Every homeowner looks at his or her basement differently.
For some, the basement is a regular part of daily life. They have a finished family room in the basement where they watch TV every day. They do laundry in the basement and regularly access belongings that are stored there. They pursue hobbies there – many a basement houses a woodshop, ceramics studio or crafting table. In other words, they use their basement.
For others, their view of the basement is from the top of the stairs. Their laundry facilities are upstairs as is their family room. The boxes in their basement are decidedly for long-term storage. Their hobbies are outdoor ones or ones that don’t require much space. These homeowners don’t use their basement much.
When a wet basement occurs, homeowners in the first group don’t hesitate. They clean up the mess, call the basement waterproofing pros and fix the problem so they can continue to enjoy their basement.
A wet basement for the others, perhaps, is more of an inconvenience than a catastrophe and many are tempted to just leave it alone. After all, the puddles dry up eventually – no harm, no foul.
There may be some truth to that but there are some very good reasons why even the most infrequent basement user should not ignore a wet basement.
Leaving a wet basement unrepaired can be detrimental to the health of both the home itself and the people who live there. Here are three reasons to fix a wet basement:
1. Mold – Mold is an invasive fungus that can grow almost anywhere under the right conditions; conditions that foster mold growth are the presence of food, warmth and moisture. Mold in a basement is often spread by HVAC systems throughout the living areas of the home and can cause or exacerbate medical conditions, especially respiratory problems like asthma.
Various strains of mold can feed on almost any organic material and even unfinished basements are generally full of it – wood, drywall, some insulation, etc. Any home that is suitable for human occupancy will be warm enough for mold to grow. If only the food and warmth exist, mold spores can lie dormant until the necessary moisture is present, and then spring back to life.
A serious mold problem will require professional remediation.
2. Increased Humidity – Logically, standing water in a basement raises the level of moisture in the air in the basement but the moist, humid air also will rise from the basement into the aboveground structure. This creates an uncomfortable atmosphere in living areas.
Also, in warmer weather when most wet basements occur, home air conditioning systems are working to remove humidity from the air and will be forced to work harder in conditioned living spaces to dry the air. Even in basement space that is not typically conditioned the HVAC system works to dry up water on the floor or walls that results from seepage.
3. Property Damage – In a finished basement, lingering water will destroy carpeting, wood or laminate floors and damage furniture.
Even in an unfinished basement, allowing water to stand will eventually destroy any stored items left on the floor and cause wood rot or rust in shelving and other fixtures. Laundry appliances, power tools and furnaces are also susceptible to rust and corrosion, either from direct contact with water or due to the moist atmosphere.
When a homeowner needs to fix a wet basement, he or she will require the advice and services of a basement waterproofing professional to ensure that the problem is properly diagnosed and repaired. At U.S. Waterproofing, we have been fixing wet basements in the Chicago area, northwest Indiana and southeastern Wisconsin since our founding in 1957 and we know how to prevent the trouble that can be caused by water in the basement. Why not ask for our free advice?
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