Humidity in cold storage room

I need help here ! I bought a brand new home last year with a cold storage room in the basement. The builder left all kinds of wood in there when they poured the concrete. I noticed upon moving in and long after that the mustiness in that room was unbelievable. I had the builder rip out all the wood and install 2 new vents that were stuck open instead of the flap vents he installed which allowed NO circulation of air. When they ripped out of the wood the guy told me that that wood was basically dripping wet it was so humid. Well 1 month after new vents and ripping out all the wood, I bought a thermometer that can read humidity and as soon as I installed it, it went right up to 100% humidity !!! The mustiness smell is still there for sure and my wife thinks is sickening and disgusting. So here are my questions.
1-Why is the humidity levels so high in that room so high to begin with? 2-How can I ventilate better ? 3-How do I get the smell out of there? 4-Is there a health risk ?
Any other help would be greatly appreciated. Ottawa, Canada.
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You may have a wet basement caused by improper foundation drainage, roof runoff misdirected, or built on a spring, or a low spot, or surrounded by clay soil, or etc etc etc..... Yes, there is a health risk ( mold, mildew) and risk of wood rot and structural damage, over time. Start by having an expert walk around the house and see if the perimeter foundation is properly drained, and all roof runoff directed by pipe to the street. Once you get the drainage issue solved, you may have to go with a sump pump, and/or an active ventillation fan that changes the air frequently. There are companies that specialize in solving wet basement problems. You have one. Roger

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Being from SoCal maybe you could explain what a "cold storage room" is?
Like a "root cellar" or a "wine cellar"? To take advantage of the stable & relatively cool temp of below grade earth?
to answer your questionss....
1-Why is the humidity levels so high in that room so high to begin with?
I would think that concrete was placed without a vapor barrier to the soil & water / vapor are migrating through the concrete.
2-How can I ventilate better ?
Of course AND you can dehumidify as well but won't these steps negate the value of your cold storage room?
3-How do I get the smell out of there?
Get rid of the moisture & the smell with go away fairly quickly.
4-Is there a health risk ?
minor but if your wife doesn't like the smell (& who would?) I would suggest getting a dehumidifier going ASAP but this really isn't much of a solution since depending on the source of the moisture you could be working against major water source.
What's the local drainage around the house like? Soil conditions? Local stream?
Take a look at the plans for your house...do they mention a vapor barrier? If yes, was it installed? If not, who did the design?
My guess is that you've got designed in or built in problem that the builder is going to have to fix.
cheers Bob
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Consult your city councillor about local sources of information e.g. 1. Health components of the Ontario and Ottawa codes for new dwellings. Public libraries seem not to carry the building code, but municipal building licence offices often provide free copies of the particular pages you need. I do not know its provisions for ventilation. 2. Ontario new home quality insurance system, which obliges the builder to comply with the code and to remedy at his expense departures from code (e.g. external drainage of the foundations.) This is time-limited. 3. Archives of local newspapers may record similar problems (because there has been so much building in Ottawa since 1970.)
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
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Crash,
What's a cold storage room? The amount of water that can be dissolved in air is very temperature dependant. Let's assume that it's 75 degrees outside and the relative humidity is 50%. That's nice, really comfy. OK, now lets take this very same air and put it in the cold storage room. What happens? Well the temp goes down and the humidity goes up. If the temp is 55 degrees the relative humidity becomes 100%. Colder than that and you'll get water dripping everywhere. So you need a door that seals well and a dehumidifier. Your new vents are a bad idea. The air in that room must be much drier than the air in the rest of your house (in Summer). Try to rent a dehumidifier, install it, and seal the room. Check back in a couple of days. If it's not much drier then you have leaks in your walls or floor. Fix the leaks. If it's drier then buy a dehumidifier. I have no advice on the musty smell other than a good cleaning with lysol or 5% bleach.
Dave M.
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