The basement is a cozy space that homeowners can use for practically anything. Whether you set it up as a storage space, a laundry room, or a small bedroom, your basement is sure to be packed with some important stuff that should not be anywhere near moisture.
When a flash flood suddenly fills up your basement, it can be very distressing indeed. Your belongings are now ruined and you will have to find some way to drain out gallons upon gallons of water yourself. No homeowner wants to have to deal with such a tedious task on top of their other household duties.
The water damage from even a single flood can be exhausting to clear out as well. Lingering humidity in this enclosed space will work to create even more water damage problems. This is why you need to install a powerful dehumidifier in your basement to prevent this from happening. Let’s take a closer look into the problems excess humidity can cause, why humidity builds up in the first place, and how a dehumidifier can help.
Basement Humidity Problem Signs
Humidity in your basement does not just appear out of nowhere. There are several smaller problem signs that lead up to this buildup that you can catch early on.
- Leaks or Flooding: Leaks are often a major contributor to water damage issues within the basement. Even smaller leaks scattered all around your basement have the potential to flood the place. It is not wise to brush off any leaks you see, no matter how small.
- Humidity: The humidity lingering around your basement is a problem in itself. Colorado’s environment is cool and dry, so most homeowners in this state may be unused to too much moisture in their air. Indeed, the insulation of your warm home mixed with the standing water in the basement can create a muggy or humid atmosphere that will be unpleasant at best, or deal severe water damage to your home at worst.
- Cracks: Do not ignore any cracks you see lying around your basement. Not only do they allow moisture and pests easier access inside your basement, but they are also indicative of much worse damage just below your feet. Typically, these cracks are a huge indicator of foundational damage. If left unchecked for too long, this damage can negatively affect your house’s infrastructure as a whole.
- Mold or Mildew: Any lingering moisture in your basement can often lead to the development of mold or mildew. These fungi generally are not toxic, but they can induce plenty of negative symptoms around your household. The most common symptoms include burning eyes, sore throat, coughing or wheezing, and skin rashes. Those who have asthma or chronic lung disease will be impacted the most, as these spores can trigger severe reactions or even infect the lungs of the most vulnerable patients.
- Pests: Pests of all kinds are drawn to moist or humid homes. This includes a variety of insects and rodents, including cockroaches, termites, and mice. The longer you allow these pests to linger in your home, the worse the infestation can become. Many of these invasive species can exacerbate structural damage already present, or at the very least be an unhealthy annoyance.
Causes of Basement Humidity
Recognizing key problem signs before they grow worse can be a good first step. The next is understanding what causes humidity to leak into the basement in the first place. This can help you and the basement experts solve how to best waterproof your home in the future. Here are the most common causes of humidity buildup in basements.
- Hydrostatic Pressure
Several inches of melted snow or pelting rain tend to soak into the soil around your home. This loose soil can only absorb so much water weight at a time. The more water this soil takes on, the more this combined weight of water and soil pushes up against your foundation. This pressure can grow so immense that it actually moves or cracks your foundation apart. This gives way to leaks and cracks in your basement, which allows mold, mildew, or pests to infiltrate.
- Clay Bowl Effect
Humidity seeping into your home might be unpreventable on your part. In fact, it might have to do with how your house was constructed. Contractors will typically dig a large hole roughly around the perimeter of where your home will be. This allows them to place the foundation and basement walls and floor in this space.
They will then backfill this now looser soil around it again. This soil will not compact in the same way, which leaves it susceptible to washing out during a storm or when the snow melts again in spring. Without the proper support it once had, your foundation will then settle, shift, or crack. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as “the clay bowl effect.”
The Solution—Basement Dehumidifiers
Constantly draining away water collecting in your basement by yourself is one thing. Dealing with the consequences of any lingering humidity is another. It is especially important that your basement remains as dry as possible. The amount of water damage that humidity alone can cause is not to be underestimated.
Understanding how humidity is formed in the first place might paint a more tangible picture of the dangers it can present. The absolute humidity of a room basically measures the amount of water vapor currently in the air. The relative humidity, on the other hand, measures water vapor currently in the air relative to the current temperature.
It is no secret that humidity and warmer temperatures tend to go hand in hand. This is because the higher the temperature, the more moisture the air can hold. This means that if your basement feels humid in colder weather, the relative humidity must be very high indeed for you to be able to feel it. Warmer air also tends to rise up when pushed by cooler air, allowing for the humidity in your basement to enter the floors above.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (or EPA) states that a healthy indoor humidity level rests between 30 to 50 percent. These levels should not exceed 60 percent capacity, or you risk water damage, mold or mildew growth, pest infestations, and plenty of other problems many homeowners do not want to deal with.
