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Posted June 3, 2015 by HomeownerExpert in Home Improvement
 
 

Basement Moisture – Problems and Solutions



Basement moisture is a common problem with a variety of potential causes. Wet basements are typically the result of high humidity levels or actual water leaks. Ether one can lead to mold and mildew, rot, paint failure and structural damage; and an important first step is to determine where the water in your basement is coming from.

Diagnosing the Problem

Where does the problem occur? Basement moisture in a small or localized area (such as a corner, section of ceiling or underneath a bathroom) is often caused by a leak. Moisture issues over a larger area are more likely the result of humidity. Water can also leak in through foundations due to structural damage, severe rain or poor landscaping.

Stopping Water Leaks

  • If a leak is the source of the problem, your first step should be to have the leak fixed. Leaky pipes and fixtures are usually fairly easy to fix, though serious plumbing issues may require professional attention.
  • If you see standing water in your basement after it rains, it’s probably due to a leak in your foundation. You can generally fix these leaks by cleaning your gutters, directing the downspouts away from your foundation and making sure your lawn slopes downward away from the house.
  • If you have a sump pump, be sure to keep it in working order.

Reducing Humidity

  • Use ventilation fans in your bathroom and kitchen to keep moisture in check. Make sure the fans are vented directly outside.
  • Your clothes dryer should also be vented outside. Inspect the vent duct to make sure it is attached securely, and check it for air leaks. It’s also a good idea to have it cleaned annually.
  • Contact a contractor to inspect your heating and cooling equipment and make sure it is operating properly. Your system also needs to be sized correctly for the air flow; otherwise, it will not remove humidity effectively.
  • If your basement has a dirt floor, cover it with plastic to reduce moisture that enters through the soil.
  • Use a dehumidifier in your basement during the humid months to lower humidity and reduce condensation.