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Why Does My Crawl Space Smell Like Cat Urine?

Why Does My Crawl Space Smell Like Cat Urine?

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A smelly crawl space can be very frustrating, especially if it smells like cat urine. The worst part is that the foul odor might permeate through the upper floor of your building. You surely wouldn’t want that to happen.

Now, you’re probably wondering, “Why does my crawl space smell like cat urine? What should I do to get rid of the smell?”

Don’t fret; we’re here to help!

In this article, we shed light on the reason why your crawl space smells and what you should do to get rid of the smell, so stick around.

Why Does My Crawl Space Smell?

Unusual smells that are primarily unpleasant, such as the smell of cat urine, may emanate from your crawl space from time to time. And given the nature of the place, this is not surprising.

Crawl spaces are typically dark, damp, and dirty, with poor air circulation. Such an environment allows mold and bacteria to thrive.

Your crawl space also attracts rodents and pests that add up to the existing problem. Talk about the disgusting smell that oozes from droppings and decaying animal carcasses!

It’s also worth noting that mold can cause wooden interiors to decay and give off a bad odor. In fact, the presence of mold in your home is a major health risk, especially once inhaled, so keep an eye out, especially if you have family members with respiratory problems.

The materials or trash that you’re dumping in your crawl space may cause a smell problem too. If left untreated, the odor may affect the air quality in your space, which may impact the health of people in your home.

What Is the Reason Behind the Car Urine Smell?

So, you notice a strong cat pee smell coming from your crawl space but don’t know whether an unhygienic feline is the culprit or something else.

Most of the time, our little furry friends aren’t to blame!

If your crawl space is sitting on dirt, the possibility of a pungent cat urine smell is high because of organic soil components that decay. This decomposition process always leaves behind foul odors.

Also, your crawl place will most likely start to smell after encapsulation, and the reason is the same.

You may be wondering if the materials used for encapsulation may have deteriorated and are causing the smell; they’re not!

When encapsulating your crawl space, a vapor barrier is installed to seal the place and prevent moisture buildup. This means that the moisture due to evaporation from the soil cannot fully permeate the crawl space.

As a result, the moisture buildup from the soil underneath the space increases, and in return, the breakdown of organic materials accelerates.

During the decomposition process, organic materials coming from dead plants or animals present in the soil are degraded further into various elements, especially ammonia.

Ammonia is also present in pee and is responsible for its foul odor. This is the main reason why even without actual animal urine in your crawl space, the area still smells foul, especially after encapsulation.

Ammonia also influences the pH level of the soil. Decreased pH means there are increased concentrations of ammonia.

How to Get Rid of Cat Urine Smell in Your Crawl Space

The ideal and most effective way to get rid of the terrible ammonia-like or cat urine odor from your crawl space is by using an exhaust fan.

An exhaust fan functions to suck the foul-smelling air from inside your space and expel it outdoors. In exchange, good quality air from outside is pulled back into your crawl space.

Tips to Prevent Crawl Space Odors

The exhaust fan may be effective in getting rid of the cat urine odor, but this doesn’t provide a long-term solution.

Prevention is better than cure in this case, so here are some tips that can help you prevent your crawl space from smelling bad.

1 – Check the pH of Your Soil

If you have a soil pH meter, it’s best that you constantly inspect the pH level of your soil. This is to track the possibility of increased ammonia concentrations that may later result in unwanted smells in your crawl space.

A pH close to 7 and above is a good indicator that ammonia levels in the soil are low.

2 – Clean Your Crawl Space

While the soil condition is the major reason for the presence of cat urine odors, cleaning out your space will get rid of vermin, insects, and dirt build-up that may further aggravate the bad odor.

3 – Invest in Good Quality Encapsulation

You may want to opt for an encapsulation package with a feature that seals out gas, as typical encapsulations only include moisture barriers.

Final Thoughts

A crawl space that smells like cat urine is a common issue that homeowners face, regardless if they have encapsulated their crawl space or not.

The fastest solution to get rid of the foul odor in your crawl space is by installing an exhaust fan that will exchange foul air with fresh air from outside.

In order to prevent the disgusting cat urine odor in your crawl space, you must do the following:

  • Check the pH of your soil
  • Clean your space regularly
  • Have a qualified expert encapsulate your space

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