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AM Wall Anchor & Water Proofing Blog Article:

Tips to Avoid Basement Humidity This Summer

Two white dehumidifiers on the wood floor of a basement

Temperatures are rising, and that means your basement humidity levels could be on the way up as well. Now is the time to install your damp basement solutions to prevent moisture from turning your home’s foundation, its structures, and any property you have in it into a sodden, soggy mess. As the Greater Pittsburgh area’s basement waterproofing pros, we see far too many homeowners struggling to control runaway basement moisture levels every year. Proactive basement care now will help ensure you have the passive and active moisture control measures in place to protect your property and keep its basement dry through the long summer months. 

The Dangers of High Basement Humidity

Your basement humidity level should sit between 30% and 50%. These levels leave the air in your basement comfortable but not high enough to increase the risk of these moisture-related hazards:

mold and mildew on a wall of a residential basement
  • Mold and Mildew – Mold and mildew love high humidity, and they’ll grow anywhere they have enough moisture and food to grow and reproduce. Their spores spread easily, and while all can be dangerous to natural materials like fabric, paper, and the wood support structures of your home, some pose health risks to humans and pets that could lead to emergency room visits and skyrocketing doctor’s bills.
  • Water Accumulation – When the air holds too much moisture, condensation can occur, leading to water accumulation on any cooler surface. This water can accumulate, soaking areas of your basement or its contents and endangering appliances.
  • Rotting – Rot is decay caused by bacteria and fungi in or on biological materials like fabric, wood, or paper. It can leave structural supports, furniture, and important papers ready to crumble at the lightest touch.
  • Personal Property Damage – Whether you use your basement as a utility room, storage space, or bonus living area, you’ve likely got personal property or appliances in your foundation space. Replacing these items when damaged can be expensive and, in some cases, impossible.
  • Pest Infestation – Rodents, snakes, and bugs are all looking for damp areas with plentiful food and water where they can hide, hunt, and mate. A humid basement offers plenty of opportunities as the high moisture levels create more and more food and shelter for creeding, crawling, and unwanted guests.

Sources of HIgh Basement Humidity

Solutions for a damp basement become more important in the summer because the hotter temperatures outside combine with year-round basement humidity factors to make moisture and water accumulation more likely without the proper basement care.

water leaking from a copper pipe in a home
  • Internal Leaks – Pipes running through your basement can spring leaks, and it doesn’t take a very big one before water starts to rise. From cold and hot water pipes to drain pipes from upstairs fixtures and appliances and pipes running to external spigots, there are plenty of opportunities for leaks in the basement or the floors above (remember, water always finds a way down) to leave you with a wet basement.
  • Wall Cracks, Floor Cracks, and Other Seepage – Moisture in the soil around your home can force its way through your walls and floor if it becomes oversaturated. Even tiny wall and floor cracks you can barely see may allow enough space for water to force its way through, widening the cracks further. In addition, the porous nature of concrete allows for capillary suction, where the cooler basement walls draw moisture out of the soil through minuscule pores in the concrete and into your basement interior.
  • Leaking Seals, Doors, and Windows – Many cellars have windows and doors built in, but when was the last time you checked the seal around these portals? Larger gaps can let in moisture directly, but even small gaps can let in arm outside air, which leads to…
  • Vapor Diffusion – Cooler air is denser than warmer air, so warm air is introduced to your cool basement from the outside, either through leaking seals or cracks, or children slow to close a door and begin to compress. As it becomes denser, its relative humidity begins to rise–after all, the same amount of moisture is in the air, but it’s now filling a smaller volume. Higher relative humidity makes it easier for water to condense out on cooler surfaces, like basement walls, electronics, or appliances.

Tips to Manage Your Basement Humidity Levels

  • Seal Your Basement – Make sure all wall and floor cracks are sealed. You should also check the seals around any windows and doors and the wall around any pipes coming into the basement from the outside. Fill gaps, repair damage, and ensure drafts are a thing of the past.
  • Check for Leaking Pipes – Small leaks may just mean a fixture needs to be tightened or an O-ring replaced. Larger or more involved plumbing issues may need the help of a professional to ensure your pipes aren’t leading to higher basement humidity. You can also insulate your pipes to keep the temperature differential between hot water and cold water lines running close together from causing localized condensation.
  • Install a Dehumidifier – These handy devices pull water out of the air, storing it in a receptacle that can be emptied periodically. Just set your dehumidifier for the desired basement humidity range and it will handle the rest.
  • Create Positive Air Flow – Use fans to direct the flow of air around your basement, aiding the dehumidifier in managing the air’s moisture content. This can also create slightly higher air pressure in your enclosed basement, which helps keep warmer air from rushing down anytime someone opens the basement door.
  • Talk to a Professional About Your Basement Waterproofing – If you’re having trouble keeping basement humidity in check, call an experienced foundation waterproofing expert as soon as possible. They can inspect your property, identify risk factors you may have missed, and tailor a basement waterproofing plan to help cover any gaps in your current setup.

Schedule Your No-Obligation Inspection

As Western Pennsylvania’s foundation experts, we’ve seen first-hand the havoc high basement humidity can cause over time. There’s no cost or obligation to make an appointment for a member of our team to come inspect your basement, assess any damage or risk factors, and help you find the right solutions for your damp basement and budget. It’s a smart investment that protects your home’s value and integrity.
Get started today. Call to make an appointment with a pro from A.M. Wall Anchor and Waterproofing to keep your basement dry.

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