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5 Evil Culprits of Basement Moisture (And How to Fix It)

People use their basements for many things. Perhaps yours is a storage space for old furniture and clothes. Or maybe you’ve turned it into a guest bedroom or a bedroom for your kids. Maybe it’s a home gym, or perhaps you’ve built it into your dream man cave or woman cave. Regardless of how you make use of your basement space, one thing is for sure: moisture is not conducive to any of it.

Basement moisture is a major and widespread problem for more reasons than just limiting the basement’s use: It’s a health and sanitation issue due to its effect on indoor air quality and its tendency to lead to severe mold and mildew. In fact, the World Health Organization has concluded that people who live in damp or moldy buildings “have up to a 75 percent greater risk of respiratory symptoms and asthma.” Moisture also hurts the value of your home by degrading its foundation. Perhaps worst of all, many homeowners don’t know what causes basement moisture and how to prevent it. Fortunately, we have a list of five of the most common causes and some recommendations for preventing and fixing the moisture that’s damaging your basement.

5 culprits of basement moisture

1. Leaky Pipes or Hoses

One of the most common causes of basement moisture is a leak in a pipe or hose somewhere in your home’s plumbing system. The good news is that, as long as your basement isn’t completely flooded, you should be able to follow the trail of water back to the source and thus quickly identify that source. Keep in mind that water heaters are a common culprit in basements. You can then take appropriate corrective action to seal the leak. As a preventive measure, ensure you regularly check the pipes and hoses to make sure they’re not cracked, and the washers to make sure they haven’t come loose.

2. Cracks in Windows, Walls, Foundations or Floors

Another set of common culprits are cracks in the outer layer of the basement’s protection: its windows, walls and floors. Again, the source of the problem will be relatively easy to identify, especially when it rains. Fixing a major crack, especially in the home’s foundation, is not a do-it-yourself project and will likely require professional assistance. Smaller cracks, though, can be easily repaired with an epoxy or cement sealant.

3. Heavy Rains

Depending on the time of year and the climate, heavy rain can also be a cause of basement moisture. Well-built homes are equipped to keep the basement dry even in heavy rains, with the house’s gutter system and downspouts the most important elements of its defense. However, many homeowners fail to properly maintain these tools and they therefore fail when the rains get too heavy.

To keep this from happening to you, make sure you clean your gutters regularly: four times a year if you have many trees near your house or twice a year if you have fewer trees. You also need to ensure your downspouts are pointed away from your home; if they’re pointed towards it, water is likely to pool around the foundation and can easily seep from there into the basement.

4. Improper Grading of the Property’s Lawn

This is another pretty straightforward problem to diagnose. When you look at your lawn, water should be running away from the house itself. If it’s instead running towards your house, your lawn is improperly graded and this deficiency can again result in water pooling around the foundation of your house and seeping into the basement. Installing a drainage system is likely the best solution.

5. Failure to Get Rid of Existing Moisture

Say you’ve either inspected and determined that none of the above four problems exist, or you’ve remedied any issues that may have existed, but you still notice moisture in your basement. The most likely remaining issue is that your house isn’t removing existing moisture as efficiently as it should.

The WAVE Home Solutions Moisture Control Unit is better than a typical basement dehumidifier. It is one of the best solutions to this problem of poor basement and crawl space ventilation. This highly efficient moisture control unit gets rid of humid air and replaces it with clean, dry air, improving the climate and feel of your entire house. Compared to a normal dehumidifier, the WAVE product can save you over $700 a year in energy consumption alone. It also covers much more space than a typical dehumidifier, which is a critical trait if you have a large basement space that needs moisture removal help. WAVE products’ quiet, efficient functioning contrasts sharply with the noise and heat that emanate from most dehumidifiers.

If you notice that excessive moisture in your basement persists, you may want to consider a WAVE moisture control unit to keep your home comfortable and sanitary for you and your family. Download our “Ultimate Guide to Basement Moisture Control” to find out more, and contact WAVE to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced professionals today.
Ultimate Guide to Basement Moisture

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Comments

  1. Does all of this hold true if I spent $5,000 having my basement waterproofed?

    • Hi Richard,

      Waterproofing your basement is a great way to prevent moisture infiltration from the outside. And if done properly, then 4 out of the 5 culprits should be taken care of. However, everyday indoor activities can create moisture buildup, plus stagnant air can contribute to poor indoor air quality. That is why our WAVE Moisture Control & Ventilation unit is the prefect complement to the work you’ve already done. It will expel moisture, gases, and other harmful pollutants that can accumulate inside the home due to normal everyday activities, while providing the necessary, constant ventilation to make sure your basement air is clean, fresh and healthy 24/7. Please give us a call to discuss further and thank you for your question.

      WAVE Home Solutions

  2. I didn’t realize that so many things could cause basement moisture. I can definitely see why a professional would need to fix the foundation cracks. How can you tell that the foundation has any cracks in it? I have no idea if mine does or not.

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