Basements are notorious for having a damp feeling and musty smells. This makes sense as it is the lowest point of the home and primarily underground. Basements are prone to moisture and water damage for many reasons. Flooding is common during the spring months due to heavy rains and snow melt. However, basement water damage can occur at any time of year.
Appliance failures such as hot water heaters and washing machines are the most common reason homeowners call us for water damage restoration. Groundwater seepage can happen through the home's foundation as well. If water is allowed to build up around the foundation, it can cause pressure cracks that leak water into the basement. Additionally, concrete is porous; unless the water outside is redirected away from the foundation, water will find a way in. Everyday tasks like laundry and showers create high humidity that, if not managed, can lead to mold growth. A damp, musty basement are signs of potentially larger issues that can lead to extensive water damage and mold growth. Learn how to prevent a wet basement with these tips.
Wet Basement Prevention Tips:
- Clear drain basins and storm drains of debris, leaves or snow/ice. If the catch basins or storm drains are clogged the excess groundwater will not flow away from the basement. A clear drainage system also keeps the pressure from building up in the ground around the foundation and prevents cracks from forming.
- Install a dehumidifier to keep humidity levels between 30-60%. You can measure this with a hydrometer to determine your home's need.
- Inspect the foundation periodically. Cracks can form when saturated soil contracts and expands and shifts around your home. Water then seeps in leaving behind damage and structural issues.
- Check for leaks and make repairs immediately. This includes around windows & doors, appliance hoses and the foundation. Insulate pipes if you notice condensation forming.
- If you have a dirt floor or a crawl space, consider installing a vapor barrier to control water vapor rising from the soil.
- Seal laundry leaks and use vents if your laundry is in the basement. The warmth from the dryer leaking into the basement can increase humidity. Check vent connections and clean lint from the vent to maintain airflow. This is also a good fire prevention tip!
Preparing in advance and recognizing the signs of water and mold damage is the first step to taking control of a damp basement. We hope you find these tips useful, but if you do find yourself with a flooded or moldy basement give ServiceMaster Dynamic Cleaning a call and we'll be there to help. We are available 24/7/365.
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