Foundation drainage

How to Keep Your Basement Dry

Let’s talk about damp basements and what you can do to keep your basement dry. Water in your basement is not good. Not only will water ruin your belongings stored there, but it can cause structural issues. Water seeping into the basement during or after rain can destabilize your foundation over time.

Water also creates an environment where mold can grow, and mold can cause or exacerbate health issues such as asthma or allergies. Condensation can cause wood rot, disintegrate materials, and encourage mold and mildew growth.

Aside of fixing any leaking pipes, we compiled a list of ten options to show you how to keep your basement dry by stopping water intrusion and reducing condensation. This list is far from comprehensive, and in some cases, you may need to call a professional. We can help you find the right solution to help keep your basement dry and mold free.

HOW TO KEEP YOUR BASEMENT DRY: STOP WATER INTRUSION

If you have any water intrusion at all in your basement or crawl space, start there. As a rule, make sure water flows away from the house. It’s often the answer to the question, “how do you keep your basement dry?”

Look for what is called a negative slope or negative grade along the foundation walls. This is where there is a low spot in the dirt at the foundation and water tends to puddle. Fill in and build up any low spots so that the ground against the foundation slopes away from your home to keep water flowing away from your foundation.

Since gravel absorbs moisture easily and dries quickly, it can be an inexpensive and effective method of reducing negative slope and water accumulation around the foundation of the house, too.

A common reason for water puddling around the foundation is either a lack of gutters or clogged gutters. Water flowing freely off the roof or spilling over a clogged gutter causes erosion wherever it lands, which can be significant during heavy rains, eventually causing a negative slope and – you guessed it – water seeping into the basement or crawl space. Install gutters and keep them clean. Ensure downspouts and drains direct water a safe distance from the home.

If not properly constructed, basement windows can collect water and retain it. If you see water intruding around basement windows, then consider installing metal windows. Metal window wells covered with pebbles or gravel prevent water retention and seepage through window frames to the basement walls.

HOW TO KEEP YOUR BASEMENT DRY: MINIMIZE CONDENSATION

Excess moisture with nowhere to go condenses on windowpanes, doors, walls, your belongings. And eventually, you will smell that trademark sour, mildewy scent. If you are dealing with condensation, try a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier is not going to stop the excess moisture, but it will efficiently and effectively absorb and remove excess moisture from the basement. Make sure you get one appropriate for the size of your basement.

Bathrooms and showers are major contributors to a home’s humidity levels. If you see condensation on windows in the basement after someone uses the basement shower, install an exhaust fan in the basement bathroom to remove moisture and improve ventilation.

Another major contributor to condensation in the basement is the dryer when it is in the basement. A poorly vented dryer, or a clogged dryer vent, will pump hot, moist air directly into the basement. If you can, vent dryer air outdoors. And be sure to clean out the vent and pipe periodically.

Lastly, cold water pipes may develop condensation on the surface. Avoid this problem by insulating the water pipes.

Again, this advice is far from comprehensive, but these are good places to start when you are dealing with water issues in your basement. You may need to call in a waterproofing service or landscaping service to fully resolve your water intrusion problem, and we’re glad to provide a referral.

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