Musty Smelling Cellar?

I have a walk-out cellar w/2 windows and a patio door. The windows are open all the time and I still get that smell. I purchased a dehumidifier. I ran it for a week straight which helped with the smell but almost doubled my light bill. Would a ceiling fan help? The walls are dry walled and it's all open. It's the game room and doubles as a spare bedroom.


By Lottie H

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December 7, 20170 found this helpful

A dehumidifier should not have that effect on your electric bill. If you ran it, windows are open and you still have that smell, then somehow water is getting in. Do you have a leak coming from any pipes, hotwater heater, furnace??? Are your walls leaking in water from the outside? Yes a ceiling fan would also help, but the best thing would be to find a source of where the moisture is coming from.

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July 1, 20180 found this helpful

Yes, a dehumididifer runs your electric up BIG time . I have a brand new one in my basement and used it one year.


I don't use it anymore because I can't afford the double bill.

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December 7, 20170 found this helpful

Dehumidifiers dont use a lot of electricity. You can run fans for little money

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August 4, 20180 found this helpful

My dehumidifier upped my bill $58.00 a month!!!!!!!!!!

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October 13, 20190 found this helpful

What's the RH (relative humidity) outside?

Musty odors are usually a sign of mold/mildew. So check for plumbing leaks and moisture issues in crawlspace or basement. Further check for signs of mold/mildew and address in those areas. Check attic for symptoms, too.
Check to make sure gutters and drain-spouts are clear and carry water away from structure. Make sure soil slopes away from structure to carry water away.


Fans will improve air circulation. Also keep your HVAC running as air conditioning will dehumidify air. Check humidity levels in rooms with hygrometer and maintain at 35-55%.

As for dehumidifiers, it's a bit strange that your bill has increased. I can only recommend you to check your cellar for any leakages and replace your dehumidifier. For instance, we're using the one from hOuseLab and it's Energy Star certified - such dehumidifiers are energy efficient. We use ours almost regularly (since it's located in our cellar) and our bills haven't increased that much.

Here are some useful guides on ventilation and humidity I found useful while I was dealing with moisture in our house, so I hope it helps:

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