Why Does Your Home Have an Odour?

By Shell Busey


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Since the cooler weather has arrived homeowners have been calling regarding odours emitting from basements, crawl spaces and lower storage rooms.

The first question I ask is ”How much bare concrete does your home have in basement walls, basement and crawlspace floors or closed-up storage areas below the grade level of your home?” Grade level is where the yard area meets the crawl space or full basement foundation of your home.

Raw concrete surfaces are very porous and will accept water vapour in the form of relative humidity that can react on the alkaline in the concrete and give off a musty stagnant odour.

Most homeowners respond to this problem by spraying deodorizers; putting in a dehumidifier; using portable heaters; or maybe even turning on the furnace fan to try to remove the odour.

Why does this happen? A number of issues can cause an odour to occur and the best advice is to follow these steps:

1. Depending on the age of your furnace, you should consider running the blower at the low speed 24 hours a day to keep the ambient temperature throughout the home equal.

2. Seal all exposed raw concrete with a product called Aqua Seal available from Cloverdale Paint or Xypex Crystallization sealer available at building supply stores.

3. Turn on all external exhaust fans such as bathroom, laundry room and kitchen exhaust fans to reduce moisture levels down to 35–40 per cent relative humidity throughout the home. If you do not have a humidity indicator, pick one up at your local hardware store. They are not an expensive item.

Dryer air does not smell, odours show up when we start closing up windows to trap in moisture, and adding new features to our homes such as high-efficient windows, furnaces and fireplace gas inserts.

The most important recommendation I can give is to maintain moisture levels within your home as outlined in a free information book titled Keeping the Heat In. They are available to pick at our office Unit 7 2320 King George Blvd., South Surrey or by mail from Resources Canada, toll-free at 1-800-387-2000.

For more Home Improvement information or to send Shell an email go to www.AskShell.com and become a member of Shell’s HouseSmart Club.

DECEMBER 2014 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE

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