Basements have a knack for getting damp over time but mostly in summer. The source of moisture could be poor ventilation that allows moisture build-up or other reasons, which we shall see. However, humidity is pretty normal in most places, depending on the season.
What about a hot and humid basement? It’s a sign your basement leaks or has water beneath it. If this is the case, the structural integrity of your house is at risk. Excess moisture also encourages mold growth, which could lead to future health problems. Sadly, most people don’t resolve their basement moisture problems until it’s too late.
What are the signs of a leaky basement?
The first step is usually identifying if you have a leak or water under the basement. Some of the tell-tale signs include:
- Mold or mildew in the basement walls or structure
- Musty smell
- Paint peeling off around the walls or on floor paint
- Damp basement wall patches that rise up
- A lot of condensation on the windows
- Wet and cold walls or floor
- Peeling, lifting, or wet carpets, tiles, or vinyl
What causes foundation leaks or water under the basement?
Once you establish that indeed you have a leak or water under the foundation, the next step is to try and find out the source of the problem. Some of the most common causes of humid basements include:
- Leaking pipes and foundation wall cracks – When your drainage or water pipes develop a leak inside the foundation walls, the water seeps into the basement. The same case applies when there are cracks in your foundation walls. Water from outside will slowly seep into your basement.
- Soil moisture – Another common cause of wet foundations is saturated soil. The moisture from such soil rises and seeps through the porous blocks into your basement.
- Basement condensation – Naturally, the basement is much cooler than the other rooms in your home. When warm air flows into the basement and mixes with the cold air inside, condensation is bound to happen, leading to wet walls and floors.
- Unused taps – Every plumber knows that with time, all unused water pipes leak. If you have some basement water pipes that are not in use, they might introduce moisture into your basement.
- Poor ground level drainage – If the ground level does not slope away from the basement, water can find its way into your basement during the rainy season.
What happens when you don’t repair your leaking basement?
Your leaking basement is a hotbed for mold and mildew. Both grow and thrive in moist environments. Once they take over the basement, they will weaken the structure of your house and cause other structural problems. Don’t forget these microorganisms are a health hazard. Even slight exposure to their spores can lead to respiratory complications and allergies.
Mold and mildew can also cause wood rot and decay. The outcome is a pungent smell that permeates into other rooms, making your entire house inhospitable. Moisture will also cause wooden floors to warp and concrete wall paint to peel off.
The damage from the moisture, as well as mold and mildew, lowers the value of your house. No one wants to buy a mold-infested house or a leaking basement. And, if left without repair for a long time, the damage becomes expensive to repair.
Fixing basement leaks and humidity
Once you know the reason behind your wet or humid basement, it’s easy to find a solution. Some people opt for a dehumidifier, which on its own is a temporary solution. If the moisture is a result of leaking pipes, you can quickly fix it by calling a plumber.
You can also install a ventilation system to take the air and moisture out of your house. The best places to install these are in your bathrooms. You may need a professional to check out your heating and ventilation system.
Installing a sump pump is also an excellent way of dealing with wet basements. For effective results, couple the sump pump with a dehumidifier and an interior drainage system like BasementGutter™. The internal drains will channel the water to the sump pump where it will be ejected, while the dehumidifier will dry out the air.
Get in touch with JES Foundation Repair today if you need basement waterproofing in the Lynchburg, Charlottesville (Appomattox), VA, areas. We’ll perform a free basement waterproofing inspection, then apply a lasting fix.