Old buildings usually have a wet basement. Most wet basements of any infrastructures are due to floods and sewer backups. But most causes of such incidents are not noticeable and mostly results to detectable water on floors and walls. A damp feeling and musty kind of smell generally emanates from the affected area, is usually present during certain seasons when rain, snow or high humidity is present.
Basements should not necessarily have or contain any standing accumulated water to consider having damaging, serious and detrimental health problems. The origin of said problem at times can be traced by looking at the exterior of the building where a missing or leaking gutter or downspout, or a low sector of pavement or earth which directs water into the basement or foundation whenever rains come.
Other causes of wet basements can be attributed to plants that are placed within the vicinity of the foundation walls. Shrubs and plants which are usually planted in such areas prevent and holds moisture within, preventing the foundation area of the infrastructure from drying out.
Signs of Wet Basements
The following are signs of basement dampness:
- Accumulation of water on a small area.
- Water which is stale on a small or wide portion of the floor area.
- Fungus, mildew and molds attached to wood.
- Wood which has rotted segments.
- Metals which are rusty.
- Moisture or condensation on walls and windows.
- Clammy or damp feeling in the air.
- Decayed odor indoors.
- Foundation walls which are damp or wet.
10. Walls and floors have white powdery substance (efflorescence).
11. High water mark on outside walls showing the height where water has climbed through capillary action.
- Masonry which is spalled and eroding mortar.
- Moisture blisters on plasters and paints.
- Presence of insects that are attracted to places that have high moisture content.
Dealing with Wet Basements
Buildings must be inspected two times a year and often if problems are apparent. Assessments are done from the roof down to the ground that follows the path of precipitation in order to expose any indication of dampness or damage.
Take photos of spots of suspected moisture damage for evaluation purposes. Examine the building whenever a hard rainstorm occurs to see where the water path is and whether downspouts, gutters and subsurface pipes are sufficiently sized, positioned properly and working efficiently. Other conditions that sometimes lead to a damp or wet basement are: a high ground water table or the existence of a water source such as a well, spring, cistern or stream that is located within nearby or under an infrastructure’s foundation, basement or crawl space.
In making decisions as to what kind of approach to take regarding a wet basement predicament, it is suggested that treatments use must protect the historical essences of the building including its site. A practical approach in solving wet basement problems necessitates the elimination of one of the many source of moisture or wetness one at a time in order to appraise if the implemented solution is effective or not. If more than a few remedies are all tried or done at the same time or in succession, the real source of the problem may not be traced and properly identified. Such approach will consequently lead to more damage on the infrastructure and waste of valuable time, effort and money.
Approaches to Eliminating Wet Basements
Relatively, the best approach is often by trying the simple remedies first before employing sophisticated ones. The best approaches are suggested as follows to where it may essentially apply:
- Regular maintenance and proper care eliminates or reduces costly repairs.
- Prior to actual repair and replacement of damage materials, it is best to know beforehand the source of the problem and solutions that can be utilized.
- Materials which are damaged or deteriorated must be replaced with exact matches.
- The reapplication of new finishing touches must be applied only to materials that are thoroughly dried.
- Exterior and interior foundation walls must not have anything stored or propped against them because air circulation is need to aid in keeping them dry.
- Plumbing damages such as leaks and busted pipes must be repaired and checked immediately. This includes the drainage hoses of air conditioners.
- Downspouts, gutters and surface pipes must be cleaned twice a year to remove any Stillwater and materials that clog the smooth outflow of water. Downspouts and gutters with holes and must be angled to slope away from the foundation. Settled or low areas generally permit the entry of water down into basements; hence, these must be fixed accordingly.
- Trees, shrubs and plantings around building and house foundations must be removed because they keep the ground wet and block sunlight preventing moisture from evaporating.
- Grounds and pavements surrounding the foundation of buildings must be angled to slope away from the foundation. Settled or low areas generally permit the entry of water down into basements; hence these must be fixed accordingly.
- Put lids or appropriate covers on basement window wells that may collect and leak water into the basement.
- Replacement of damaged masonry and missing mortars must be replaced and repaired with a mortar mix that has the same component, appearance and consistency which is softer that the original masonry.
- Caulking around windows, doors and in between materials must be kept in good condition.
- Vents, grilles, screened windows must be opened or closed accordingly to give sufficient ventilation that pushes moist air outside.
- Clothes’ dryers must often be vent outside. Exhaust fans, kitchen and bathroom windows should be used regularly to eliminate moisture within the building.
- Insulations installed without proper ventilation and vapor barrier must be inspected regularly.
- Basement fans and dehumidifiers must be used when there are high cases of dampness and humidity, although said equipment should not be used at the same time.
- Humidifiers that are attached to the buildings heating system must be used with caution because of the extra moisture they emit.
- Application of waterproof coating on the inside of basement walls does not normally avoid moisture damage since it prevents evaporation.
- A drainage system for the exterior perimeter can be added along with a sump pump for interior draining to solve never-ending wet basement problems which cannot be treated by any other procedures.
- Very wet conditions may be resolved through water proofing and excavating of exterior foundation walls.
Wet basements are often bothersome and very destructive. However, regular inspection and scrutiny preceded by simple gradual removal of the causes of moisture will aid greatly in making an infrastructure’s basement dry again.
Basement dehumidifiers provide great solutions for wet and damp basements once you have finished identifying the sources of the problem and have taken the correct measures to stop moisture from entering it again. Such measures are needed to help the dehumidifier perform to its maximum capacity. Basement dehumidifiers make use of similar technology as that of a refrigerator or air conditioner. Moisture or humidity is drawn over the cold refrigerant coils that run through it. Then the moisture reduces and can either go through a hose that is positioned over a drain or that drops into a pan.
Dehumidifiers are generally rated for their ability to eliminate a particular volume of moisture a day. Majority of manufacturers have guiding principles they follow with regards to the right size which is based on the square feet of the area and on the conditions of the environment. After the size of the unit has been determined, you must examine the moisture removal capability of different units. This is the part wherein you must exercise full caution because some dehumidifiers are not sufficiently effective in operating within certain temperatures. Majority of basements generally have sixty degrees or lower unless the living space is a heated one.
The moisture removal capacity rating scan is complicated and ratings are based on an eight degree temperature with sixty percent humidity. It is always best to check with the manufacturer to be able to make out if their unit’s capacity is below the perfect conditions. There may be occasions where a unit which was rated to remove around fifty pints per day can only remove twenty-five pints per day.
Although dehumidifiers can help in moisture absorption, it is best not to overuse any unit because it can likewise add to the wetness of indoor environments. Just make sure that the equipment is used according to the manufacturer’s instruction and caution.
Most wet basements are natural sources of sickness and other negative health ailments. So it is recommended that once a wet basement or dampness is observed and identified during inspection, an immediate action to prevent the problem from going on is the provide a simple and temporary solution. After the best course for the problem has been decided on, it is necessary to employ the process immediately to prevent the wetness and dampness from continuously wreaking havoc on the building’s structural materials and saving costs on repairs.
Insurances can help defray some expenses, but proofs of damages should be presented before claims are paid out and it may take a while before an approval of such is made. To save on valuable time, effort and money proper and regular maintenance must be implemented at regular intervals.