Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Odor Most Foul in Summer Home

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Odor Most Foul in Summer Home

Article excerpt

Q: I have a cottage on Lake Huron here in Michigan and it has a musty smell that I cannot track down. It is bad enough that when you walk up to the home, you can smell it through the door before entering. In fact, after spending a weekend, everything reeks of it, including clothes, bags, hair, etc. The crawl space is covered with clear plastic sheeting and is dry. There is no mold or mildew growth on either side of the sheeting nor any on the block walls, joists, floorboards or beams.

I also had additional foundation vents installed that I open in the spring and close in the winter. The home is used during the summer on the weekends only and is not used in the winter. It is not heated, so all the lines are drained and winterized until spring.

Is it possible I still am getting some moisture movement through the crawl space? Is it possible that there is an improper amount of air movement in the interior during the winter months while sitting and during the week in the summers?

Because of the A frame design, there are no roof vents nor any way to install them.

A: The problem with any unattended structure is moisture buildup, which leads to the musty odors you are experiencing. Even though mold or mildew is not present on the viewable interior surfaces, the odor-causing microbes may be inside the walls or ceiling of the home.

When there is no heat source for the home, moisture left over from the previous summer's humidity will condense inside wall and ceiling cavities and become trapped and stored in the insulation.

During the cold winter months, the trapped mold spores are dormant, but with warmer weather the spores begin to grow and release the odors associated with a damp environment.

My recommendations would be

Open the foundation vents in the winter when the outside air is dry. This will release moisture from the crawlspace to the outside air. …

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