A client with a bowling alley in his finished basement complained of a musty smell when ever the bowling alley was turned on.
Investigation: The home is a two year old mansion style house with very sophisticated HVAC equipment and controls. The musty odor occurred only when the bowling alley ball return system was on and could only be smelled when standing on the alley. Removing the ball gutter allowed access to underneath the alley where puddles of water were found and mold growing on residual sawdust from construction. Review of construction plans revealed an error in construction whereby the backyard patio adjacent to the bowling alley portion of the foundation was built higher than the top of the foundation. This allowed wind driven rain to infiltrate over the top of the foundation and drain down the wall and under the bowling alley.
Recommendations:Remove the bottom portion of siding where the driven rain entered over the foundation and provide an effective barrier to the entering water. Remove the puddled water and moldy sawdust under the alley and clean all affected wood framing.
Results: All recommendations were followed. The water intrusion problem was eliminated and any existing mold was removed. There have been no more odor or mold problems.