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According to many homeowners, the basement is usually the most humid area in the house since it has few openings and a concrete surrounding. Whether you use the basement as a work-out area or a storage area, the humid environments may enhance the growth of mildew, mold, and other bacteria.
If not taken care of, the problem can result in rotting, structural damage, and even health-related issues. However, with the help of the right equipment, you can improve your basement’s humidity by making it a moisture-free zone. Below are tips on how to reduce humidity in a basement apartment.
11 Causes of excess humidity in the basement
1. Indoor water leak
An indoor water leak is one of the major causes of excessive moisture content in a basement. They can originate from various places such as a sink, shower, dishwasher, washing machine, bad pipe, and a toilet. If the humidity content is high on the walls beneath the kitchen and bathroom, then the primary cause might be the interior water leak.
2. Defective and missing gutters and downspouts
The primary function of downspouts and gutters is to prevent rainwater from contacting your home’s foundation. If the gutter system is not functioning correctly or missing, the rain will undoubtedly come into contact with the foundation of your home. When the rainwater accumulates on your foundation, it will force its way inside the basement, increasing the moisture levels.
3. Poor grading
Mostly, groundwater or rainwater enters the basement because of unsatisfactory grading. During construction, it is advisable to ensure that the area around your foundation slants away from it and not towards it.
Unsatisfactory grading will force the water to accumulate around the foundation, making its way to the basement. This will occur if the fill dirt around the foundation area is not compacted correctly. When the dirt settles, it will change the slope and force water to flow away from the foundation and not towards it.
4. Cracks in the foundation
Water will find its way to the basement if your foundation has cracks. It is good to note that the water can sometimes be the leading cause of the cracks. Thus, contractors must ensure that the floor joists are correctly connected to prevent the wall movement, resulting in cracks.
5. Missing or wretched sump pit and drain tile
Many homes across the united states have no subsurface drainage system since most basements were not meant for habitable use. However, even modern homes experience challenges with their drainage system, resulting to excess moisture content in the basement. The challenges include a broken sump pump, broken connection, and clogged pipe.
Basement condensation happens when moist, warm air contacts your cold basement floor and walls. However, moisture content coming from condensation does not pose much threat compared to leaks and drainage problems. You can quickly identify the problem using a ThermoPro indoor hygrometer and thermometer; thus, you will end up using less capital before the problem intensifies.
7. The signs of a moist basement
It is good to note that even newly built basements can still face moisture and air quality problems. Below are a few signs to identify whether your basement has excess moisture content.
8. Dry rot
Dry rot is typically found on wood, wall, and ceiling surfaces and looks like a brownish-black fungus growth. When it occurs on these surfaces, it can cause significant damage, resulting from decaying. This can result in health-related issues if not taken care of at the early stages.
During the humid season, it’s good to look for sweating and dampness around your basement walls. After some time, the dump and sweating spots will change the color of the concrete walls to dark gray color, indicating poor drainage in the foundation. If you identify such changes, you must ensure that you hire an expert before it escalates to a severe condition.
10. Musty odor
The presence of a musty odor in garages, basements, and crawl space can be a sign of mildew and mold. However, it is good to note that, at times, the symptoms of molds and wetness are not usually visible, but the presence of musty odor is a clear warning of dampness.
11. Surface spalling
Salt deposits emerging from rainwater can make surfaces peel, flake away, or pop-off when they get into contact with brick, concrete, or stone. The process is known as spalling, and it happens when moisture content trapped within the surface tries to escape during the summer season.
7 Tips on how to reduce humidity in the basement
If your basement has excess moisture, you must act fast before it turns into a difficult situation. The earlier you identify the problem and fix it, the cheaper it will be. Furthermore, failure to resolve the issue can put your family in the risk of health-related conditions such as cold.
1. Prevent condensation on walls
The best and effective way to avoid condensation on the walls is to inspect your basement for water leaks and sources. Leaky windows and stagnant waters are some of the critical reasons for the humid basement. Poorly sealed windows and holes in walls can leave room for moist air to enter your basement.
To solve the excess moisture problem effectively, you can install a dehumidifier to help control the basement’s humidity levels. However, it is good to note that a humidifier’s efficiency will be canceled if you do not cover the holes in the walls.
2. Install a sump pump
Installing a sump pump helps reduce the level of humidity present in the basement. The sump pump helps redirect the water more than 20 meters away from your home’s foundation.
However, for the sump pump to provide efficient results, you have to tuckpoint the interior and exterior walls. This is by removing the depreciated mortal and replacing it with a new one.
3. Install a floor drain
Waterproofing the interior walls by using a paint sealer does not help reduce the humidity levels that much. However, insulating the basement walls and installing a floor drain will help prevent water from leaking to the basement, reducing the humidity.
4. Use ventilation fans
To reduce the basement’s humidity levels, make sure that you install ventilation fans in the kitchen and bathrooms to control moisture. If your home has an HVAC system, ensure that it undergoes regular inspection maintenance to ensure it is working effectively.
5. Redirect the water
This might be a simple task, but many people neglect to do these simple tasks. To redirect the flow of water, you can clean and rejoin the disconnected gutter system to ensure a steady stream of rainwater. Redesign the landscaping to ensure that water flows away from the foundation and and not towards the foundation.
6. Use plants
Although it’s advisable to remove plants when you have excess moisture in the basement, some plants can help eradicate the air’s humidity. Plants such as the peace Lily uses its leaves to eliminate moisture from the air and is perfect for basement use since it requires little sunlight to thrive.
7. Repair leaks around the house
Leaks and plumbing problems are one of the most common sources of excess humidity levels. Thus, it’s good to inspect for leaky fixtures & pipes. You can opt to fix small jobs such as changing a washer and tightening loose joints yourself if you have the right tools. However, for more significant tasks such as plumbing maintenance, it is advisable to ask for professional help.
How to monitor basement humidity level remotely
The best way you can monitor your basement’s humidity is by having a small weather station in your basement. This is by equipping your home with a ThermoPro indoor hygrometer and thermometer. Through this equipment, you can quickly and effectively monitor the humidity level that can cause great havoc to your home and family if not checked.
A ThermoPro indoor hygrometer and thermometer help measure the level of moisture present in the air. Understanding the humidity level can enable you to take essential measures to prevent the growth mold in your basement.
Never store photographs, valuables, or paper documents in a wet basement. When you see signs of a damp or wet basement, it is advisable to immediately call for help, to prevent the occurrence of future problems. Failure to solve the issue early can cause structural damage to your home and put your family at health risks.
Therefore, it is in your best interest to equip your home with a ThermoPro indoor hygrometer and thermometer. This machine will help measure the level of moisture present in the air accurately and effectively.