Of course, if the main problem lies with too much humidity in your basement, it only makes sense that you find a way to block it out altogether. A reliable basement dehumidifier can filter out any moisture particles that gather in your basement. Let’s take a closer look into how the dehumidifiers Complete Basement Systems can offer your home.
- Cooling System
The humidity is first drawn into the dehumidifier unit through the fan. The fan then pushes the humid air through cooling coils, which allows the humidity to condense into water droplets. These cooled droplets are then collected in a container within the dehumidifier itself.
Depending on the dehumidifier, you may have to manually empty said container every now and then. Other dehumidifiers have an automatic dumping system that connects to a water hose or sump pump. Complete Basement System’s basement dehumidifiers are the latter kind. We can easily connect our dehumidifiers to a powerful sump pump system that keeps your home permanently dry.
- Heating System
The water held within the container is then heated up again and blown back into the room. Though this might sound as if the machine is merely spitting the humidity back out into your home again, this is not the case. The dehumidifier processes the air it collects, trapping dust mites, mold spores, or other undesirable air particles within its filter. The air it releases back into your basement is thus much cleaner and healthier for you to breathe in.
Heating agents tend to be found in typical portable dehumidifiers or refrigerant dehumidifiers. Of course, Complete Basement Systems’ dehumidifiers do not have a heating system. Rather, our dehumidifiers redirect the water droplets to a sump pump system that then pumps all that moisture far away from your home.
Different types of dehumidifiers will have their own sets of pros and cons. Here are a few of the benefits that Complete Basement Systems’ basement dehumidifiers can offer your home:
- Conserves Energy
Most dehumidifier machines you buy at the department store are quite small. They tend to work best for other rooms in your home due to the lighter humidity levels.
However, these smaller dehumidifiers simply cannot filter out as much humidity from your basement as an industry-grade dehumidifier. Our dehumidifiers can filter out as much as 4 times the humidity from your basement compared to these machines, all while using the same amount of energy. They are also ENERGY STAR-rated, ensuring pure efficiency without expending the same costs.
- Saves You Money
Conserving energy can help you save more money in the long run, of course. Our dehumidifiers can also help to reduce your overall energy bills. Warmer air can easily infiltrate your home. Because warm air tends to be far lighter than cold air, this warm, most likely humid air will then rise up out of your basement to the floors above.
This lingering humidity might then force you to crank up your air conditioner more than usual in the summer just to stay cool. This is referred to as the stack effect and can impact your entire home if you choose to ignore it.
With a basement dehumidifier installed, you will not have to worry about any humidity rising to your upper floors. In fact, you will not have to worry about any humidity problems whatsoever. Running this machine will not only clear out the moisture from the air, but it can also help maintain your preferred temperature. It will process the air it takes in, adjusts it to your preferred level of humidity, and then filters it back out at the perfect temperature.
The stack effect can also work in the reverse as well. In winter, the cold outside air will infiltrate through any cracks or other open points around your home. This denser air will then push any warm air up and out of your house, effectively replacing it. Of course, this means you will then turn up your heater even higher to compensate. A dehumidifier can combat this sudden change in temperature by again maintaining your preferred temperature and level of humidity.
All in all, a basement dehumidifier can both improve your home’s overall humidity levels as well as significantly reduce your energy bills.
- Adjustable Humidity Settings
Another great aspect of our basement dehumidifiers is the adjustable nature. You can set the dehumidifier to your preferred level of humidity at any time. Our experts will recommend that you keep your dehumidifier at a certain level of humidity, of course, but you are also free to choose a level that best suits you.
- Powerful Self-Draining System
You do not need to worry about forgetting to drain out the water this system collects. Our dehumidifiers connect directly to your sump pump, allowing for easier disposal. This makes maintenance for these machines that much simpler.
Humidity might seem harmless to the average homeowner. Unfortunately, lingering humidity can present more damage than you might realize.
- Water Damage Issues
Many homeowners may not realize that humidity is still technically water. Should the relative humidity levels rise in this space, it can cause water damage to your basement. These floating water particles entice mold and mildew growth all around the basement, which can cause health problems for you and your family.
