Humidity refers to the amount of invisible gaseous water state collected in the air. It indicates the likelihood of precipitation, dew or fog (Wikipedia, 2015). It’s important to reduce basement humidity.
Relative humidity (RH) measures the level of humidity. It reveals the amount of moisture in relation to the maximum amount the air can hold at a certain temperature.
The RH reaches 100% when the air at a given temperature contains all the water vapor it can hold. If it only contains half the water vapor, RH clocks at 50%. Moisture begins to condense if the RH is greater 100%.
Acceptable humidity levels vary from season to season. In New York City, the recommended indoor RH during summer and winter is between 30 to 60%. Yet, it’s proven that an area with constant 60% or above RH will yield mold and mildew growth (Source: NYC Health and Mental Hygiene).
A room with too much level of humidity produces condensation in windows, musty smells, wet stains on walls and moldy basement. Family members also experience allergic reactions such as nasal irritation, asthma and rhinitis.
Why Basement Becomes Humid
The basement is the most sensitive part of the house that immediately becomes humid during extreme temperatures. Moisture enters the area through the concrete walls and floors even when it looks dry.
The concrete becomes weak the moment it’s filled with moisture. Then, efflorescence that looks like a white powdery substance starts to appear.
The gaseous water state inevitably moves upwards until it reaches your living area, bath rooms, kitchen and attic (Basement-Repair, 2014). This air movement throughout the house is called stack effect.
Based on a study released by University of Minnesota in April 2014, there are three sources of moisture: the rain or groundwater, indoor areas (bathrooms, unvented clothes dryers, kitchen) and exterior cooler surfaces (windows).
A humid basement is a threat. It’s a threat to your physical comfort, finances and health.
As the humid air circulates around the house, you’ll feel uncomfortable. It feels like you don’t want to stay inside the house because of musty smell, which won’t go away even if you mop the living room floor for multiple times.
Too much humidity results to higher utility bills. The ventilation system can no longer protect the area from the harmful effects of humidity. If left unnoticed for a long period of time, a malfunction ventilation system forces you to pay expensive electric bills every month.
Humid basement results to growth of mold, mildew, dust mites, rot and harmful insects. House mold is an increasing problem in homes across the United States, Canada and United Kingdom. Molds and rot are inevitable especially when you have a wood, carpet, drywall and paint.
Too much house mold also brings respiratory problems to you and your family. Studies show a home with high levels of mold holds thousands of mold spores in a single cubic meter of air.
The small amount is even enough for you to experience allergic reactions such as headache, stuffy nose and nasal irritation.
According to ICS Cleaning Specialist Magazine, there are 54,000,000 Americans who suffer from allergies. It’s an increase of 75% from 1980-2001.
In fact, dust mite waste counts for 80-90% of the allergenic components of house dust, which contains 15 different allergenic components (Basement-Repair, 2014).
Ways to Reduce Basement Humidity
Settlement cracks are easy to repair even without a professional. You can fix it using a cold chisel, mallet, knife and patching cement. After applying the mixed patching cement, you can push the putty knife to smooth the surface. Moisture should disappear once the repair dries (Do It Yourself, 2014).
Moisture is reduced when you apply waterproofing paint in the walls. It will also make the existing odors disappear.
Install a Rain Barrel.
Installing a rain barrel is a more effective technique in reducing basement moisture than extending a downspout. A rain barrel can safely collect water from the roof top, which can be used for watering plants.
Basement pipes generate condensation. Condensation drips on floors and can run down piping into the walls, in which mold and mildew will form (Do It Yourself, 2014). This situation is inevitable but there is a way to control it. It’s possible to reduce condensation by wrapping these pipes with insulation foam.
Install a Dryer.
A malfunction dryer easily adds moisture to the air and will create serious problems. Therefore, make sure the dryer is properly vented to the outside.
Install a Dehumidifier.
A quality dehumidifier easily reduces basement moisture, which pulls gallons of moisture from air every day (Do It Yourself, 2014).
Vulcan Waterproofing contractors will install E-Z Breathe in your basement to keep the whole area cool for a long period of time. E-Z Breathe is a ventilation system that removes stale, damp and contaminated air. If interested, simply call 877 885-2268.