Maintaining a reasonable level of moisture is one of the best ways to keep your basement functional and structurally sound. Unfortunately, the below-ground nature of basements makes humidity difficult to control. In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons why controlling moisture is so important and point out a few signs that you may be failing to keep your basement dry enough.
Dangers of Moisture in Your Basement
Every homeowner should take measures to keep their basements dry. If you fail to do so, you’ll likely find yourself dealing with one of the negative outcomes of excessive basement moisture described in the sections below.
Damage to Stored Belongings
Although a basement is the perfect place to store some of your belongings, doing so comes with a risk. Standing water, condensation, and high levels of humidity can all cause water damage to any sensitive items you store downstairs. When left unchecked, this damage can spread and become quite costly in some cases.
Growth of Mold and Mildew
As the moisture and humidity levels in your basement grow, so does the risk of mold and mildew. Mold and mildew are not only filthy, but they also pose a threat to your health–especially if you have asthma. Eventually, spreading mold can even begin to affect the structural integrity of the wood that makes up your flooring structure.
Rot and Rust
Most metal and any wooden components in your basement will not fare well when moisture levels are high. The presence of moisture promotes rot and rust, both of which threaten the quality and durability of these materials.
Ruined Flooring and Furniture
Unsurprisingly, a lack of dryness in your basement can also cause damage to any flooring, carpeting, or furniture in your basement. This is especially true when you have standing water in your basement, which typically causes hardwood flooring to buckle and rot while also saturating carpets, making them a breeding ground for foul scents and bacteria.
Signs That There Is Too Much Moisture in Your Basement
Now that you know some of the dangers of not keeping your basement dry, let’s discuss a few of the signs that there is too much moisture in your basement. If you notice any of the indicators below, it is likely time for you to take steps to make your basement dryer.
- Condensation: Condensation can appear on walls, ceilings, and other surfaces in your basement. When this happens, it is a sure sign that the relative humidity is far too high.
- Humidity: Having a way to measure relative humidity is one of the most precise ways to ensure your basement is dry enough. A range of about 45 to 55% is generally an acceptable level.
- Standing water: At no point should there ever be standing water in your basement. If this happens, it is a sure sign of a serious issue that you should have resolved immediately.
- Mold and mildew: As moisture builds, mold and mildew can spread more readily. Unfortunately, mold and mildew are a significant health risk that should be treated as soon as possible.
- Unpleasant scents: Another key indicator of excessive moisture is foul odors that arise from your basement. Unpleasant smells can result from mildew, rot, and other unwanted water-related problems.
- Having to empty your dehumidifier constantly– If you have a dehumidifier that you have to empty constantly, this is a tale-tale sign that there is likely more moisture in the air than there should be.
Since basements are underground, they are naturally more susceptible to high levels of humidity–especially during the summer months. If you notice any of the signs in the list above, you’ll need to intervene quickly to minimize damage to your foundation and your belongings.
How to Keep Your Basement Dry
While there are many dangers associated with having a moist basement, the good news is that there are several effective ways to keep this area of your home dry. Below are a few of the most effective ones.
Keep Up with Repairs
Large cracks in your foundation wall can allow water to seep through from the outside. Noticing foundation damage as soon as it appears and keeping up with regular repairs will make it far less likely that foundation damage will lead to water in your basement.
Look Into Waterproofing
One of the surest ways to keep a basement dry is to prevent water from entering in the first place. A comprehensive basement waterproofing service will provide your basement with a complete seal from outside moisture.
Rely on Dehumidification
Another excellent tool for maintaining basement dryness is a dehumidifier. Whether you have had moisture issues in the past or not, dehumidification will help you monitor and control the relative humidity in your basement.
Install a Drainage System
A basement drainage system is excellent for conveying water out and away from your home. Installing a drainage system in advance will make your home better capable of dealing with excessive amounts of water if (and when) it arrives.
Need Help Keeping Your Basement Dry?
There is no getting around the fact that keeping a basement dry is a top priority for any homeowner. Failing to do so invites far too many problems–including mold, water damage, and much more.
Fortunately, there are ways to both prevent and fix basement water issues. One of the best measures you can take is to develop a relationship with a team of foundation professionals that you can trust.
At HydroHelp911, we service the Charlotte, NC, area with waterproofing and structural foundation repairs. We’d be happy to help assess the source of any water in your basement and help you eliminate it! Contact us today to learn more about how we can keep your basement dry.