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Protecting your Basement with Humidity Control

Water leaks are a part of humidity control.The basement is an important space in your home that is all too often neglected. Regardless of what you use your basement area for, be it storage or a living area, this lower level of your house is susceptible to damage from humidity that can eventually lead to problems with mold and mildew.

The humidity levels in your home should be anywhere between 30% and 50%. Humidity control is the key to creating a healthy and livable basement space and can be obtained by taking certain precautionary measures.

The source of your moisture problem
There are a number of possible moisture sources, one of which could be a water leak. Water can seep in through cracks in the foundation, a small gap around a window or door, or from a leaky water pipe, toilet or bathtub. During the winter months, too much humidity is obvious when condensation appears on the cold concrete walls and floors of your basement. A humidity problem in the house can also occur from ordinary daily activities such as showering, drying clothes and cooking.

How to create a humidity-controlled environment

For effective humidity control in your home, follow these key preventative steps:

  • Ensure that the exterior of your home has a sloped grade.
  • Protect the exterior of your home with a good quality damp-proofing or water-proofing application.
  • Stop convection from occurring behind your interior insulation by utilizing air sealing methods.
  • Make sure that air circulates behind storage areas.

Ways to eliminate excess moisture

  • The cheapest and easiest way to control humidity is by removing all sources of moisture from the basement. This may include getting rid of a humidifier.
  • If you have a washroom or a laundry area, create a ventilation system that will increase air flow when these areas are in use. This may include opening a window. However, during the summer months, opening a window will actually let in excessive moisture. Control humidity in these months with an air-conditioning system.
  • Use a dehumidifier to help control moisture levels.
  • Install an effective interior drainage system in the form of a perforated pipe inside the perimeter of the footing. To do this you will need to remove and replace concrete at the slab edge and place the drain pipe beneath the slab so that it can drain to a lower level. This pipe will then be connected to a sump that should have a childproof cover. Finally, there must be a dimpled plastic sheeting placed at the base of the wall, beneath the slab.
  • Installing an electric floor heater will control the moisture that seeps in through the basement concrete floor.


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