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Having odor in the home isn’t just displeasing to your nose. The two main causes for the odor is mold and mildew accumulation that can be harmful to your health (allergy and asthma are two main conditions caused by undetected mold). This is not a problem that should be ignored, especially if you are trying to maintain the integrity of the home for years to come or are trying to sell it in the future. No matter how lovely the home is staged on higher levels, once your guests open the basement door and catch a whiff, they will know what the smell represents; Water! Mold and mildew smells coming from your basement are likely caused by condensation, leaking, and poor ventilation. Luckily, this problem can be remedied fairly easily. Check out these tips.
Air It Out
The musty basement smell is strongest in spring and fall when utilities aren’t running and in the winter when windows are closed. Poor ventilation of the basement is how the smell permeates each square inch. The first thing you can do is buy a humidifier to remove moisture and dry the place out. Open all windows and doors in the vicinity of the basement in hopes it will tame the smell.
Put on your home inspector hat because you are going to examine both the inside of the basement and outside the home around the perimeter of the foundation. Inside look for water spots that indicate leakage, cracks in the foundation, or actual mold. Look at exposed pipes to see if they are dripping or wet with condensation. These should be wrapped in a wrap product specifically made for the purpose. Note what you see and call a professional to make repairs immediately before severe damage is done to the foundation. The problems are likely from the outside where you will examine next. The land around the home should slope away so that rain water is drained away from the home instead of down the foundation walls. Even water soaking into the dirt and penetrating the home’s concrete can cause cracks and damage. See if you have an adequate and clean gutter system doing its job. Gutter down spouts should extend at least 6 feet from the home’s foundation.
Get Rid Of The Smells Long Term
To get rid of the smells long term you will need to apply several of these tips. Wear a mask as you use a water and bleach solution to spray and clean every surface of the basement to kill any harmful mold that has grown. Mold may not be visible, but is still there so I would not skip this important step. If you have any closets or tight enclosed places in your basement, kitty litter makes a great odor eliminator in these areas. White vinegar scattered around in bowls will eliminate odor over a period of a few days. The smell of vinegar will also go away. For long term odor eliminating, leave open containers of baking soda in the basement just as you would for the fridge. The baking soda boxes can assist in odor elimination up to 3 months.
Leaking Water Heater
A big Increase In Your Water Bill
Sewer Gas Smell
Mold and Mildew
A Wet Spongy Lawn
Though mature trees add shade and beauty to landscapes their roots can affect your plumbing. Roots grow into sewer pipes because they contain essential elements for tree growth like oxygen, water, and nutrients. This leads to expensive maintenance costs of the pipes. Tree roots growing on parkways and private property often cause damage to sewer pipes and sanitary sewer backup services. This commonly affects homeowners who have no idea of the potential problems until it is too late to maintain their laterals.
How do Tree Roots Affect Your Plumbing Pipes?
Tree roots usually grow through sewer pipe openings like loose joints and crack in the pipes. These openings release vapor to the cooler soil around the pipe allowing tree roots to grow toward the vapor’s source. Once inside the pipe, roots will grow further in order to reach more moisture and plentiful nutrients. If they are not disturbed, the roots will eventually fully block the pipes with (hair-like) root masses. The masses trap oils, grit (FOGG), grease, tissue paper, household fats, and other material discharged from the residence.
Maintenance of Plumbing Pipes
Homeowners need to do regular maintenance of the sewer pipes to avoid blockage. You can notice problems in the system by checking on the pipes for slow flowing drains. If you hear gurgling noises from the toilet bowls, you should take immediate action because this is one of the first signs of a system with slow-flowing drainage. A complete blockage occurs if no action is taken to remove the blockage or roots.
The continuous growth of roots inside the pipe expands and exerts considerable force at the point of entry. The pressure exerted on the joint and crack can break the pipe and result to the pipe’s total collapse. This structural damage of the pipes due to severe root intrusion is far much worse for it will require full replacement of the system pipes.
Planting along Plumbing Pipes
Homeowners should be able to locate their sewer cleanout pipe and laterals and avoid planting hedges and trees close to the sewer line for easier maintenance and prevent any future damage. To minimize root intrusion, trees should be planted more than 10-feet from the sewer lines. Furthermore, homeowners should select small, slow-growing plant species with root systems that are less aggressive, and replace them before they grow too large than their planting area.
Cleaning Plumbing Pipes
If the blockage is caused by roots in your laterals, you need to clean your sewer laterals regularly using root saws, augers and high-pressure which are very effective in removing the roots. Try to maintain your sewer laterals as much as possible to keep them structurally sound avoiding entry of roots. You can hire a plumber to check on the condition of your sewer lateral and do any repairs if necessary.
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