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  1. #1

    Dirty Laundry Smell

    Prior to my first post, I would like to thank everyone in advance for your responses.

    I just finished construction on a new home with a semi-finished basement (finishing the basement has been put on a standstill). The basement has 1" r-board against the block foundation, wood studs against the r-board and sheet rock on the walls. There is no flooring yet.

    There is a 2.5 ton hvac system running in the basement, along with a whole-house dehumidifier. Over the past month, every morning there is a musty (smells like a football lockerroom) in the basement. I haven't seen any moisture problems, but the smell is driving me crazy.

    Any ideas/suggestions would be appreciated on how to identify/remedy this problem.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Mesa, Arizona
    Posts
    23
    It's very interesting that you get the smell only the morning. Can you think of anything that happens during the day that allows the smell to dissipate? And anything that might stop the air from circulating at night?

    Do you recall if the basement had the musty smell before you installed the sheetrock? Or was the sheetrock there when you moved in?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,064
    What is the temp/%RH of the basement? Climate? What will the floor be? What is the temp/%RH of mainfloor? AC fan "on" or "auto"?
    Regards TB

    Attaching PDF of a basement with adequate dehumidification.

    Aug in WI Basement Ultra Aire dehu -740101-46-12.pdf
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  4. #4
    Thanks for your prompt resonses.

    I did not notice the musty smell prior to the sheetrock, but he sheetrock was installed a couple of days before we moved in. Prior to the sheetrock being installed, there was a dead animal smell, but I chalked that up to being a dead rodent in the walls.

    Prior to installing the whole-house dehumidifier, the RH in the basement was 88% (this was in June in West Virginia). Since that time, the dehumidifier has ran and the humidity level has dropped to about 60% (that is the lowest I have been able to get it). The thermostat for the hvac unit is set on 70 degrees and the fan is set on continuous. I have since installed a ceiling fan in each bedroom downstairs to maximize airflow. It is my hope to install 2x2 carpet squares on the floor.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,064
    Quote Originally Posted by millerwm View Post
    Thanks for your prompt resonses.

    I did not notice the musty smell prior to the sheetrock, but he sheetrock was installed a couple of days before we moved in. Prior to the sheetrock being installed, there was a dead animal smell, but I chalked that up to being a dead rodent in the walls.

    Prior to installing the whole-house dehumidifier, the RH in the basement was 88% (this was in June in West Virginia). Since that time, the dehumidifier has ran and the humidity level has dropped to about 60% (that is the lowest I have been able to get it). The thermostat for the hvac unit is set on 70 degrees and the fan is set on continuous. I have since installed a ceiling fan in each bedroom downstairs to maximize airflow. It is my hope to install 2x2 carpet squares on the floor.
    What is the size of the space in sqft.? What is the size of dehu in pints per day? is the whole house dehu connected to the whole or basement? Measure the temp/%RH output of the dehu? If possible catch the condensate from the dehu for an hour and report how much?
    Regards TB
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Southeast Georgia
    Posts
    23
    A few years back we had to pull a lot of Trane evap coils because there was a coating on them that was promoting "growth". Chemical treatment wasn't helping so they were covered under a recall of sorts. Maybe check your evap coil for anything suspicious.

  7. #7
    The basement is 2050 ft". The whole house dehumidifier is only tied to the hvac system in the basement. During a three hour period the condensate from the dehumidifier was 72 ounces.

    This is a trane system. However if the problem was with evap coils, wouldn't the smell linger all day?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,064
    72 oz. / 3 hours = 24 oz. per hour or 1.5 pints/lbs. per hour.
    24 hours X 1.5 lbs. per hour = 36 lbs./pints per day.
    Something is not working right. What is the brand and size of the dehu? Could be a ducting problem or something with the device itself. The smallest whole house dehu that I know of is 65 pint/day.
    How is the dehu ducted into the a/c ducts? Pictures or description will do?
    Keep us posted.
    You probably have a damp spot that is causing the odors. Get the humidity down <50%RH for a few days and I bet the odor goes away.
    Regards TB
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Southeast Georgia
    Posts
    23
    Quote Originally Posted by millerwm View Post
    The basement is 2050 ft". The whole house dehumidifier is only tied to the hvac system in the basement. During a three hour period the condensate from the dehumidifier was 72 ounces.

    This is a trane system. However if the problem was with evap coils, wouldn't the smell linger all day?
    Maybe, maybe not. Could be a varying humidity issue like Teddy Bear says, aggravating a growing coil. Could be you only notice it after a long period of inactivity (like over night) and it dissipates after you get some air exchanges. Could be a lot of variables. Just check your coil. Theory is only great when someone backs it up with proof.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    906
    Early morning is when outside humidity is the highest. I bet the humidity in your basement in the early morning is 65% or higher -- that's too high. See if your basement is under negative pressure (leaky return duct, oversized returns in basement, or perhaps the whole house is under negative pressure), if so fix it. Consider also discharging most or all of the dehu's output directly in the basement.

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