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High Humidity in Basement and How to Prevent It

No matter which way you slice it, high humidity in your basement is something that you should try to minimize as much as possible. From all the unpleasant smells that it brings to the fact that it promotes mold and fungus growth, preventing basement humidity is the way to go. Read on to discover what factors can contribute to basement humidity and how you can cut down on it as much as possible.

Reduce Humidity from Internal Sources

Plumbing leaks are one of the most common sources of humidity inside your house. Typically, the lowest floor is one of the most likely places to suffer faulty plumbing in your home. Always be on the lookout in your basement for wet spots, leaking, and other signs of plumbing problems. Another non-visual way to check for leaks is not to use your water for a few hours and check to see if the water meter indicates any water consumption.

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Consider Installing Additional Exhaust Fans

Moisture also builds up when you use amenities that produce moisture and steam. From drying wet clothes to taking a hot shower, many creature comforts of our modern world contribute to the overall humidity in our households. Unfortunately, that excess moisture often ends up in the basement.

The best way to combat this extra moisture is to install proper ventilation to direct it out of the house. That means installing a vent that discharges moisture from your dryer directly outside. Also, consider using exhaust fans in both your bathroom and kitchen so that the steam from showering and cooking doesn’t end up contributing to a moist basement.

You should also take care that your air ducts aren’t leaking moisture to different parts of your home. As ducts move cold and warm air in and out of your home, humidity can quickly build up and seep out from a duct that has even a small leak. Give your ducts a look wherever possible and try to tape over any minor holes that may be contributing to increased humidity in your home.

Humidifiers vs. Dehumidifiers

Heavy use of humidifiers can also be a significant cause of moisture which can lead to mold in the basement. A humidifier can bring a lot of comfort to a home that typically has dry air. However, they will only make your basement more humid and prone to problems that accompany high humidity. Try turning off your humidifier and lowering the temperature of the furnace during colder months to make the air less dry.

In contrast, dehumidifiers can be a huge help when it comes to taking humidity out of the air. If you struggle with a chronically humid basement, try placing a dehumidifier or two down there to try and absorb some of the moisture. Don’t forget to empty the dehumidifier’s water tray when it becomes full.

Reduce Humidity from External Sources

There are plenty of little tricks and measures that you can take to reduce moisture from internal sources. But humidity from external sources usually has a more significant effect on your basement. Whether you’re dealing with surface water, groundwater, or any home leak, external humidity sources can have a considerable impact on the overall humidity of your basement. Learn how to prevent outside moisture from getting into your home, and you’ll be well on your way towards a less humid basement.

Check Your Gutters & Catch Basin

If you want to fend off rainwater from reaching your basement, you’ll need to make sure that your gutters are functioning correctly. That means keeping them clean and checking that they allow for the proper flow of water through your house’s drainage system. Failure to keep them clean can result in water leaking down the edge of your home, seeping into the foundation, and eventually making its way into the basement.

Look for Cracks in the Foundation

If you have a hole in your foundation, it’s only a matter of time before water finds its way into your basement. While you may be able to use caulk to remedy smaller cracks on your own, the best option is usually to call in the help of a professional. Using a professional will guarantee that your foundation receives a sustainable, quality repair that will prevent more severe damage down the line.

Even if you don’t have any major cracks, it’s still possible that heavy condensation and other moisture gets in through a foundation’s walls. In this case, you should apply a waterproof coating to prevent excess moisture from getting into your basement. A small step like this can go a long way towards reducing humidity in your home.

Utilize Additional Circulation

Since basements are generally dark, cool spaces, it’s common for condensation to form when warmer outside air makes its way inside. The most effective way to prevent this is to add air vents to your basement to increase the air circulation. You can also try covering pipes and air ducts with insulation to stop the warm air from reaching them.

Insulate the Walls of Your Basement

A little bit of insulation can go a long way when it comes to minimizing humidity in your basement. By further insulating the walls of your basement, they will be a bit warmer, and it’s less likely that the outside air will form condensation on them. However, you should be sure to check for any signs of leaking or water damage before you add the extra insulation.

Inspect Your Sump Pump

The purpose of a sump pump is to gather water near your home’s foundation and pump it away from your property. If you happen to notice that your pump isn’t functioning correctly, the water near your foundation may be slowly making its way into your home from the outside. Make a habit of checking your sump system regularly so you can keep unwanted moisture out of your basement.
Taking precautions such as those outlined here can help prevent high humidity in your basement and save you from costly water damage in the future.

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Paul S

Paul has more then 20 years in basement waterproofing and plumbing projects experience. Looking for an advice from an expert plumber? Make sure to read Paul's articles about residential waterproofing and plumbing projects in Toronto.

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