Summer Basement Concerns — Moisture Causes and Likely Fixes
When the summer kicks in, the last thing you want is to walk down to a puddle of water or moisture droplets in the basement. But that’s part of basement care in Raleigh, NC. And something you might experience a couple of times in your lifetime. Excess humidity in summer will instigate problems like mold growth, mustiness, and wood rot. Fixing these issues certainly costs money. What’s the way out? Keep moisture out of your basement. If you can’t, at least try to tame it. Don’t worry, we’ll show you how
Should I Worry About Basement Humidity?
Seasonal changes mean your basement can experience an upsurge in moisture during summer than any other period. This is a normal thing. So, you don’t need to sweat it out. Even so, you have to take the appropriate measures to tame the moisture before it becomes a thorn in your side.
You need to know the moisture levels in the basement before you take any action. To find this out, get a hygrometer from your local home improvement store. Even without it, you can still notice condensation on the basement walls and surfaces. These point out to high humidity levels.
Ideally, humidity levels in the basement should range from 30 to 50 percent. Anything higher means there’s a problem. Also, it’s not normal for moisture to cross the 60 percent mark and stay there for many days or weeks. Unless there’s a leaking pipe or the weather is hot and humid, there’s every reason to believe you have an underlying issue.
How Moisture Enters the Basement
When the basement gets wet, you don’t need to look far and wide for the culprits. Here they are.
Vapor diffusion: Water vapor from wet soils can diffuse through foundation cracks and go into the drier basement parts. Vapor pressure and the permeability of concrete determines the volume of water that gets in.
Structural cracks: When soil settles or hydrostatic pressure pushes on the basement, the walls can crack, paving the way for moisture to get into your basement. Masonry joints and structures might be your weakest links.
Capillary suction: This happens when the adhesion between the basement wall materials is stronger than the bond that holds water molecules. Water gets drawn up through small holes in the porous concrete wall material. When this happens, rings of dampness will form close to the basement floor.
Condensation: Warm, moist air from the outside will form water droplets when it comes into contact with the cold basement walls and floor.
Air leakage: Anytime warm air rises, it creates negative pressure, which draws moist air into your basement through cracks and crevices.
Controlling Basement Humidity in Summer
First things first. Check the basement for cracks as they may allow water inside. Keep an eye out for wall spalling and efflorescence, as they indicate water is getting into the basement. If the problem lies deep down in the foundation, a serious intervention might be required.
We know summer months in Raleigh, NC, can be oppressively hot. Some people are tempted to open their windows. Don’t do it. Keep the windows shut and stop warm, moist air from getting inside the basement.
Get the air moving around the basement to reduce stuffiness and humidity. A ventilation system will come in handy. You can either set up a mini-split air conditioning unit or connect your HVAC system to the basement. Consider combining your air conditioning with fans to cool the air and circulate it.
If humidity is already a problem, dry out the air using a basement dehumidifier. It works by cleaning and filtering the air, and it also reduces odors and potential mold growth. The best unit to invest in is an energy-efficient one that also is self-draining so there are no buckets or reservoirs to worry about emptying.
Think about your interior drainage system. It’s important for it to be properly functioning and clog-free. If your older system isn’t working as it should, invest in a sub-floor interior drainage system like BasementGutter™, a clog-free and reliable system, as a replacement. This system will collect any water that enters the basement and direct it to a sump pump so it can be pumped out of the basement and away from the foundation. It also reduces hydrostatic pressure and prevents basement flooding.
Fix any water pipe that’s leaking. Though water drops slowly, over time it can cause puddles to form on the floor. Insulate these pipes too and they won’t sweat or freeze.
Another way to tame moisture downstairs is by installing basement fans to move air around. Just like bathroom fans, these devices push moist air away and reduce moisture buildup.
Exterior waterproofing is equally important to creating a dry, healthy basement in summer. Clear your clogged gutters and fix loose or damage downspouts. Ensure your yard doesn’t support backflow. Otherwise, water will flow into the foundation cracks and end up in the basement.
Don’t let a moist and musty basement deny you the chance of enjoying the summer. Contact the experts at Tar Heel Basement Systems for a free basement waterproofing inspection and quotes today. We’ll help you uncover the issues affecting your basement and apply the best fixes!