Moisture problems in basements are a widespread issue. The American Society of Home Inspectors estimates that 60% of home basements in the U.S. have moisture related issues. Problems resulting from a wet basement are numerous, and while many are obvious (bad smells, unsightly staining, problems with mold or mildew), some of the biggest issues are harder to recognize.
Even more difficult is deciding how to resolve issues with basement moisture. While many turn to basement dehumidifiers, there is a better option for removing existing moisture and preventing future moisture problems.
Basement Moisture is a Bigger Problem than You Might Think
The first complaint with basement moisture problems is often that the dampness is rendering the basement space useless. No one wants to store their things where they may become ruined by mold and mildew, or build a guest room, movie theater, play space or home gym only to have the space plagued by bad smells and dampness.
However, moisture problems can be downright dangerous. Excess moisture can degrade a home’s foundation or result in other structural problems like rotting beams. Additionally, moisture problems are a health and sanitation issue. Basement moisture has an effect on indoor air quality throughout an entire home. The World Health Organization concluded that people who live in damp or moldy buildings “have up to a 75 percent greater risk of respiratory symptoms and asthma.”
Five Common Culprits of Basement Moisture
Many homeowners struggle to determine the cause of their basement moisture issues. While there are more potential causes of excessive basement moisture, here are five of the most common:
- Leaks: One of the most common causes of basement moisture is a leak in a pipe or hose somewhere in your home’s plumbing system or connected to a water using appliance. The good news is, 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 to seal the leak. Keep in mind that water heaters are a common culprit in basements.
- Cracks: Another set of common culprits are cracks in the outer layer of the basement’s protection: think windows, walls and floors. 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. Once you’ve sealed the cracks, you will need a solution for removing the excess moisture that has built up.
- Rain: 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. Keeping your gutters clean and in good shape is an important step in protecting from failure when the rains get too heavy.
- Lawn: When it rains, storm water should be running away from the house. If, instead, water is running in the direction of your house, your lawn is improperly graded. This deficiency can result in water pooling around the foundation of your house and seeping into the basement. Installing a drainage system is likely the best solution to fix improper grading.
- Everyday Activities: Regular daily activities like showering, running your dishwasher or doing laundry will emit moist air into your home. If your washing machine is located in your basement, you’ve likely noticed how much even a single load of laundry can effect the moisture content in the air.
It’s also important to note that not all of these issues can be solved with waterproofing. While waterproofing your basement is a good way to protect it from moisture coming into the house from outside, it can’t solve moisture build up from everyday indoor activities or from a leak inside the home.
Why Basement Dehumidifiers are a Bad Choice
Whether you have experienced one of the moisture causing problems above or if the excess moisture in your basement is only a result of normal daily activities, one of the biggest issues is that once moisture is in the basement, it can be really hard to get rid of it. Stagnant, damp air trapped inside the basement is a breeding ground for mold and mildew. This is why a basement dehumidifier alone can’t solve your moisture problems.
Seeking ways to remove moisture from your basement is a worthwhile venture for all homeowners. Not only does a drier basement result in a cleaner smell and a reduced risk of structural damage and mold growth, but because natural airflow carries the air from your basement upwards into the living areas in the rest of your home, getting the moist air out of your basement is an imperative for optimizing the healthfulness and quality of the air in your entire house.
Problems with basement dehumidifiers:
- High Energy Costs: Keeping the temperature in your home comfortable is important, both in winter and summer, and heating or cooling damp air takes significantly more energy. A basement dehumidifier first has to cool the air to be able to extract moisture, and then uses a fan to extract water from the air and collect it in a reservoir to be drained. It reheats the air and sends it back. The average basement dehumidifier uses 300-700 watts of energy and can drive up your electric bill.
- Annoying Upkeep: The moisture extracted from the air goes into a bucket for you to empty – frequently. This can be an annoying and time-consuming task. Unless you’re in good physical shape, it can also be difficult to walk up and down your basement steps several times a day.
- Persistent Smell: Basement dehumidifiers recirculate the same stale air rather than pushing it out of your home, so you won’t get rid of the smell. More than just smelling bad, mold can cause a number of health problems, including allergic reactions or upper respiratory infections.
Solving Basement Moisture Problems with WAVE Home Solutions
Constant ventilation is the best method for solving basement moisture problems. Ventilation improves the air quality of your entire house by expelling the humid air outside your home and replacing it with cleaner, fresher, drier air, to actively remove existing moisture and prevent future problems. Compared to a normal dehumidifier, a smart ventilation system like the WAVE product can save you over $700 a year in energy consumption alone.
The WAVE Home Solutions Moisture Control Unit functions significantly better than a typical basement dehumidifier to remove moisture, gases, and other harmful pollutants that can accumulate inside the home. In comparison to other ventilation systems on the market, WAVE’s smart system runs quietly and adjusts automatically to ensure your basement air is clean, fresh and healthy 24/7.
Contact us today for additional product information or to discuss other smart solutions for improving your home air and water quality.