Encapsulated Crawl - musty house smell
Hope someone has an answer. We purchased a new home that had been sitting for 2 years with no heat/air. The crawl is encapsulated, sump pump (which of course wasn't running for 2 years) drainage issues, which we corrected. The house had a very bad musty smell when we purchased. We have added a dehumidifier in crawl and had a small amount of mold removed from the crawl, vented the HVAC into the crawl. Yet we still have a very strong musty smell in the house if it has been closed up for more than a few hours. The crawl still has a strong smell when we enter. I'm at a loss for the next move. I have a very sensitive nose and my eyes burn when I enter the house after it has been closed up with no heat or air for few hours to few days. Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.
You need a good dose of fresh air along with some humidity control. I bet your humidity is pretty high right now. In the mean time don't just turn off the A/C when you leave. You need that to run in order to help reduce the humidity before you install your new ventilating dehumidifier. There are some remediation tricks that would help accelerate the restoration if the fresh air doesn't fix things fast enough. But they can be costly to own and you won't need them long.
Thank you for the reply! Fresh air in the house or fresh air in the crawl? My husband objects to airing out the crawl as he thinks it negates the reason for the incapsulation.
We have an industrial size dehumidifier in the crawl, 49% humidity at 74 degrees in the house right now. We live in the NC mountains so humidity is high at times.
The objective is to stop the burning eyes. There is something off gassing inside your home that you are sensitive to. It could be something you did before you moved in or something that grew in the carpet when the house was closed up. I am assuming that it is something that you didn't bring with you when you moved in, but became part of the house before you moved in. Another good thing to have done is to do a general maintenance on your air conditioning unit(s). That includes cleaning the coil and condensate pan real well. Just take a look at the inside of things while the unit is opened up to see if there is anything that doesn't look right.
I like the 47%RH throughout the home! That is good, you may have a damp spot someplace as other poster eluded to. Next you must have an air change of fresh air every 4-5 hours to purge the pollutants that remain in the home. Yes, it increases the humdity load but you must provide the air change. The mositure in 75 cfm of fresh air varies from none to about 3 lbs. per hour that must be removed maintain to maintain 50%RH. The a/c removes more than this during peak cooling hours. During cool wet weather, a good dehumidifier will do that without a problem. An industrial dehumidifier covers a lot of ground, some are great and should provide <50%RH with ease. Monitor %RH, if it is unable to deal with this, check out the Ultra-Aire line of whole house ventilating dehumidifier.
Originally Posted by summersk
You need controlled fresh air to both the home and the crawl space while maintianing <50%RH throughout.
A week of fresh air ventilation and <50%RH throughout, the odor will decline markedly. After a month, barely noticable. As months pass, the biologicals will go completely dormant and odor will be gone. Anytime high moisture levels return for several days, the odors will return.
Fresh air and <50%RH, you will be amazed. I have done this many times, including my own homes.
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"