Some reasons a basement may smell musty include moisture seeping into cracks, mold, high humidity, condensation and mildew, notes Nusite Waterproofing. Some of the causes of the musty smell can have health implications as well, especially for those who are allergic or sensitive to mold and mildew.
Dampness is related to several causes of basement smells and can happen when pipes leak or condensation causes weeping walls. Some ways to handle this problem are to patch up cracks on the walls and insulate the pipes, mentions Nusite Waterproofing.
If the problem is humidity, then a dehumidifier can help. When mold or mildew is causing the smell, the homeowner can try throwing out old items that appear to have mold or mildew on them, or he can contact a professional for assistance, states Care2.