Basement Moisture: Guide To Dampness And Humidity Control

Do you have moisture on basement walls, floors, and ceilings?

In this article, we’ll be discussing how to reduce dampness and humidity from your basement, so keep reading!

Signs Of A Damp Basement

It isn’t hard to tell if your basement is damp or not. There are clear signs that will let you know that your basement has taken in too much moisture.

Below are the most common signs of a damp basement.

  • Water seeping out of basement walls
  • Condensation on basement walls and floors
  • Watermarks on the walls
  • Appearance of efflorescence
  • Mold and mildew growth
  • A musty smell from mold and mildew growth
  • Humidor damp air
  • Standing water in sections of your basement
  • Mold growth on the carpet
  • Deteriorating wood
  • Rotting columns and headers

If you notice any of these signs, then you can be sure your basement is damp.

How To Dehumidify A Basement

When water makes its way into your basement, the result will be dampness and humidity. Both of these elements can encourage mold growth, as well as an awful smell.

The ideal basement humidity level is around 30 to 50 percent. Mold growth is usually a problem at levels above 60%.

Why are basements humid? What are the signs of high humidity in a basement?

How To Remove Humidity From Basement

As if that isn’t enough, dampness can also make your basement very uncomfortable and uninhabitable. Add the appearance of efflorescence to the mix and you’ll have more than enough reason to find a quick solution.

Luckily, there are many humid basement solutions you can employ.

They are simple, all you have to do is use the tips below!

Here are the most practical basement humidity solutions.

  1. Install A Dehumidifier For Basement Humidity Control

This is probably the most common solution to humidity problems in the basement. It’s a no-brainer, as the basement gets more humidity than any other part of the home.

So, if your basement gets more humidity than you would care for, you can get a good unit that can handle an average-sized basement. This should cost you between $200 to $300, depending on the manufacturer and model.

Since dehumidifiers can help you keep your basement dry, it means it could potentially save you thousands of dollars worth of moisture damage.

This device can also help you maintain a healthier basement, as a lack of humidity means a poor growing environment for harmful mold.

  1. Ventilate The Basement Area To Get Rid Of Dampness

If you want to keep your basement free of humidity and get rid of dampness, then one of the things you must do is improve the quality of ventilation in that area.

While dehumidifiers are great, turning on the fans and keeping the basement windows open are also good approaches.

If your furnace has an air circulation option that caters to the entire house, then you’re in luck! You can use that to air out the basement as well.

For faster results, you can buy a portable space heater to dry the area out quickly. Combining this with the above-mentioned ventilation ideas will do a lot of good to your cause.

This option is one of the best ways to dehumidify a basement fast.

  1. Reseal Your Concrete

Basement moisture always has a source, and it could come from your untreated concrete walls, especially if they are old. This situation can lead to condensation, where moisture beds will begin to form on the surface of the walls and floors.

When this happens, dampness and humidity levels will increase, and unfriendly mold will start to develop.

The good news is, you can stop condensation simply by using a trusted concrete paint sealer to guard your walls and floors.

There are different variations of sealers and they even come in several colors, so you can choose the one that goes best with your basement’s color theme.

Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions written on the product package before you apply. If the sealer is used the wrong way, you will not get the desired results.

  1. Attend to Air Leaks

In most homes, the area where the foundation connects to the flooring can serve as an access point for moisture.

The seals around your basement windows can cut through the siding of your dryer exhaust, creating an entry point for moisture, especially when it rains heavily.

If your basement windows are leaking, then you can use a silicone sealer to fix it and keep moisture out. You can also use foam weather stripping to seal the leakages.

After doing this, don’t forget to ventilate the area so it dries up faster. If you have a dehumidifier, then you’d be better off, as a combination of both approaches will give you faster results.

  1. Fix Any Drainage and Grading Issues

If water keeps piling up outside your foundation, then it will be almost impossible to keep it from entering the basement. This is why you need an effective drain system to carry water to the sewer system.

Sealers are great, but they aren’t meant to hold back huge volumes of water daily. Over time they will begin to break and eventually give in.

With a good drainage system, water can flow away from your basement through the right channels instead of being lodged around your foundation and creeping into the basement.

Ensure that your downspouts are about 4 feet away from your house. This way you can be sure that the water will stay well away from your foundation.

This in turn will reduce the amount of moisture you have to deal with inside the basement.

Besides having a sound drainage system, you should also take a look at the grading of your yard. If it tilts towards your foundation, then it means water from rain or melted snow will flow in that direction.

You can get a professional landscaper to do some re-grading, and ensure that the landscape slopes away from the foundation and not towards it.

