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How to Fix Humid Problems in Basements

Whether you have a finished basement fit for the company and hanging out, or an unfinished space where you store boxes and do laundry, you have probably noticed that your basement has a tendency to get damp. It’s not uncommon for humidity to become a problem in a basement, especially in the summertime, but why does this happen? More to the point, is there anything you can do to prevent or fix a humid basement? In a word, yes. Here, we’ll explain exactly what is happening to cause moisture problems in your basement, why basement humidity can lead to larger issues, and how you can dry out your basement and keep it from getting damp again in the future.

Let’s start with the basics: why is your basement humid? Excess moisture in the basement is very common because basements are underground. Being beneath the ground level makes them vulnerable to moisture from a wide variety of sources, whether it’s leaky pipes, ducts that allow moist air to come in, condensation, or water seeping through the walls. Vapor diffusion lets moisture move up through the foundation and into drier areas, and structural cracks can allow water to get into the basement. Sometimes, your basement can become a victim of capillary suction, in which wet soil comes in contact with the walls of your basement, and water is drawn in through little holes in the concrete. This is particularly common if the soil around your house is composed predominantly of clay.

Why do these issues occur? There are a few different problems you may need to address in your basement.

  • Poor drainage can allow moisture into your basement. If you don’t have the right kind of drainage system, water can easily build up in your basement.
  • Sometimes, something on the exterior of your home can be a problem. Maybe your yard is graded incorrectly, so that water flows toward the home, instead of away from it. It could also be that your gutters are clogged or in disrepair, or your downspout doesn’t carry the water far enough from your home.
  • Insufficient ventilation can trap moisture in the basement. The purpose of ventilation is to carry moisture out of the house. When your basement does not have enough air flow, it quickly becomes too moist and humid.
  • Indoor appliances can raise your basement humidity. A basement laundry room can be very convenient, but it can also greatly increase the humidity in your basement air. So can a basement kitchen or bathroom, especially if the room is improperly ventilated.

How much does humidity matter in your basement? A great deal, actually. Humid basements can attract pests, and they provide a hospitable environment for mold and mildew growth. What’s more, the air quality in your basement has a major impact on the air quality in the rest of your home. Ideally, your basement humidity should stay between 30 and 50 percent. Once it hits 55 percent, you greatly increase your chances of having a mold problem.

So, what can you do to prevent your basement from becoming too humid? It depends on your situation, but the right waterproofing company can help you come up with a plan to keep your basement dry and pleasant. Here are some effective solutions commonly used to solve the problem of basement moisture.

  • Invest in a dehumidifier. This is one of the most common solutions to a humid basement, but it’s only effective when used in conjunction with strategies to prevent moisture from entering your basement. Once you’ve waterproofed the basement and gotten it dry, a dehumidifier can help keep your moisture levels in check. Most dehumidifiers shut off when the humidity level is correct, so you don’t have to worry about turning it on and off.
  • Install the right drainage system. Your basement waterproofing company can help you determine exactly what you need to keep your basement dry. An interior drain tile system, redirected to a sump pump, is one of the most effective ways to carry moisture out of your basement. You might also need a yard drain to catch water and redirect it before it can intrude into your basement.
  • Maintain your exterior areas. Seal any cracks in the foundation, to prevent moisture from seeping through. Don’t water the yard near the foundation, and make sure your yard slopes in a way that directs water away from the house. Keep your gutters clean and in good repair, and make sure your downspouts carry water at least 10 feet from the house.
  • Talk to a basement waterproofing expert. You may need further help to keep your basement dry, and that’s where it pays to have an inspection by an expert. When you have a consultation with someone who knows what to look for and how best to keep your basement dry, you will avoid wasting money on solutions that are not right for you.

If you are looking for a Maryland company with the experience and know-how to provide basement or crawlspace waterproofing, mold removal, crawlspace encapsulation, sump pump maintenance, or foundation repair, Budget Waterproofing can help. In addition to waterproofing services, we offer foundation repair that goes beyond patching cracks to find the source of the problem. We also offer installation of the EZ Breathe home ventilation system, to clean the air inside your home. At Budget Waterproofing, we’ve got more than 55 years of experience servicing both commercial and residential customers throughout Maryland. We’re proud of our craftsmanship and confident in our skills, and all of our technicians are fully licensed and insured. We also hold an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau of Maryland and serve as a member of the Maryland Multi-Housing Association. Whether you need foundation repair, basement waterproofing, a drainage system, crawl space waterproofing, or egress window installation, we’ve got you covered, with the experience and skills necessary to improve your basement and protect your property today and in the future. For more information, call 410.690.4970 or contact us through our website.