No matter whether you use your basement as an entertainment space or storage, keeping it free from moisture is key to protecting stored items as well as cutting energy costs, since humidity makes the HVAC unit work harder and can drive up energy costs.
Dehumidifiers will eliminate unpleasant odors caused by mold and mildew while simultaneously reducing moisture that could potentially damage stored items and degrade wood support beams.
1. Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew usually form as a result of excess moisture in the home, most commonly caused by condensation when warm air meets cool basement walls.
Dehumidifiers are effective tools for relieving excessive humidity levels in your home by dissipating the excess moisture that builds up, but for best results it is important to make sure that the basement is well ventilated by using the exhaust fan when showering, spreading towels after use, and opening windows on sunny days to circulate airflow.
Mold and mildew are two types of fungi that form on porous organic surfaces exposed to too much humidity over an extended period. When this happens, mold releases spores that emit an unpleasant odor which may lead to headaches, eye irritation or difficulty breathing in some individuals.
2. Excess Humidity
Every home produces moisture – from cooking, cleaning and washing – which increases humidity levels significantly. When trapped within a house, that moisture can cause irreparable damage.
High basement humidity levels are usually caused by inadequate insulation, unfinished walls and ceilings, moisture leakage, and inadequate ventilation systems. This can result in musty odors, mold spots, wood rot, and rust issues in your space.
If your basement has high levels of humidity, there are steps you can take to lower it. Dehumidifiers can help by keeping moisture levels down while saving energy by decreasing how often your air conditioner needs to work to cool it off. Basement waterproofing also offers effective means for keeping humidity below 50 percent; as this will protect its inhabitants.
3. Water Damage
Mold and mildew aren’t the only problems created by moisture accumulation in your basement; moisture buildup can also lead to water damage that wreaks havoc with furniture, and belongings and can cost hundreds of dollars in repairs.
During a rainstorm, groundwater can quickly fill foundation cracks and flood a basement, as well as enter through window wells, foundation cracks or hydrostatic pressure.
Prevent this from happening by resealing your basement windows, maintaining constant temperatures in the space, insulating cold water pipes and using a dehumidifier. For an economical option that works just as effectively – activated charcoal can absorb moisture just as effectively – though much cheaper! It is readily available from hardware stores and grocery stores alike.
4. Structural Damage
Moisture issues in a basement can result in significant structural damage to both your home and any belongings stored within it, mold growth, rotted wood floors and walls, water damage to electrical wiring and even electrical fires.
One effective method of controlling humidity is with a dehumidifier, which operates by drawing air through its cooling coils to remove excess moisture before depositing it in a tank or drain. Another solution may be installing basement fans which work similarly to bathroom fans in forcing moist air outward from your home and away.
Basement waterproofing is an effective means of combatting moisture intrusion into a basement space, protecting against leaks and moisture-related problems while simultaneously cutting costs by lowering humidity levels, which allows HVAC units to run more efficiently.
5. Electrical Damage
Basements that serve as living or sleeping areas must remain free from moisture, just like any other part of a home. If moisture issues in a basement go unchecked, mold and mildew will quickly grow beneath carpeting and wall coverings – creating health hazards in their wake.
Moisture problems in the basement may be caused by various sources. Soil in your yard may funnel water toward your house, while clogged gutters prevent its proper flow away from it.
An interior drainage system, dehumidifier, and vapor barrier will help eliminate basement moisture issues quickly and prevent further damage to the property.