This is another great way to keep moisture out of your basement and reduce dampness.

  1. Check Other Outdoor Construction

Similar to your grading, your patios, driveways, and flower gardens can also hold moisture in sections and eventually lead it to your basement. When you notice that your basement is filled with dampness, do all the necessary checks, including around your outdoor construction.

If you notice any compromises, use a cold patch to fix up holes, cracks, and any other problem that could cause water to gather around your foundation.

Areas such as the deck and flower garden should be properly drained, and must not push water towards your foundation, and ultimately into your basement.

  1. Air Out Wet Items Outside

Having your belongings soaked due to basement leaks is really sad. However, you shouldn’t cry over spilled milk, rather you should browse through your items and see which ones can still be saved.

The ones damaged beyond repair can be totally discarded, but the ones that can still be used should be taken outside to dry. Do not make the mistake of leaving a wet property in your basement, at least if getting rid of humidity is what you plan to do.

Anything that can be taken out into the sun should be carried out. Suitcases, bags, couches, mattresses, etc.

After they have been taken out, use a mop to dry up the wet floors. You should also leave the basement windows open and turn on the fans to improve ventilation.

For larger pieces of furniture, you can get someone to help you lift them out of the basement if you can’t do it alone. Whatever you do, make sure wet furniture isn’t left inside to dry.

Above the ground and in the sun is the best way to dry wet cushions.

  1. Inspect Your Vents

In a case where your home already has a dehumidifier, but for the main living space, then loose ducts and the cracks in your vents can serve as moisture traps.

You need to attend to this fast before the moisture starts flowing over to the inner parts of your basement.

If this isn’t the case, you shouldn’t forget that the dryer’s vent equally carries warm and moist air regularly. This is why you should also inspect it for holes and cracks, as well as other sources of water.

  1. Use A Sump Pump

A sump pump does more than removing moisture, it can collect and direct larger volumes of water away from the basement.

If you haven’t already installed one, then you need to do so as soon as possible.

When water flows into the basin, the sensor can tell whether it has become excess or not. If it has, it will signal the pump and it will automatically turn on to pump the excess water away.

This is an excellent flood-prevention device that has been used to keep basements dry for a very long time. Where there is no flooding, then there will be less dampness and humidity in the basement.

Moisture In Basement: Causes, Signs, And Fixing Damp Basement

If left unchecked, then there is a 100% guarantee that your basement will experience moisture at one point or the other.

This is because the basement is located at the lowest level of your home, and water will always flow to the deepest end of any environment.

Thankfully, removing basement moisture isn’t so hard. All you need to do is identify the signs causes of moisture. Then you can proceed with taking care of the problem.

In this section, we’ll be discussing basement moisture control, so keep reading!

Is Moisture On The Basement Foundation A Bad Sign?

The answer to this question is yes. When there is moisture on the foundation, the structure will become compromised and the damage will only get worse in the long run.

One of the biggest problems you will face with moisture in your basement’s foundation is the growth of mold. As we all know, mold is bad for human health, as it can cause allergies and alleviate breathing problems.

To add to that, moisture in the basement means there is a serious water problem around your home. It could be a leaking pipe or clogged drain, both of which can direct water to settle in the foundation.

What Are The Sources Of Basement Moisture?

Basement moisture is known to come from 3 main sources. These are –

  • Rain or groundwater
  • Interior moisture sources (showers, heaters, sinks, humidifiers, leaking pipes, and HVAC system)
  • Ventilation with humid outdoor air

How To Get Rid Of Moisture In Basement

The humidity removal method you will use depends on how severe your basement humidity is.

One or two of the above-mentioned approaches might suffice, but you may need to use them all for the best possible results. This is usually the case if you’re renovating an old home that has had zero maintenance over the years.

  • How To Remove Moisture From Basement

Now that you can identify the signs and sources of basement moisture, you can follow these steps to fix the problem.

  1. Fix interior water leaks

Water leaks in your basement could come from different sources. These include the sink, shower, washing machine, toilet, dishwasher, and broken pipes.

If you identify these as the causes of your damp basement, then you can call a plumber to fix the problem. If the leaks are minor, then you can save a few Dollars and fix the leak yourself.

  1. Re-grade your land

When it rains heavily, you would expect the water to flow away into the main sewage system. That should be the case, but only if the landscape is tilted away from your home.

If it isn’t, then you can expect water to flow and settle towards your foundation, and eventually into the basement.

The solution to this is as simple as hiring a professional landscaper to re-grade the land. This is a time-consuming job and may cause you and your household some inconveniences.

However, it’ll be worth it in the end.

When the land slopes away from your home, heavy rainwater will flow away and not towards your basement.

