Where do the musty basement odors come from?

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Most people have at some point smelled that distinct musty “basement” smell. Unfortunately, in damp basements this smell is often caused by mold. Actively growing mold produces volatile organic compounds (VOC), which can contribute to that musty smell. Even at a low level, this smell is detectable to humans.


Mold that can barely be seen can still be the culprit of this smell. Oftentimes replacing the carpet in the basement helps take care of the smell because despite looking clean, mold can be hiding out. Mold can also occur behind paneling if the wall is damp, which can only be solved by drying the wall out.

Wet concrete can also cause that musty smell. Mold can grow on concrete, but sometimes just the dampness can cause odors. The dampness can create an ideal spot for bacteria to grow, which can contribute to the smell.

Dehumidifiers are perfect to get rid of the dampness that causes these musty basement odors. Wave Ventilation units can dehumidify your basement and get rid of the smell with ease. They can also help with the smell even if the musty odor isn’t coming from dampness or mold. If the smell is coming from old wood or old paper products, Wave Ventilation units can get rid of that smell too. It’s the perfect thing to make your basement breathable again.

whole house basement ventilation better than a basement dehumidifier


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  1. Alan on June 12, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    For the most part I enjoy the Wave ventilation system that I installed in my basement, however on humid days I smell a must odor in the basement, when I walk in the front door.
    I have a split level home, unfinished basement and leave the inside basement door open to allow the living space air to circulate down into the basement.
    Do you have any suggestions to help when the humidity levels run high?

    • Wave on June 25, 2015 at 5:24 pm

      Hey Alan,

      Happy to see you’re enjoying your unit. You can call our service department at 888-533-1348. Our team will be able to get some readings on the unit and see if any adjustments are needed.

      Thanks, let us know if you have any other questions!

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