During summer, basements are more likely to become damp. Air in the basement can get musty, carpets can develop stains and wood may decay or rot. Moisture droplets may form on the floor and walls, which can also cause mold streaks to appear in the space. Basement moisture causes can include high humidity levels, plumbing leaks, or water seepage through the foundation walls.
In addition to causing a mess, moisture can be a major health concern for the people living in your home, especially those with respiratory conditions like asthma or allergies. In fact, a study conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science shows that the risk of developing such diseases increases by 67% when a basement is humid.
Aside from the fact that humidity can make your skin and hair itchy, it can also be a breeding ground for dust mites and other allergens. If you have someone in your family who suffers from asthma or allergies, you need to keep your humidity levels below 50 per cent.
Another problem that can occur in a moist basement is mold growth and mildew. This fungus is easily breathed in by anyone in the house and can result in serious health concerns for those who are susceptible to it. It can lead to respiratory infections, sneezing, itchy eyes or nose and wheezing as well as a weakened immune system.
To combat the problem, you can install a dehumidifier in your basement to help control the amount of moisture in the air. But before doing so, you should make sure that the moisture in your basement is not coming from a leak.
One of the easiest ways to determine if your basement is actually leaking is to tape a piece of plastic on your foundation wall and leave it there for a few days. If you notice that the plastic collects moisture on it, then you have water wicking through the wall from outside.
Leaking pipes: This is a common cause of moisture in basements, especially during the summer when the temperature inside the house is much higher than outdoors. If you see any signs of leakage, such as water in your sink or shower, it is probably time to call a plumber.
Underground condensation: This is a common issue with basements that are not adequately insulated. When air from upper rooms mixes with the cool, damp air in your basement, it condenses on the wall and creates a perfect environment for mold to grow.
Various causes of this type of moisture in your basement include damaged drains, French drains and rain gutters that channel water into your home. In some cases, broken pipes and wall cracks can allow water to enter your basement as well.
Dryer vents: Sometimes the vent pipe that takes the moist air from your dryer outside can be disconnected or damaged, causing the wet air to escape back into your home. Oftentimes, the pipe can be fixed to prevent this from happening again.
Plants: Some plants can increase the humidity in your basement, while others can help remove it. For example, reed palms can take the moisture out of the air and help improve air quality in your basement.
Finishing your basement can be a great way to expand your living space, but it is important to be aware of potential moisture problems. Kitchener-Waterloo basement finishing has become a popular trend for many homeowners who want to maximize the use of their living space. By understanding the causes and solutions for basement moisture, you can make informed decisions about what steps to take to protect your home and family from the dangers of humidity.