  1. Install gutters and downspouts

If you haven’t already done this, then it would be in your best interest to install gutters and downspouts to help channel water away into the main sewer system.

We recommend a minimum of 1 downspout per every 50 ft. of the roof eave.

Don’t think about installing them yourself. Make sure you hire a professional to do the job, just so they are properly installed.

If you already have your gutters installed, then ensure that they are clean at all times. You can carry out regular inspections and check for debris such as fallen leaves and pieces of tree branches.

Clear out all obstructions from your gutters to ensure water can easily flow away, and not spill over into your foundation and basement.

  1. Seal the cracks in your foundation

The foundation is the point just above the basement. This means that if there are any cracks in it, water can trickle through and end up in your basement.

Cracks can happen as a result of hydrostatic pressure or poorly installed floor joists.

The approach to take when fixing cracks in your foundation depends on the cause or nature of the crack.

If the cracks were formed as a result of hydrostatic pressure (accumulation of water around the foundation), then repairing the exterior drainage can help fix the problem.

The cracks will still need to be repaired after the causes have been fixed. You can hire a professional contractor to do this for you.

They could use proper footing and connections like straps and anchor bolts to close the gaps.

5 Fix/install drain tiles

There are a lot of homes that do not have a sub-surface drainage system, and that is one of the major reasons they experience moisture problems in their basement.

This is mostly the case for older houses, where the basement was never intended to be used as a living space.

Things have changed in the modern-day, and many people now furnish their basements and use them as both living and workspaces.

That being said, you should install surface drain tiles to carry standing water away from your basement.

We have to mention that installing drain tiles and sump pits are tough projects which you cannot execute on your own. Some professionals are skilled in this craft, and they are the ones you should hire.

These installations involve digging up the floors and placing the drain pipes that connect to a pump, which will channel the unwanted water away.

  1. Install a sump pump

If you don’t already have a sump pump, then you need to install one immediately. This is very important if you want to keep standing water away from your basement and reduce moisture.

A sump pump is a machine that turns on automatically when the water gets to a certain level in the sump pit. It has a built-in sensor that identifies when the water levels are too high, then starts the engine to pump the water away.

You should carry out regular maintenance on your sump pump to ensure it is working perfectly at all times.

  1. Fix condensation problems

If your cool basement walls are exposed to warm and moist air, then condensation will take place.

As the walls cool down the warm air, moisture will be formed. Just think of a cold beer bottle on a hot sunny day.

Thankfully, fixing condensation problems isn’t difficult.

You can start by inspecting the exhaust of your dryer, then drain the central AC system. Make sure that they aren’t clogged, and have proper flow.

You can also use a basement exhaust fan to blow away steam after you take a hot bath, or just after you cook. The fan will ensure that the steam doesn’t settle and condense on the basement walls or floors.

Increasing airflow can also reduce the amount of condensation in your basement. You can install an AC vent to help you with this problem.

Luckily, installing air vents isn’t as tedious as installing sub-surface drain tiles. Nonetheless, get a professional to do this for you.

An extra tip is to keep your basement as free of junk as possible. When we say junk, we’re talking about any old and unwanted items lying around your basement.

Be sure to clear them out so that airflow can be improved.

  1. Insulate the basement

Another way you can reduce condensation and moisture as a whole is by insulating the Basement. The focus should be placed on the areas where condensation is most likely to build up.

The pipes, walls, and ducts should all be insulated. This will prevent warm air from making contact with any cool surfaces.

  1. Ventilate with dry outdoor air

Ventilation is one of the easiest ways to remove moisture from the basement. However, this must be done when the outdoor air is not humid. If you ventilate with humid outdoor air, it will condense when it comes into your cool basement and turn into moisture.

On dry sunny days, leave your basement windows open and turn on your fans to help get rid of any moisture.

Conclusion

You can find moisture in your basement due to several factors. These include outdoor water, leakages, and condensation.

If left unattended, excess moisture can compromise the integrity of your basement, and lead to mold growth. All these will cost you money to repair in the long run, so the problem is best handled immediately.

While you work to get rid of dampness in your basement, do not forget to fix the minor issues that caused the problem along the way. Doing this will not only solve the moisture problem today but will also prevent a reoccurrence.

Let’s not forget that dampness and condensation aren’t problems just because they deface the basement, they are also problems because they attract basement mold, which is a hazard to human health.

Keeping your basement free of humidity and dampness will ensure your property is safe from water damage and will make your living space more habitable and healthier for you and your family members.

Thankfully, there are several measures you can employ to remove moisture from your basement. We have discussed them in this article, and we hope it has been helpful.

Good luck!

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