These smaller water particles can also infiltrate the concrete pores of your walls and floor. As more water gathers within these tiny spaces, the higher the relative humidity will increase. Once it exceeds 100 percent capacity, the water will condense and leak out into your basement.
- Foundational Issues
Moisture buildup in your basement will cause plenty of water damage issues in this one room alone. The foundation is already susceptible to water damage or shifting from the moisture the soil around it is prone to soaking up. Any more pressure added from above will likely fracture the foundation with ease. This then gives way to other parts of your home’s infrastructure leaning or swaying, namely your walls, windowsills, and doorways.
Unfortunately, this moisture can also easily trickle down through the pores of your concrete floor to your foundation below. This can prove especially damaging when winter rolls around. If any moisture trapped within the concrete pores then freezes, the expanding ice will likely split the foundation apart from within. This is another form of hydrostatic pressure more commonly found in colder climates.
Complete Basement Systems can implement thorough waterproofing solutions that will arrest any water issues and make sure your basement stays safe, healthy, and dry. Here is a quick look at some of our waterproofing solutions and how they can permanently waterproof your basement.
- Interior Drainage Systems and Sump Pumps
The first step is to set up a thorough interior drainage system within your basement. This complex series of pipes will be tailor-made to fit within your unique basement. As its name implies, these pipes will be installed within the basement’s floor. Indeed, you might not even notice that these pipes are hard at work much of the time. But of course, that’s the entire point of the interior drainage system.
The drainage system then connects to the sump pump, which is a self-activating device that helps pump water out of and away from your home. You have the option to add a backup battery to your sump pump system so you will not have to worry about it failing should you suffer a power outage. This pump is very easy to maintain with our professional guidance.
Though the combination of an interior drainage system and a powerful sump pump can be quite effective, it may still not be enough to completely rid your basement of moisture. Humidity can easily build up within the basement without you knowing, leading to all sorts of issues further down the line. Indeed, the relative humidity of your basement can build up to the point where it invites mold or mildew to grow within.
A basement dehumidifier can combat all these issues from ever cropping up, all while keeping your basement thoroughly dry. You can even adjust the dehumidifier settings yourself to a humidity level that is most comfortable to you. Dehumidifiers can also cycle out the harmful particles within the air, leaving your basement with fresher, cleaner air instead.
You cannot place just any dehumidifier in your basement and hope for the best. Basements tend to differ from the upper levels of your home for a variety of reasons. Let’s go over why store-bought dehumidifiers will not work for your basement and why you need basement experts.
- Why Store-Bought Dehumidifiers Are Not Enough
Most homeowners think the only dehumidifiers out there are just the smaller machines sold at department stores. While these machines certainly are useful for other rooms within your home, they will not hold up in the basement. For one thing, basements tend to be far colder than the upper levels of your home due to the cool earth surrounding this sub-level room. Regular dehumidifiers operate best at temperatures above 65°F. The average temperature in a basement tends to fall several degrees below that.
Complete Basement Systems’ basement dehumidifiers are much more efficient and powerful than the average machine you will find at the store. Our industry-grade dehumidifiers can also remain just as efficient even in colder temperatures. You will not have to worry about these machines breaking down when you need them most. Indeed, you will not even have to think about maintaining these larger dehumidifiers since they automatically drain themselves without any assistance.
- Rely on the Basement Experts
The experts at Complete Basement Systems are well equipped to install any waterproofing solution your basement might need. We have the necessary tools to completely protect your home from any moisture that tries to seep through. This includes drainage systems customized to fit your home, sump pumps to rid your basement of any water for good, moisture barriers, and dehumidifiers that keep the very air within your basement totally dry.
We are also able to catch the smaller issues that the average homeowner might miss. Small problem signs are often indicative of much larger problems just below that we can also repair for you. You can also benefit from Complete Basement Systems’ free inspections. Our experts will inspect your foundation, basement, or crawl space to identify any potential problems found within any of these spaces. We can then help you implement a waterproofing solution that will fully protect your home from any moisture.
Contact Complete Basement Systems for Your Dehumidification Needs
A humid basement can be more than just unpleasant to be in. The lingering humidity can cause plenty of problems on its own, including mold and mildew growth and pest infestations. This is why installing a sturdy dehumidifier in your basement is key to keeping it completely dry.
Contact the basement experts at Complete Basement Systems for a free quote on our basement dehumidifiers and other waterproofing systems. We serve all throughout Denver and Colorado Springs.