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Ways To Control Moisture In Your Basement

If there's a damp or musty smell coming from your basement, you need to step in fast to minimize damage and prevent mold and mildew from taking over your home. How you tackle humidity problems will depend on the cause, but here are the most common ways to control moisture in your basement.

Eliminate Water Seepage

Water from outside can leak into your basement. You may notice it at the wall-floor juncture, and it could be coming from cracks in the wall itself or around the foundation. The simplest way to fix this is to hire a professional to seal the cracks and place appropriate drainage pipes behind the wall. But if you're good with DIY projects, you can try to tackle it yourself.

First, don't try to repair large cracks, as these could affect the structural integrity of your home. Smaller cracks can be filled in with a special epoxy kit. Make sure the crack is dry, using a hair dryer if necessary, before filling in the cracks.

Add downspout extensions to your gutters to route water far away from the home, and apply a layer of waterproofing coating to the basement walls for further protection.

Repair Plumbing Leaks

Leaky plumbing pipes can be a particular nuisance, especially when it comes to your basement, because leaks can damage wood and drywall behind the walls before you discover the problem.

If you have a humidity problem in your basement, you can usually tell if plumbing is the source by running a few simple tests. Observe the pipes under sinks for leaks while running water. Check for spongy shower walls and leaky pipe connections. Address any issues right away by calling a contractor or plumbing professional.

Check the Dryer Vent

As your dryer runs, it vents warm, damp air outside. As a matter of fact, it pushes, on average, one gallon of water outside per load. If it's not working properly, or if the dryer vent is loose, that moisture can collect around the dryer and seep into the basement.

Look behind your dryer and make sure the vent duct is securely attached. Then check outside where the dryer vents, while it's running, and be sure you can feel it working. If you discover leaks around the vent, you can seal them with foil tape.

Ducts that are made of foil or nylon are common, but they are not recommended since they can easily trap lint, decreasing the efficiency of the dryer and causing a fire hazard. Make sure your dryer vent is made of metal.

Side Note: It's okay for the transition duct (the part that goes from the dryer to the wall) to be made of foil, but there are semi-rigid options available that offer better protection against possible humidity.

Implement Miscellaneous Moisture Control

Beyond fixing leaks, repairing cracks, and making sure your dryer isn't pushing moisture into your basement, there are some simple and cheap ways to control humidity.

Insulate pipes. If you have pipes in your basement, they can collect condensation, adding to the overall humidity as they drip water to the floor. Cover all pipes in your basement with insulating foam.

Use a dehumidifier. These appliances vary in price, and the cost is largely determined by how much moisture they remove per day. Dehumidifiers with a 30-pint capacity are fine for basements no bigger than 1,500 square feet.

Keep furniture away from walls. Furniture that rests directly against the basement wall can trap and hold moisture in place. Make sure there's ample space between the two.

Encourage air flow. Once or twice a month on dry days, open your basement door and windows and run a floor fan to promote healthy air circulation.

Run exhaust fans. When showering or bathing, make sure exhaust fans route to the outside when pulling excess moisture from the home. 

Check out websites like http://www.centralpennwaterproofing.com to learn more.