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Phil, Mechanical Engineer
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 8431
Experience:  Retired contractor, 51 years experience
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We have 2 cold cellars under our front porch. We covered over

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We have 2 cold cellars under our front porch. We covered over 1 cellar when we finished our basement because it was only minimally dug out. The other cellar has concrete block walls and a dirt floor with a wood door. Ever since we finished our basement, we have been getting a musty smell through our cold air return that is just outside of those cellars. We added a glassblock window with a vent in the cellar that has the window but adding ventilation has not helped. Can you close a cold cellar? Should we finish the cold cellar space somehow? We are unclear how to stop the musty smell. We assume that the cellars previously vented into the unfinished basement since we did not have the smell before finishing our basement.
Welcome to Just Answer!.

Ventilating the cold cellar just warms it up. The cure the problem is a concrete floor and walls... or....isolate the cold cellars from the house air circulation.

It is the microbes in the dirt floor that are creating the odor problem.

If you choose to rate my response here *positively, I can continue with some more elaboration if you wish.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.
How do you suggest that we seal the space from the cold air returns?

Hello again, I cannot see the house lay out from here, but it sounds like the root cellars are adjacent to the basement with the cold air return in it.... and that is what allows you keep the basement warm in the winter.

Changing all that around could be both difficult and costly. You may have to simply fit air tight doors between the root cellars and the basement...and if that fails, make the walls and floors of the root cellars out of concrete so that the odors the microbes generate to not get into the root cellar.

Microbes breath and pass gas just like other animals... that is what you are smelling. Cement floors and walls will solve 98% of that.


I will be off duty until 5 pm San Francisco time, then back from 5 pm until 11 pm if you need more explanation.


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