However, you may find that your home’s previous residents did not adhere to these rules.

    As a result, you may struggle with odd smells. Take a look in the crawl space to see what the previous owners may have left behind. Anything from old paint cans to trash stored beneath the house can start to decay over time, leading to a strong odor rising into the property. You can often quickly fix the problem by removing those items and closing the crawl space back up. Do not leave the crawl space open to “air out,” since this could introduce moist outdoor air or lead to heating and cooling problems in your home. 

    Let the Professionals Remove Bad Crawl Space Odors

    If you note any type of crawl space problem, contact a professional for crawl space repair as soon as possible. Do not allow those smells to linger unchecked. It can not create an unpleasant living environment, but you may also find that those odors are indicators of more serious problems — including potential future foundation issues or mold. A professional can help you fix the problem before it gets worse.

    Crawl space odors are frustrating, especially if you have trouble identifying the source. Fortunately, you do not have to handle them alone. Contact LUX Foundation Solutions today to speak with an expert about any related questions you might have.