TIPS FOR FIGHTING BASEMENT HUMIDITY DURING SUMMER
Doesn’t it feel like we’ve completely skipped spring here in Maryland? The hot summer weather hit us in the middle of April, bringing the warmth we so craved, as well as humidity we’ve been dreading.
At Budget Waterproofing, we know that one of the places that get affected by humidity the most is your basement. While the rest of your home just feels stuffy, the basement can become a breeding ground for mold when the humidity is too high.
We’ve put together some information and tips about the basement humidity and how to fight it during the hot summer (and now spring) months.
Step 1: Measure Humidity
First, you need to know what you are dealing with. How humid is it in your basement? To find this out, you will need a humidity reader (hygrometer) that you can purchase from a home improvement store or online. But even without it, if you notice condensation on your basement walls and other surfaces, the humidity is likely too high.
What’s a healthy basement humidity level?
A healthy humidity level is achieved when you feel comfortable in a room, there is no condensation on the surfaces, no evident mold growth or rot. Your optimal basement humidity level during summer will depend on many factors, such as where you live, the age of the building, type of basement insulation, etc. For the most part, humidity level between 40% and 60% should be ideal for your Maryland basement.
Of course, humidity is going to vary depending on the weather, so you might want to measure it several times to determine your average.
Step 2: Control Humidity
Once you know by how much you need to decrease humidity, it’s time to take some actions. But before you start lowering humidity, it’s important to understand why it’s humid in your basement. Humidity is caused by evaporation of water into the air. If there are no apparent leaks or puddles of water in your basement, here are some of the common reasons why your basement is humid:
- Because of the wet foundation walls. When the soil around your basement gets oversaturated with water, the water will start making its way into the basement through the porous concrete walls.
- Because you have a dryer or other appliance venting inside your basement.
- Because there is water underneath your foundation.
- Because humid air from the outside has access to your basement.
So if you don’t have any apparent leaks, here is how you can control humidity in your basement:
Get a dehumidifier. Depending on the size of your basement and the extent of the humidity problem, you might need a few of these. Get one first and see how well it performs. If it can get humidity levels down to 50% and even lower – you should be all set. Nowadays, you can choose from a variety of dehumidifier options – from portable models to large-capacity commercial dehumidifiers.
Keep the windows shut. If you think about it, when you open basement doors and windows on a hot, humid day, all you are doing is letting more humid air in. This is contrary to what you are trying to achieve.
Consider a ventilation system. Getting the air moving will definitely help with humidity and stuffiness. Your options include connecting your basement to the central HVAC system, setting up a separate mini-split A/C unit or improvising with a few fans here and there.
Insulate. Prevent warmer outside air and water vapor from getting into your basement through cracks and gaps around vents and pipes. You could also insulate pipes: cold water ones to prevent from “sweating” in summer and hot water ones – from freezing in winter.