LESLIE: Marian in Massachusetts, welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
MARIAN: I have a musty smell in my home and I’ve tried airing it out but it doesn’t seem to help.
LESLIE: Where are you finding this odor? Is it in the basement? Is it …?
MARIAN: It’s mainly in the main house; all in …
LESLIE: So throughout the entire house on the first floor, second floor, even where you have …?
MARIAN: The first floor.
TOM: Have you had a lot of rain?
MARIAN: No, but I did have a leak in a Frigidaire that went down probably through the floor.
TOM: What kind of heating system do you have, Marian?
MARIAN: I have hot water.
TOM: Hot water. So you have a very humid heating system, which is not unusual because you’re going to have a lot of moisture in the house when that happens. So the musty smell is pretty consistent with that. I think what you’re going to have to do is take some steps to reduce that level of humidity in the house and the way you do that is by starting on the outside of the house looking at the grading and the drainage. This is the angle of the soil around the house. You’re trying to reduce the amount of moisture that gets around the foundation perimeter. If you reduce the moisture in your house you usually can reduce those odors as well. So grading and drainage at the outside foundation, which means keep an eye on the landscaping, make sure the soil is sloping away from the wall; keep an eye on the roof gutters, make sure they’re free flowing, they’re empty, they’re not clogged and the downspouts are extending out well away from that foundation perimeter.
Inside the house take a look at the roof ventilation. You want to make sure that you’ve got vents on the roof because what happens is you get moisture that traps at the foundation, it works its way up through inside the house, it builds up a vapor pressure and it kind of sits and adds to that musty, moist, smell that’s going on inside the house and if you can move some of that air through you’re going to reduce that odor.
MARIAN: Oh, great. Thank you very much.