“It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity!”
That phrase has been said so many times it has lost almost all meaning but the thought behind it is true – humidity is uncomfortable and, when it occurs inside a house on a sustained basis, can cause health problems for a home’s residents and damage to the home itself.
One of the prime spots for humidity inside a home is the basement, for a variety of reasons, and a basement with high humidity can be the source of a number of issues there and throughout the home.
There are several ways a basement can become humid, some readily visible, others somewhat harder to spot:
Basement Seepage – Obviously, if water is finding its way into a basement through floor or wall cracks, the cove joint or any one of a number of ways, its evaporation will increase the humidity in the air.
Water Usage – Family members are constantly using water in the aboveground part of the house – taking showers, washing dishes, cooking – and that increases humid air in the upstairs. Most modern homes are so well insulated and tightly sealed that this water vapor in the air doesn’t pass out of the home aboveground but its heavier weight causes it so sink to the lowest level, the basement.
Standing Water – Water in sump pump basins, floor drains, ejector pumps and belowground plumbing fixtures can evaporate into the air in the basement and increase humidity,
So, the basement feels a little damp. What’s the trouble?
Mold – The worst thing that can come of a humid basement is the growth of mold. Mold requires three things to grow and thrive and two of them are always present in a residential basement – warmth and food in the form of wood, drywall, carpeting and other organic construction materials and furnishings. Add water and mold spores spring to life.
Mold can cause or aggravate respiratory problems in humans and pets and will create musty odors in the basement and throughout the home if left untreated.
Overworked HVAC – It’s true that a central air-conditioning system will remove humidity from the air, even in the basement, but it will work overtime to do so, causing the average electric meter to spin fast enough to cut cheese.
Add to these major problems the inconveniences of damp, uncomfortable atmosphere, musty odor and a welcoming environment for bugs and the average homeowner will be looking desperately for a solution to high humidity in the basement.
A humidifier unit designed specifically for basements is far different from the small dehumidifiers used in living spaces. For one thing, a basement dehumidifier is designed with the capacity to remove moisture from large spaces and most can handle even the largest basements. Energy-efficient design prevents overworking and large capacity maintains humidity at a safe and comfortable 30 – 50%, a level recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Basement dehumidifiers are installed permanently with an adjustable humidistat for regulating air quality and a discharge line that can be routed to a sump basin or floor drain.
Sizing and installing a basement humidifier is a job for a professional who can recommend the right unit with the right capacity for your basement and guarantee that it will work. At U.S. Waterproofing, we proudly recommend and install the Santa Fe Air System, the leading brand of basement dehumidifiers and many among our 300,000 satisfied customers are enjoying its benefits in their homes. Why not ask for our free advice on dehumidifying your basement?
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